You’ve got about 35 characters to convince people to open your email. So, you want your subject lines to have impact. It’s no surprise that about one-third of your subscribers will decide to open or not open an email just by reading your email subject line. But, what makes a good subject line? This will depend on what your campaign revolves around, but generally, the benefit should be stated upfront and the email summarized in as few characters as possible. The subject line should be explicit and enticing, and while it may seem obvious, it should make the recipient want to click. Ask a question. If possible, create a sense of urgency in the subject line. Whatever you do, steer clear of excessive exclamation points, all upper case letters, or special characters. Here are some tips to optimize your email subject lines:

Keep Your Audience (and Your Goals) in Mind

The most important point to keep in mind when you’re drafting an email subject line is who your audience is, and what action you want them to take. Are you trying to make a sale? Offer a promotion? Or just reaching out to your subscribers? Your final goal will determine what info your subject line should include. Be clear about the value of your email, and what it means for your subscribers. Take an example from UBER, promoting a new discounted price. Their subject line reads “Commute for up to 40% less with UBER.” Why will this work? Because, as a user of UBER, I know exactly what I’m getting in this email communication and how will it benefit me.


Try a message addressed to the recipient by his or her first name. By adding the recipient’s own name in the subject line, you build a feeling of rapport. For example: “Hey Arun, ready for the upcoming sale season?” almost all the email service providers can add a recipient’s name by a simple code in your email campaigns.

Test Keywords and Phrases

Don’t be afraid to test certain words and phrases to see how your audience responds. If you’re comfortable with trying different subject lines, give A/B testing a shot.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Your subject line should be scannable at a glance. According to MailChimp – a popular email service provider, 28-39 characters is the “sweet spot” with the highest click rate in a study of 200-million emails.

Use Groups and Segments

Send targeted emails to selective groups, those people who are interested in a specific piece or type of information.

Convey a Sense of Urgency

Phrases like “one day sale” or “24 hours left” encourage your readers to act right now. Or, “One day left for Masterclass on email marketing webinar – book your seats now.”

Offer Value

Use email to share something of value with your audience. This may be your new ebook or a discounted promotion. Let your audience know that by opening your email, there’s something valuable waiting for them inside.

Use Numbers

Just as numerical lists are effective in blog titles, numbers are effective in email subject lines. Using numbers in your email subject line sets your subject line apart in a sea of words—so if you have something to list, try it out. For example: “7 Reasons to Read this Email.”

Engage With Questions

Sometimes, asking a reader a question is a good way to get a response. For example: “Why is your product not selling?” or “What content marketing mistakes are you making?” Try these tips and let us know how it worked for you. Get in touch!

You may also want to read: Five Tips for Better Results with Email Marketing.