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10 Tips for Writing Better Email Subject Lines

By Brianne Slabach


We may not encourage judging books by their cover, but you definitely can judge an email by its subject line. And people do! The average person gets 88 emails per day, so it’s no wonder why lots and lots of marketing emails go unread.

The difference between a read and an unread email almost always boils down to your subject line, so that’s why it takes the crown: your subject is the most important part of your email.

But what makes an email subject good or bad? We’ve put together our top 10 tips. Follow these and get ready for better open rates!

1. Write and test multiple.

Often when you’re writing subject lines, you’ll write bad ones before writing anything good. That’s why we recommend creating a list of 5–10 and then picking your strongest players.

The next step is to A/B test them. See which ones get the most opens when you send them to a group from your email list, and there’s your winner. You can do this easily with our email marketing solution. Just select the A/B Test tab under My Campaigns.

2. Keep it short and simple.

We recommend keeping your subject line less than 40 characters or 5–7 words. People are much more captivated by the short and snappy rather than the long winded. Also, if your subject is too long, it will just get cut off, especially on mobile – keep in mind that 81% of people prefer checking email on their phones.

3. Use personalization.

Your customers appreciate a personal touch. It makes your marketing email feel less salesy and more like a message from a friend. When possible, use tags in your subject, like your customer’s name.

4. Tell them what’s inside.

Sure, there can be room for a little mystery when it comes to email subjects, but in general, your recipients should quickly know what your email is about. Make sure your subject tells them what to expect in your email – and why, of course, they’re better off opening it.

5. Create a feeling of exclusivity.

People like feeling special, so when you can, let your subject convey a feeling of exclusivity. Your customers will be more interested in an offer that’s “just for them” rather than a generic marketing message to the masses.

6. Create a sense of urgency.

A deadline could be the push someone needs to open an email. If possible, let your recipient know that your offer ends on such-and-such a date, or that it’s the last day for them to take advantage of an offer.

7. Try a question.

A good way to engage your email recipients is to ask a question in your subject line. It helps develop curiosity and engage. “Are you missing out on … ?” or “Did you know … ?” can be great jumping off points to making a personal connection.

8. Start with an action.

Good email subjects often begin with a strong action word. Think “Save” or “Sign up”. These call-to-action type subjects tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. If you want more on writing compelling CTAs, check out this post.

9. Avoid all caps and too much punctuation.

All caps and overusing punctuation are two things you should avoid. Nothing looks more salesy or spammy than “WANT THIS FOR FREE?!” It’s a turn off for people and could even trigger spam filters that are built to filter out emails like that.

10. Don’t overuse emojis.

Emojis are how lots of us communicate these days, so you can definitely try them out in email subjects. Just don’t go overboard. Don’t use more than one and don’t use them to replace words – that can make a message too confusing.

If you’re a Mopro client, you can start sending emails with our email marketing solution right now. Just visit, log in to your dashboard, and select the My Email Marketing Campaigns tile.

Interested in joining the thousands of small business owners growing their business online with Mopro? Email to get started.