Why Should You Care About Subject Lines?

We all know how much work goes into perfecting written content, hyperlinking the correct words, and countlessly revising the smallest details before we send out an email.

But what is the point of all of that work if no one is even opening them?!

This is where the importance of a great subject line comes in.

It has been reported that 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone. 

Everybody wants their voice to be heard and message to be sent. Now’s your chance to make it happen! Thankfully, we’ve come up with a list of  10 Hacks to turn you from…

How To Write Email Subject Lines


Here are three quick statistics from HubSpot to consider:

Subject lines with 3 or more words are opened 15% less than those with 1-2.

Subject lines with 30 or fewer characters have an above average open rate.

40% of emails are opened on mobile first – where the average mobile screen can only fit 4-7 words max

Email subject lines will get cut off if they’re too long, particularly on mobile devices. And with so many email opens taking place on mobile, we recommend using subject lines with fewer than 50 characters to make sure the people scanning your emails read the entire subject line.

If you’re struggling to keep your subject lines short, think about which words matter less and where you can remove a frivolous detail.

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

2. Be Personable and Relatable

When in doubt, write like a human. Using lowercase type, casual language, or even sometimes intentionally including a typo proves that you’re a real person – not a robot or corporate drone.

For example, emails with a generic “You” in the subject line were opened 5% less than those without. Meanwhile, personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened.

Also, keep in mind that when emailing subscribers, avoid sending from an account that has no personality, such as [email protected] or [email protected] And whatever you do, stay away from [email protected]!


3. Create Urgency

It is essential to grab the reader’s attention quick. Time is limited and you’ll only have their eyes for a few mere seconds!

It has been reported that there was a 61.8% increase in opens when using the word “alert” in subject lines. Also, subject lines that create a sense of urgency and exclusivity can give a 22% higher open rate.

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

4. Avoid Spam/Trigger Words

Try to avoid using words that may be considered spammy, like “free”, “extra income”, or “million.”. But remember: context is important. “Free” may be considered spammy in some cases, while in others, it may not affect your email’s spam score. Think about it from your own perspective…what kind of email would YOU want to open?

Check out this helpful list of some trigger words to avoid here.

5. Don’t put words in ALL CAPS.

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

People often feel like you’re yelling at them when they read these, and that can be a cause for concern.

Using all caps and/or a lot of exclamation points can really rub people the wrong way. In fact, according to a study by the Radicati Group, more than 85% of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps. So, consider staying small.

6. Emojis?

Emojis, especially among younger generations, are extremely catchy to the eyes and can create separation from the absolute clutter of text when scrolling through an inbox. Use them appropriately and you will be sure to reap the benefits. 

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

7. Know Your Audience

It’s all about figuring out what works best for your specific audience. By targeting a segment of your audience, you’re increasing the relevancy your content will have to your readers, which will in turn pique their interest and increase the amount of times your email is opened.

How To Write Email Subject Lines

8. Nobody Wants to be Sold. Don’t be THAT guy.

Have you ever heard the quote, “Nobody wants to be sold, but everybody wants to buy”?

It really comes off as too forward and intimidating when companies try to shove deals or offers in the reader’s face. Instead, utilize both the subject line and email to entice them with other content, media, and information. Gain trust first and establish what you want to say before trying to sell them something. 

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

9. Being Funny is Good… (Sometimes)

Depending on who the email is being sent to and your relationship, a good pun or joke can work at times. However, it is rare that your audience truly cares about being amused in this instance. Keep it short and sweet. DO NOT work too hard for laughs because, at the end of the day, having good content is far more important and engaging.

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

10. Most Importantly, Spark Curiosity!

E-commerce Email Subject Lines

The ultimate goal you should aim for with any email subject line, is to create curiosity and/or interest in your product/service.

How do you do this?

Your subject line should describe the email just enough that it generates interest, but not enough to ruin the “surprise.” This isn’t as easy as it sounds.

One way some email marketers create curiosity is by asking a question or using words such as: Unusual, Strange, Limited, Rare, Secret, etc. 

To Sum it Up

Remember – No subject line is perfect. 

As small business owners and marketers, it should become part of your process to set up and test different subject lines for almost all emails that you send. Commit to consistently learning which of these techniques and ‘hacks’ motivate your audience to open your email. You’ll be surprised how often what you thought was “good” today can be improved upon. 

Transactional Emails