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10 top tips for subject line success

19 Jun 2018 by Sadie Burgess


Crafting an attention-grabbing subject line that guarantees your email is opened is the Holy Grail for email marketers. Just look at how many articles focusing on the subject that can be found online, with marketers chasing the silver bullet that is the answer to their prayers. Well I’m sorry to break it to you, there is no one answer to the question of subject line success.

Get inspired with these 10 top tips for subject line success.

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But there are some pieces of guidance that we have found by looking at the thousands of mails that leave our servers each day and elements that are giving our customers success. So we have put together this little list of do’s and don’ts to help you on your path to subject line success.

  1. Use questions in your subject lines. Questions spark curiosity and lead you into the mail – as no one likes leaving questions unanswered. Consider your audience’s needs, interests, or the types of questions your content might answer.
  2. Keep your subject lines short and sweet – try to get your message across in 50 characters or less. A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while mobile devices show just 25-30 characters. If your audience is primarily reading your emails on smartphones, place the offer or call to action at the beginning of the subject line where it’s more likely to be seen.

  3. Where relevant, use numbers. Digits stand out amongst text and add a concreteness to often vague statements in subject lines.

  4. Include a clear call to action. People respond well when you ask (or tell) them to do something. What do you want your recipients to do?

  5. Convey a sense of urgency and timeliness. The shorter the amount of time that recipients have to act, the more compelled they will feel to do so.

  6. Make sure that your subject lines are clear and obvious – there should be no doubt why the mail is relevant to the recipient. Make sure it is relevant, valuable, and the message is clear to your subscribers.

  7. Make it clear who your email is from. You don’t want your email recipients to be confused when your email shows up in their inbox. If necessary, use a consistent identifier (for example, including your company or product name in brackets at the beginning of a subject line, like [New e-shot™ Features] for a new feature email).

  8. Don’t use personalisation in subject lines. Whilst it has a positive effect on engagement within the email itself, using personalisation in the subject line can often have the converse effect.

  9. Don’t forget to test, test, test. This is the only true way to find subject lines that resonate with your audience so you can learn and build on your successes.

  10. Finally, have fun with your subject lines. Try emojis, try different approaches, update your preview text and test what works.


Subject lines can make or break the success of your email marketing. Want some more help, why not give CoSchedule’s subject line tester a try, as this free tool will give you a pointer or two to help you devise a more successful subject line.

If you are still looking for more insights, chat to our team of experts and let them help you hit the subject line sweet spot.


Tags: subject line best practice top tips

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