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How to Create the Perfect Email Subject Line: 8 Tips to Get You Started

By annaf | December 16, 2016

We’ve all been there, sifting through undesired emails or irrelevant content just to find the few important ones worth opening. Emailing blog subscribers is a proven way to increase engagement and ultimately website conversions.

Still, the right email subject line can make all the difference in whether your blog content is opened or deleted. It is crucial to capitalize on the opportunity to reach more subscribers by drawing them to your content with compelling subject lines.

Over one-third of all emails are never opened based solely on an ineffective subject line. That’s a large percentage of wasted resources put forth to create content that will never see the light of day in the subscriber’s eyes. Simply stated, this means that as much strategic effort that goes into creating the blog content also needs to be put into crafting a powerful subject line.

The email subject line is the first means to connect with your reader. Since you want them to open the email, read it, and ultimately click through to read your blog content, the invitation to do so must be compelling. Below are key points to creating strong email subject lines.

8 Tips for Creating Stellar Email Subject Lines

1. Email Subject Lines Should be as Short as Possible

With more and more emails being opened on mobile devices, shorter is better. Fewer than 50 characters is optimal for displaying properly and being easy to read. MailChimp recommends that you keep your subject line between 9 and 60 characters, so keep that in mind as you work on your next email.

2. Use Action Verbs

Since you want people to take action and read your blog content, invite them to do so with verbs that inspire that very thing.

Action verbs create a sense of urgency and inclusion. For example, in a blog post about an NFL fundraiser, the subject line might read, “Practice with Packers legend Brett Favre,” instead of a less appealing “Brett Favre Practice Session for Charity.” The first email invites people to see themselves playing football for a good cause.

3. Use Personalization When Possible

Create a sense of kinship by using the reader’s name. Even though it seems cheesy, people like to see their own name used in marketing materials.

Image Source

You can personalize email subject lines by using merge tags or dynamic content. Personalization works because it helps to foster a relationship between you and the recipient — and it doesn’t hurt that personalization is known to increase email open rates.

4. Be Precise with Wording

At best, your unopened blog content is likely to receive a quick glance, so be concise with the language. Think of the main point of that post or the main benefit and highlight it.

5. Creative the Sense of Exclusiveness

Make people feel like they belong to your club. When they feel like an insider, it creates loyalty and makes them want to open your content.

A few ideas that we have seen work well are:

  • “Exclusive: The latest blog post title here…
  • “Best of Your Company for the week of December 12th, 2016
  • “Insiders Only – Exclusive Content Just For You”


Use the “fear of missing out” to inspire readers to click on the email. Urgent or time-specific subject lines will inspire readers to open to your content now instead of waiting until a later time or not at all. See the below image for examples of FOMO email subject lines:

Image Source

7. Use a Creative Question

Ask a compelling question to pull people in, especially if you’re asking a relevant question to the reader’s interests or needs. Use open-ended or closed-ended questions depending on the content of your email.

For example, a closed-ended question that typically performs well pertains to a limited-time deal or offer, something that creates that sense of urgency we talked about above.

For even greater engagement, we recommend using personalization in the email subject line paired with a question.

8. Conduct A/B Tests

As with anything marketing-related, see what works and what doesn’t with A/B testing. Most major marketing automation and emailing tools allow you to A/B test subject lines and do the analysis for you.

Once you have preliminary results and findings, go ahead and edit your email subject lines in accordance with the results the winner of the A/B test — and continue testing!


When it comes to nurturing your leads and blog subscribers through emails, the goal is to let the quality of your content shine through. Prove it right off the bat with an equally worthy subject line.

Have a great email subject line to share?  File a comment!

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