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Archaeology (and inbound marketing) professor Indiana Jones reveals his email subject line best practices to improve your email open rate.

Picking the best subject line for your emails is a lot like Indiana Jones knowing which goblet was the Holy Grail in the Last Crusade — you must choose wisely. Choose poorly and you miss out on the whole purpose of your quest: to engage with your audiences!

On your journey, you may have been told to create the best email marketing campaign where you are spending just as much time crafting your email subject line as you do the actual body copy.

When first hearing that, it may sound little excessive. However, HubSpot’s research finds that 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone, meaning that spending extra time creating a more intriguing subject line could do wonders for your open rates and engagement.

With the majority of our inbound marketing campaigns relying on some sort of email marketing, we traveled far and wide to gather the five crucial email subject line best practices to guide you on how to write more efficiently, and ultimately increase your email open rate and overall engagement throughout your email campaigns.

Email Subject Line Tips

Keep it short and sweet like a catch phrase

When writing your email subject lines, think about some of Indiana Jones’s catch phrases:

“This belongs in a museum!”

“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

They were short and memorable. Your email subject lines should be able to do the same. At a glance, your subject lines should be eye-catching enough to stand out and intriguing enough for your audience to want to click to learn more.

As more companies rely on email as a way to reach contacts, the more important it becomes for your email to stand out among the clutter of your recipient’s inbox. Most people don’t open every single email they receive. Only the subject lines that really grab the reader’s attention are the ones that get opened.

Not to mention if the whole subject line doesn’t fit, or is too wordy or confusing, there’s little chance your audience is going to take the time to open and read your email to understand what you are talking about.

Avoid traps like using sales or overused spam words

Don’t get distracted by the overwhelming amount of shiny goblets on your quest to find the Holy Grail of email subject lines. You may see many businesses use words like “free,” “help,” “percent off” or “reminder” in their subject lines, but it’s a trap! Those commonly used words are key spam filter words according to MailChimp, and while they may not always trigger a spam filter, many subscribers avoid emails containing them.

The same goes for writing your subject line in all caps. It may seem like a great way to get someone’s attention, but the reality is that it’s another way for your email to end up in a spam folder.

Add urgency by including a deadline

Many people receive emails with an intriguing subject line, but for whatever reason are too busy to open the email. The chances are pretty slim that that email subscriber will ever go back to open that email.

One way to combat that is by adding a deadline or specific date. Give your readers reason to take action and open your email by making it clear that whatever you are offering isn’t available for long.

Much like adventure or action movies, the main character faces an obstacle where they have limited time to react. Make your customers feel that they MUST take fast action — just as Indiana Jones did when being chased by the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark — by including a timeframe of your sale or offer.

Ask questions

Posing a question in your email subject line is a great way to get someone thinking. If we sent this blog out to you in an email with the subject line “Are You Looking to Get More Email Open Rates?” chances are your curiosity to know the answer will likely help you to open it.

However, if you take this route, it is extremely important that you provide a solution to the question you are posing. Failing to do so could lead to your contacts not trusting you in the future.

You have to A/B test

Be naturally adventurous like Indiana Jones and use A/B testing to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your email subjects. If you’re using HubSpot Enterprise, you should be doing this with nearly every email you send. Based on the results, you can analyze what the best tactics are to reach your audiences. Are there certain keywords in your subject lines that tend to get a better open rate? Is it the way you phrase a question to your contacts in the subject line? Whatever it may be, you won’t have much insight to dig into without A/B testing.

Always look for your next adventure

It’s important to remember that not everyone will find the same tips helpful when it comes to email marketing. If you’re an eCommerce site and trying to generate revenue, your email subject line best practices will vary versus if you are a B2B business and are trying to generate leads.

At the end of the day, remember to be as passionate and adventurous with your email marketing efforts as Indiana Jones is with discovering artifacts. You never know what new opportunities you could discover that will grow your email marketing strategies.

Interested in learning more about how we can help improve your inbound marketing? Contact us today! We’d love to learn more about you and how we can help.

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