• Bryony Pearce

How to write a subject line that gets click-through


The world of email marketing is remarkably noisy. According to research conducted by Radicati, 235.6 billion emails are sent and received worldwide every single day, and that number’s only set to increase. 


For you as a marketer, that means there’s a raft of emails - both business and personal - to compete with, making the appeal of your subject lines ever-more important. 


If you’re struggling to see the click-through rate your campaigns need to succeed, here are a bank of tips to help give them a boost.


1. Short and snappy wins


Use as few words as possible, but make sure it still makes sense - the reasons for this are twofold: 


  1. You’ve got a finite amount of time to capture people’s attention.

  2. If your subject line’s too long it’ll truncate. 

If you’re struggling to know when to stop, aim to keep it within 50 characters.


2. Make it personal


Include unique information - like the recipient’s name or location - in the subject line to make it feel tailored. Only do this if you’re certain your data’s accurate though - if you refer to ‘John’ as ‘Mark’ there’s only one place your email’s going; the trash.


3. Use simple language


People don’t tend to take their time when they’re scanning their inbox. So, don’t make it difficult for them to skim over your subject line. Use simple language that’s easy to understand and gives a clear indication as to what’s inside.


4. Make it actionable


The reason you’re sending the email in the first place is because you have a desired end action in mind, so incorporate that goal into your leading line. For example, if the email’s promoting a special offer, instead of saying ‘Trainers are now 20% off’, you could say ‘Get 20% off your trainers today’.


5. Create a sense of urgency


If people think something’s about to expire or run out they’re much more likely to act sooner rather than later. Adding something as simple as ‘ends soon’, ‘act now’ or ‘hurry’ to your subject line can send this message.


That said, it’s important not to overuse this tactic. If you do, it’ll become a classic case of the boy who cried wolf and your recipients will stop falling for it full stop.


6. Use numbers


Numbers are mostly used for things like listicles, events or sample sizes. For example:

  • 8 ways you can save money this summer

  • Join our 2,000 happy clients

  • 200 others are coming to our event.

They sound better than ‘How to save money this summer’, ‘Join lots of other happy clients’ and ‘Loads of others are coming to our event’, right?


Just like that, numbers help make your subject line stand out, set expectations, and get straight to the point. 


7. Ask a question


Questions draw people in, pique interest and get them wanting and needing to know the answer. So, for example, if your email exists to promote an article on ‘7 common subject line mistakes’, you could introduce it with questions like:

  • Are you making these subject line mistakes?

  • How successful are your emails?

  • Do you know where your subject lines are going wrong?
 


8. Dare to be different


If you don’t want to get lost in a sea of monotony don’t fall into the trap of being the same as everyone else. Be bold with your subject lines and don’t be afraid to inject a bit of humour, sarcasm or eccentricity. 


So there you have it, eight easy-to-implement subject line tips - and these are just the tip of the iceberg! For more hands-on help with your email marketing success drop me a line on hello@keyholecontent.com