Tips & Insights

How To Write An Email Subject That Gets Opened Every Time

Writing a good email subject line is like using the right bait when fishing. It's really hard to get people to bite if you use the wrong bait, but once you match the right bait with the right fish, getting bites just comes naturally. This analogy might be a bit confusing, but it illustrates my point that subject lines are important: they help drive engagement and can be used as fishing hooks to ensure your email is opened.

Use the title to build interest.

Use the subject line to build interest. If your reader doesn't know what's in your email, then they're not going to open it — no matter how good it is otherwise! Use descriptive words that will make them curious about what you have to say. For example, instead of "Report," try "Our Quarterly Financial Report Is Ready." Or instead of "Re: Invitation," try "Are You Coming To My Birthday Party?"

Don't overthink your subject line

Don't overthink your subject line. Your goal with the subject line is to get people to open your emails, not confuse them. Just write something that makes sense and that they'll find interesting enough to open up. Don't try to force it into some kind of gimmick or puzzle — it won't work!

Keep it short and sweet.

Let's face it: most people open and read email on a mobile device. If your subject line is long, it will get buried in the inbox and never opened.

There are two things you should do to write an effective subject line:

Keep your subject line short and sweet, get straight to the point. If you have more than seven words in your title, there's a good chance that it won't be opened.

Make sure that there's relevance between the subject line and the actual content of the email. If there's no connection between what you're writing about and what's in your subject line, people will most likely skip over it.

How do people most often ask for your time/attention/help?

The answer to that question is the most powerful tool in your email subject line arsenal.

If you're a freelance writer, for example, then you know that people who need a piece of content are often looking to hire writers. So if you're writing an email to someone who needs help with their blog post and you want to get them to open it, don't write something like "Here's my new blog post!" Instead, write something like "Do you need help with your next blog post?"

That's because asking for the reader's attention is all about making them feel like you understand what they're going through. And when people feel understood, they're more likely to respond positively.

Use emojis sparingly, but use them.

Emojis are fun, but they can also be distracting and confusing for readers. If you're sending an email to someone who doesn't know you very well (or at all), it's best to avoid using them.

However, if you're sending emails to people who do know you well — or if you're sending emails to clients or customers — feel free to use emojis in your subject lines! People love getting personalized emails from brands they love, so it's a great way for them to feel like they're getting something extra special from you. Emojis can be an effective way to add personality to your emails without making them feel too salesy or promotional.

If you can convey a sense of urgency in a few words, do so.

If your subject line is "Need advice on PR strategy," then the person reading it might think "Why do I need advice on PR strategy? I'm not the one who needs help." However, if you say something like "Need help with PR strategy today," then they know that they're being asked for help and they'll feel compelled to do so.

If this email is really important, indicate that in the subject line

If this email is really important, indicate that in the subject line. For example, if you're asking someone for feedback on a proposal or product launch, say so in the subject line. If you're asking for help with something and want them to respond quickly, say that too. The more specific your request is (and the more urgent), the more likely people will open it right away.

Make an offer they can't refuse (or at least are curious about).

You want your subject line to be so intriguing or valuable that the recipient can't resist opening up the email and seeing what's inside. That could mean offering a discount on something they've been thinking about buying or letting them know about something that might interest them. It also could mean asking a question they want answered or offering information they want to know.

Be honest. No need to be super clever.

That’s right — honesty is the best policy.

Your reader can tell when someone is trying too hard, so just write something that reflects the content of your email and provides enough information for them to decide whether or not they want to open it.

So, before you hit "send," take just a minute to pause and consider that subject line, because it's probably going to be the difference between your email getting opened or ignored. Consider the factors we've outlined above and how they apply to your email, topic, and intended reader. If you can nail down all those aspects together with a good subject line, then you're well on your way to writing an email that gets opened every time.

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