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Top tips for a successful email subject line

July 25th 2023

Danielle Beuker

By Danielle Beuker

Digital Marketing Assistant

In 2023, email is still one of the best performing strategies within marketing efforts and has kept growing and succeeding over time. In fact, 77% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months (Hubspot).

With more and more data at their fingertips from their email subscribers, marketers are able to target customers with engaging content through carefully segmented messages based on online behavior.

However, to encourage customers to open your email in the first place, well-crafted email marketing subject lines are still as important as they’ve ever been. Here are our top tips for getting your subject line just right, along with great examples of some of our favorite effective email subject lines. 

1. Solve a problem

If you target your customers with an effective segmentation strategy, you will be able to easily tailor the offers in your subject lines to each customer’s needs and wants. People always have needs, you just have to find what they are… whether it’s saving money, finding a place to stay or how to look fashionable, the options are endless.

See a few successful subject lines from real-world examples:

  • Pizza Hut: “Feed your guests without breaking the bank”
  • IKEA: “Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes”
  • HP: “Stop wasting money on ink”
  • Sephora: “Your beauty issues, solved”
  • Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery…”
  • Guess: “Wanted: Cute and affordable fashions”

2. Be creative and relevant in a unique way

Ryanair: “Splash the Cash”

Everyone knows the last Friday of the month is payday. Ryanair uses this to their advantage and sends payday-orientated funny email subject lines such as this one. Smart twist of words!

Oakhouse Food: “Pack Your (Shopping) Bags, Summer Awaits!”

Summertime means the kids are on holiday, and parents are packing their bags for their family holidays. Oakhouse Food uses this as an opportunity for wordplay.

High Street TV: “Shopping our Fan range will blow you away!”

When the weather is hot in a certain place you can use geotargeting tactics to message customers in that area with a weather-appropriate email. High Street TV does this by using a pun about fans for sale. 

3. Personalize the location too

So you live in NY but are receiving all sorts of ads and offers for other locations…happens all the time, right?

Don’t wait until the customer gets to this point. The best subject lines are targeted to the right location, as then there is a much higher chance that your email will be opened.

Learn more: 9 great ideas for location-based emails

4. Use action verbs

Email subject lines are similar to CTAs – the main goal is to get people to click through. Good subject lines can begin with action verbs rather than passive verbs or nouns, as they are more enticing, and can make a huge difference in open rates.

A few examples could be “join us”, “eat”, “watch”, “enjoy”, “learn”, “hurry” etc…

5. Match the number of characters in your “From” name

When writing an email, apart from the subject line, the “from” name has to be evident and authentic so the customer knows who the email is coming from. However, have you ever thought about the length of it?

Each app has a different number of characters that they are able to display; most android apps display between 50-70 characters. iPhone shows 78, but you can swipe to see up to 140. Gmail shows up to 70 characters on Android and iOS. Research shows most emails perform best with around 41 characters.

6. Always use an accurate description

No matter how stylish your emails are, if your subject line doesn’t represent the content of the email, your subscribers won’t get to actually see that amazing design of yours. Or, in the worst case they will, but they will be disappointed and you won’t be credited for your words afterwards.

7. Ask a question

Questions in subject lines serve to engage recipients and pique their interest. Customers will be more excited about opening that email and answering whatever you asked them in the subject line.

8. Cart and Browse Abandonment

Sending cart and browse abandonment emails can be really important when regaining customers’ attention or reminding them they have left products in their cart. Catchy email subject lines such as “10% off | We miss you…and so does your cart” or “Out Of Sight But Still On Your Mind?” can recover lost customers.

Find out how this fashion retailer improved their email performance by 209% during the Christmas period by personalizing subject lines.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking to improve your email marketing, check out our 5 easy ways to make your emails perform better eBook.

Danielle Beuker

By Danielle Beuker

Digital Marketing Assistant

As Digital Marketing Assistant at Fresh Relevance, Danielle writes user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.