10 Tips To Writing Engaging Email Subject Lines

How many emails do you get a day? And how many of those emails do you swipe to delete without even opening? An email’s subject line is the first impression you get of an email. Subject lines are often what get you to open the email. By writing powerful, impactful subject lines you encourage people to open your email. An email open leads to an email click, which leads to a conversion. Email marketing yields a 4400% ROI. To get to that return, people need to actually open your emails. 

Writing a subject line for your email isn’t super cut and dry. For example, imagine you’re sending an email about a sale on women’s sandals from your ecommerce shoe store. Titling the email “Sale on women’s sandals” may entice some people to open, but for most, it’s going to get hidden with the dreaded deletion swipe. Putting thought and effort into your subject lines to make them enticing can go a long way in terms of your ROI. Here are some tips for writing impactful email subjects.


Tips for writing powerful email subject lines


1.) Keep your audience in mind when writing your email subjects.

Let’s use the women’s shoe sale example again. You’re sending an email blast for a sale on women’s  shoes, and probably only sending it to the women on your emailing list. So your audience is composed of women who either have bought shoes from you before or, at some point, have shown interest in buying shoes from you. You want to cater your subject line to that audience: women interested in buying shoes. An email subject like Something along the lines of “Ladies, this one’s for you” could work. 

2.) Make the subjects short and sweet

According to SuperOffice, 81% of people in 2020 opened their emails on their phone. Subjects that are too lengthy get cut off on mobile inboxes. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your email subjects short, sweet, and to the point. Titling your shoe sale email “Exclusive sale on women’s sandals, sneakers, boots, and high heels. 15% off everything in the store” won’t hit home the way you want it to because it’s too long.

3.) Pique their curiosity

Putting everything the recipient needs to know about the email in the subject line doesn’t encourage them to open it. Using the subject example above: “Exclusive sale on women’s sandals, sneakers, boots, and high heels. 15% off everything in the store”. This doesn’t give the recipient any reason to open the email. You laid out everything they need to know and they’ll likely just delete it. But, what if the email body included a pair of shoes they had their eyes on. That would probably convince them to buy, but it doesn’t matter since the email was deleted. 

4.) Personalize your email subject

Using merge tags to personalize your subject can help convince people to open your email. Putting the recipient’s name in the subject line (automatically, that’s how merge tags work. We’ll cover that another time but here’s a resource for now) makes the email feel personal. This could lead them to opening your email.

5.) Don’t be too aggressive

I think when you read that, you knew exactly what kind of email subjects I’m talking about. “FREE DRINK WHEN YOU ORDER A LARGE FRY THIS WEEKEND ONLY”. “Open me!! I’m important!!!!”. The super-aggressive, in-your-face emails don’t necessarily work with most target audiences. It appears spammy and often ends with a swift delete, maybe even an unsubscribe. A tasteful amount of aggression is okay under certain circumstances, but definitely not that much.

6.) Write the subject to make your email feel important

This can happen in a couple of different ways. You can make the recipient of your email feel special, thus making the email important. Saying things like “This offer is just for you, Sam” is a great way to start. Another way to make your email feel important is by making the subject feel special. “You don’t want to miss this.” or “Have you thought of this solution” are great examples.

7.) Incorporate numbers

Some kind of number incorporation into marketing materials always gets people’s attention. This is also true for email subject lines. For example: “Are you interested in a 4400% ROI?”. That will definitely encourage some people to open the email. The big number will get their attention, and they’ll want to know how to get that ROI. 

8.) Establish a sense of urgency in your email subject

By writing email subject lines that establish a sense of urgency, you encourage readers to act immediately instead of thinking too hard about whether or not they want to do it. A good example is: “Act fast! Summer savings are here for a limited time”. 

9.) Offer the readers something

It’s not secret that people like free things. If you offer readers something for free in the subject of the email, it will likely encourage them to open it and potentially spend more money. For example “Free drink with any sandwich this weekend!” would encourage people to open the email. They want to know where they can buy a sandwich to get that free drink. 

10.) Supplement your email subjects with your preview text

Writing preview text that’s supplemental to your subject line helps encourage people to open your email. Doing things like a call and response such as: “Do you want a free drink?” “Heck yeah I want a free drink!” adds personality to the email and builds excitement. The preview text also allows you to expand on the subject, where we’ve already established there is limited space to make an impact. For example, a subject that reads: “Check out this dog-mom life hack” can be supplemented with “Your fur babies will thank you for this.” to make it more impactful.


Those are just a few tips to help you write powerful email subjects. It is important to note that there is a lot of trial and error involved in curating your email marketing voice, and that includes writing your subject lines. Test out a few different strategies, see what works and what doesn’t. It takes time to get that perfect rhythm going but these tips should help you along the right path. 

Email marketing provides you with so many opportunities

Cultivating and implementing an email marketing strategy benefits your business in so many ways. It helps to drive traffic to your website. Increased traffic leads to more conversions. Emails also help encourage people who may be on the fence of working with you. They keep your business at the top of people’s minds and establish you as a leader in your industry. Maybe the recipients aren’t ready to work with your business right this second, but with the proper cadence of emails, they’ll remember you when they need the services you offer. If you’re interested in implementing an email marketing strategy but don’t know where to start, reach out to our team! We would love to help you leverage email marketing to drive success for your business. 


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