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Learn actionable email subject line best practices to improve your open rates and engagement. From A/B testing to personalization, we outline our favorite trusted tips to ensure your email marketing efforts translate into results.
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In addition to following email marketing best practices, it's vital to take the extra time to create intriguing subject lines for all of your emails. According to HubSpot, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

Grabbing attention from the start can do wonders for your open rate and engagement. That's why we're sharing some email subject line best practices for you to implement ASAP to improve your email marketing strategy.

Email Subject Line Best Practices

Think about yourself as a consumer. Most likely, your inbox is flooded daily with emails. But why do you choose to open the ones you do? What about them captures your attention and makes you want to read what's inside?

While brainstorming your unique ideas, follow these email subject line best practices:

  • Keep it short & sweet
  • Avoid traps like sales language and spam words
  • Add urgency by including a deadline
  • Ask questions
  • A/B test
  • Personalize
  • Always look for your next adventure

1. Keep It Short & Sweet

Many people do not open every single email they receive. Emails with attention-grabbing subject lines are the ones that produce significant results.

Keep your subject line short and memorable so that it stands out in a crowded inbox. Don't be afraid to get creative here - make it intriguing enough for your audience to engage with the email.

Consider the length of your subject line. If it gets cut off or is too wordy, users are unlikely to engage with your email. To improve visibility, we recommend email subject lines to not exceed 60 characters.

In addition, keep the mobile experience in mind when crafting your subject lines. If most of your views come from a mobile platform, then we recommend trying to keep the number of characters down to about 35. After all, mobile opens account for 46% of all email opens.

2. Avoid Traps Like Sales Language Or Spam Words

Although you may see many businesses use words such as free, help, percent off or reminder, it’s a trap! According to MailChimp, those commonly used words are key spam filter, so avoid them whenever possible. 

We also advise against writing email subject lines in all capital letters. Although it may seem like a great way to get someone’s attention, this approach can result in your message being marked as spam. Keep things clear, concise and honest to ensure your message arrives in your audience's inboxes.

3. Add Urgency By Including A Deadline

We are all busy, and sometimes we forget to open emails in our inboxes. Unfortunately, even the most creative of email subject lines can fall victim to this trend. To motivate your readers, try adding a deadline or specific date to create a sense of urgency.

Give your readers a reason to take action by making it clear that your offer isn't available for long. The exclusivity of a limited time offer can also entice your audience. Include a time frame of your sale or offer so that your audience feels that they MUST take fast action.

4. Ask Questions

Posing a question in your email subject line is a great way to get someone to think about opening the email. What if you receive an email with the subject line "Are You Looking To Get More Email Open Rates?" Chances are, your curiosity to know the answer will motivate you to open it.

If you take this route, it is extremely important that you provide a solution to the question you introduce. Failing to do so could cause your contacts to doubt your credibility in the future.

5. A/B Test

Be adventurous and A/B test your subject lines to figure out what works and what doesn’t. If you’re using HubSpot Enterprise, you should be doing this with nearly every email you send. It's a free and powerful functionality that can increase open rates and drive additional engagement.

Do certain keywords in your subject lines receive higher open rates? Do questions in your subject lines motivate your contacts to act? These are just a few of the questions you can test to make your emails smarter with A/B testing.

6. Personalize

Personalizing emails humanizes your messages and helps to engage your contacts. Including your subscriber’s first name lets them know you care and that they are more than just an automated recipient.

As a result, they may be more likely to engage with your email content. If you plan to use personalization tokens in your emails, make sure you have adequate fall-backs to avoid email send errors.

Additionally, consider how personalization aligns with your brand. For example, emojis can be useful and enticing tools for more casual businesses. Stay true to your brand and always make sure your content matches your existing personality, voice and tone.

7. Always Look For Your Next Adventure

Remember that not everyone will find the same tips helpful when it comes to email marketing. If you manage an eCommerce business looking to generate revenue, your email subject line best practices will differ from a B2B business looking to generate leads.

However, all businesses should avoid making common email marketing mistakes. At the end of the day, adventure and data are the hallmarks of successful email marketing efforts. After all, you never know what opportunities you could discover that turn into future marketing success.

Conclusion

We hope that these email subject line best practices help to improve your open rate and engagement. Keep your messages out of the spam folder by avoiding sales language, spam words, all capital letters and an excessive number of exclamation points.

Subject lines that are short, create a sense of urgency, ask a question, and are personalized are most likely to engage your audience - resulting in a higher open rate.

If you have any questions about these email subject line best practices or would like to learn how to improve your email design, contact us through the form below. Our team will be in touch!

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