Top 8 Email Subject Line Tips

Mar 3, 2016

#marketingtrends presents: Email First Impressions, the subject line.

Digital content is all about the first impression. In my last job I worked in B2B Email marketing and at my new gig, It’s B2B2C. At the end of the day, all content is about the first vibe you get, to click or not to lick. Until SMS supersedes Email marketing as mainstream, optimizing your Email campaigns is the golden ticket to get the incredible ROI it is known for.

At the end of the day, all content is about the first vibe you get, to click or not to lick.

1~ The Subject line is the Determining Factor

Let’s not kid ourselves, if they don’t open and click on our message in their inbox, it doesn’t matter how good your image or copy is.

2~ Short Concise Subject Lines Convert

According to a study conducted by Mail-chimp, think about it. This means less than 50 characters.

3~ Do Subscriber Surveys to Find Out

What kind of content via Email campaigns your audience actually wants. A good place to start is survey monkey.

4~ For Bloggers the Title & First Paragraph

If they don’t keep reading your story or article, it doesn’t matter how authentic and valuable your point of view was. Optimizing your title is tough, but necessary.

5~ Add Variety and Keep A/B Testing Subject Lines

Be relentless in how you offer new subject lines and A/B test subject lines according to different segments and personas of your audience. This is crucial for optimizing ROI and conversion and CTRs (click through rates) for your loyalty marketing campaigns (offers, promotions, notifications, point updates, point acceleration events).

6~ Funny, Rare or Ambiguous Subject Lines

We get tons of Email that are never opened, many of us have multiple Email addresses. This is the reality, so the subject line needs to be able to inspire or make us curious, human nature right?

Wordstream suggests even absurd Subject lines such as:

Some funny email subject line examples:

  • Please Touch Me! Enterprise Delight via Multitouch
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: ESAPI
  • Do Gamers Dream of HTML5 Sheep?
  • LEAN STARTUP: Baby Got (Feed)Back — Putting the Lean in Learn

7~ Include Local Information

Personalizing the campaign to segments by location is popular and as such, having a localization que in the subject-line (title) of the Email will boost open-rates and maybe even CTR.

8~ Think Outside of the Box

Pair campaigns and name them accordingly in your subject lines that boost engagement, such as:

  • Promotional contests
  • Giveaways or Sweepstakes
  • Influencer events
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • UGC Contests (where your customers create content on a specific theme, cause or around an event)
  • Reconnect with Inactive Subscribers
  • Offer more personalization (small segments or even 1:1)
  • Integrate more triggered (transactional) offers that are automated via customer analytics and relevant insights that drive conversion for your business and specific value proposition.
  • Pair your campaigns with a loyalty reward programs that’s customized to your industry’s vertical and is optimized with data-science and able to demonstrate the ROI if each campaign. The kind of Loyalty-marketing means your loyalty SaaS becomes your ESP and SMSP.


Get in the nitty-gritty and read dozens of articles and thousands examples on this to see what actually works in your industry. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just watch it move and do as they do:

Subject Line Conversion

Like what you read? Give Michael K. Spencer a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.