An In-Depth Guide to Writing a Subject Line that Catches

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Created March 31, 2020

Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say. If you think it refers only to books literally and people in the moral dimension, it’s only partly true. In fact, this principle also works in the field of marketing. With such things as emails, too. 

For better or for worse, people do judge a letter by its subject line. This makes it the most important part of an email. 35% of recipients decide whether the email is worth opening based purely on the subject line.

When you know how to structure it correctly, you get more chances to have your message viewed. That’s why writing skills are crucial. If you feel you don’t have enough knowledge, such services as EssayPro can be good support for you:

  • Get a consultation from qualified specialists to make your subject line flawless;
  • Read the blog to get some useful information;
  • Order a perfect email with a subject line.

However, if you’ve decided to deal with this task by yourself, you can use this in-depth guide to writing a catchy subject line.

short and clear email

1. Keep it short and clear

It’s the first rule you should remember. Inboxes typically show up to 60 characters, and a mobile version reveals only 25-30. That’s why professionals recommend using fewer than 50 characters or about 6-8 words.

However, this standard should be combined with another vital characteristic. Your subject should be as informative as possible. People will simply skip the message if they don’t see a clear point. Reflect the content with those several words. Try to put the most important ones at the beginning of the sentence, marking the intention.

be honest with email

2. Be honest

If you want to grab the recipient’s attention, you may consider using some unusual words or structures. But what is vital – don’t act contrary to his or her expectations. As far as the subject line describes the whole email, the content should correspond with the name. 

If the recipient notices that you are making false promises, they will instantly lose the trust and won’t read your next letters. What is even worse, you may lose subscribers. Don’t make your emails work against you!

use keywords in email

3. Use keywords

Since you need to add the essential information at the beginning, consider using keywords. This concept works not only with search engines but also with simple emails. If the recipient is interested in your letter but accidentally loses it, make sure they can find it by using keywords.

To find the most suitable phrases use professional software like Ahrefs, Semrush or Majestic. These services are extremely useful in terms of an SEO but you can applied keyword research to write a good subject line as well. 

personal emails

4. Keep it personal

People appreciate the attention; it’s true. That’s why it’s useful to know the recipient’s name and personalize the email. Include the first name, some personal information, or something referred to the previous actions of the reader.

Hyper-personalized marketing campaigns, as well as elements of brand storytelling, are key trends of email marketing campaigns in 2020. Almost 58% of all revenue is generated through targeted emails. To send highly-relevant emails with catchy subject lines, one should consider both online browsing behavior and real-time customer’s data. 

numbers catch

5. Numbers catch

No doubt, the numbers are more likely to grab attention than unsupported facts. Along with curiosity, they place focus on the content and make it clearer what the reader should expect. The brain pays attention to lists. Being exact always works best.

This is a psychological tip in its broadest sense. Do you remember these times when all the marketing guides were writing about mysterious five, and the number itself was everywhere. Now, there is no such strict policy on numbers, but people like to see statistics, percents and other data represented in a structured way. 

6. All caps don’t catch

If you can’t or don’t want to use numbers, try colons or dashes to make the line catchier. These characters not only turn attention to the text but also separate information, making it more defined. That makes the email look more attractive.

On the other hand, capital letters don’t function in this way if they occupy the whole space. It will definitely be noticed, but a reader will get annoyed. Also, they decrease the space you have. Use the expression means wisely!

visual content email

7. Use visual content

The subject line is not all about text. You can also use some visual content like emojis, for example. It makes the email stand out, as the eyes catch the image among tons of letters. Additionally, emojis can send the information that would otherwise require a couple of words, so it makes the subject line shorter.

We recommend using a free tool to search for the perfect emoji for your content, then simply copy and paste the emoji into the subject line of your email.

You should be careful enough when using emojis in your subject line. It is a handy tip when your audience consists of millennials, but when you are targeting older people – emojis is not your best choice. 

ask question email

8. Ask a question

Let’s play with the reader’s psychology. The brain wants to see the answer, even if the person knows it. He or she will check the email to make sure they are right. Or maybe it will be the wish to answer directly. No matter what the intention, questions always work.

9. Test it

After you have written those several words, what’s next? Regardless of the quantity of the words used, you should always re-read it and check the spelling. Additionally, you can try any online checker to be confident that your subject line looks perfect.


Sum Up

As you can see, nothing in marketing is easy. It’s also a great challenge to write an email that will simply make him or her open it or, moreover, call your recipient for action. Your reader will not even open it if the subject line is not catchy enough. The tops of the most effective subject lines show that it’s the key to successful advertising and keeping in touch with customers. These tips will help you boost the open-rates and engage your audience in general. Hard work, but it’s worth it!


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