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The Most Effective Email Subject Headings to Increase Open Rates

There are two types of people in this world: those whose inbox is clean, clear, and filled with only the most important emails, and those whose inbox has a circular, red notification icon with a little ‘3621’ hovering above it. Ideally, you don’t want your business emails to be left unread, particularly when you’ve put in so much effort with the content. However, it’s not all about the content with emails! Don’t let the subject headings let your emails down: the chances of your emails being left ignored and unopened is rather high – unless you’ve got a super eye-catching heading!

Keep It Comical

Most emails have a dry, dull heading, therefore it’s likely that yours will stand out of the crowd if you’ve got a humorous subject line. If you can keep these witty headings targeted to your audience, rather than just being general humour then you’ll be a step ahead of the crowd.

Some funny email subject lines we’ve seen and chuckled at include OpenTable’s “Licking your phone never tasted so good” and Groupon’s “There are no deals in this email”.

One of our top tips for writing an amusing subject line is to be blunt: not in a bad way, but in a stating-the-obvious way. For instance, an auto repair service could talk about ‘running on empty’, or an accountancy firm can play with the idea of how no one likes paying taxes by referencing the famous Ben Franklin quote: “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. You don’t have to make your audience laugh with every email you send; however, the occasional giggle for your audience is a great tool to use.

Use ‘Listicles’

‘What on earth is a listicle?’, you may be asking. You definitely already know what they are, as you see them in many successful blog posts and articles and you should be using them in your email headings too.

A listicle is just a presenting your content in the form of a list, e.g ’14 Steps to Get a Bikini Body’, “Forbes Top 100 Richest Entrepreneurs’, or ’32 Cool and Colourful Tattoos That Will Inspire You to Get Inked’.

Incorporating numbers into your subject line grabs attention as our brains are naturally drawn to digits. Lists are easy for our brains to process, therefore using listicles in your email headings will make your content stand out above the rest!

Make It Personal

There was a time when the world and his wife were sending emails incorporating the user’s name into the email subject line; however, this is now so common practice that many people just glaze over these as spam.

Ideally, you want to be personalising the headings to increase open rates by using location-specific offers and language. Groupon, for instance, will often send emails promoting deals in your area.

On the other hand, companies such as Amazon will often send new deals based on your past purchases, again, making it personal to the user. Ultimately, it’s good practice to be able to understand your audience well so that you can know what language and offers will attract them.

So overall, you’re best off keeping your email subject headings punchy, witty, and personal. Keep them under 50 characters to ensure higher open rates and click-through rates and get creative! At the end of the day, you’ve only got a small space to make your business shine through and to grab the user’s attention before they move on to the next email so write out lots of ideas and then handpick the very best ones. 

Written by

Total Merchandise | Editoral Team

Our editorial team is drawn from a pool of experienced promotional merchandise product team members, account managers, marketers and other contributors. With such a wide range of skills and experience, they write about many aspects of promotional merchandise, wider marketing and business matters, as well as company news updates.

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