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Mission Control / Strategy

Writing Email Subject Lines: 6 Quick and Powerful Tips

How do you convince people that your email is worth reading? Choose your words wisely.

Photo of envelopes on top of a laptop, representing emails.
1. Speak to your audiences, separately

As with most things in marketing, personalization can take your brand places. And especially in today’s digital age consumers expect your brand to know their preferences and to serve up content that speaks directly to their needs. Give them what they want by segmenting your distribution lists and crafting subject lines that will resonate with each audience.

2. Make sure the subject line matches the content

If your subject line promises free tacos, your email better include a clear path to free tacos. The last thing you want to do is use a bait and switch subject line, which will just leave a wave of unsubscribes and ill will toward your brand in its wake.

3. Ask a question

We humans love a good Q&A — just think about your own search habits — and that makes using a question in your subject line a natural and effective way to engage your audience. Take it a step further by asking a question that’s specific to each audience persona.

4. Test your subject lines

Don’t pin all your open-rate hopes and dreams on one subject line. Instead, A/B test variations. Try a statement versus a question, or words and emojis versus words only. Gather as much data as you can to see what resonates, and use that knowledge to craft future subject lines.

5. Keep it short

Brevity is the name of the game. You don’t want your witty subject line trailing off mid-punchline in an ellipsis … Plus, with so many consumers tackling email on mobile, you have even fewer characters to get to the point, so make them count.

6. Stay away from spammy language

FREE! BUY NOW! YOU’RE A WINNER! Using excessively promotional language is one way to buy your email a one-way ticket to the Junk folder, where emails go to die. What is the content of your email? What information are you offering recipients? Write a snappy subject based on substance, not marketing-speak.

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