The first impression matters. Even though such conventional wisdom sounds too trivial, it works, nevertheless. The various statistics can convince those doubtful of it. For example, about half of the email recipients who decide whether to open emails or not are basing on how the subject lines impress them. Indeed, the subject line is the part of an email that delivers a triggering impulse to a subscriber. It is clearly predictable that such an impulse can in principle entail both positive and negative results with regard to the open rate.
The email marketers know that an average professional receives up to a hundred emails every day. It is hardly imaginable that all of them can be read. Hence, the task of the email marketers comes to figuring out what helps to distinguish their messages from the rest. And the subject line plays a crucial role in encouraging subscribers either to open an email or to delete it. The professional bulk sending platform SendPulse is going to reveal some tips and tricks helping to boost the recipients’ engagement through the advanced methodology of creating the open-provoking email subject line.

Some general fundamentals of the great subject line

No matter which particular goal your email campaign is aimed at. There are several fundamental principles of creating a highly engaging email subject line. Before getting closer to the detailed description of the advanced marketing approaches, the following essential features of the successful subject line are worth mentioning in brief:

  • The urgency implies making the recipients impatient with regard to the content the email contains. The creatively drafted subject line should bring the subscribers a disturbing “hurry up” call to action able to convey the notorious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) feeling to them;
  • The curiosity as a natural human feature can be generated by the subject line encouraging the recipients to open an email. Create a provocative subject line to fuel a keen interest of your subscribers to get more information from your email;
  • The deals attract people since everybody likes new experiences, especially when it is offered for free. Specify a discount, an offer, or any other deal looking useful and beneficial for your subscribers and the chance they open your email can grow up many times over;
  • The relevancy of the email content regarding the subject of the subscribers’ interests can catch their attention at the very stage of evaluating the messages in their inboxes. Both trendy topics and well-balanced timelines that correlate correctly with what the recipients are really interested in are able to make the subject line sufficiently valuable for the subscribers who can hardly refuse the consistent communication via email;
  • The personalization when the subscribers are called by names makes them pay special attention to the subject lines where their names are mentioned. The individuals are caught by the content of the subject line where their names become recognizable.
  • The intrigue in the form of a short piece of a cool story promising a lot of excitement can transform the subject line into a preamble of the irresistibly intriguing emails that can hardly be refused by the recipients, therefore.


Brevity is the soul of wit

The lion’s share of the contemporary email users checks their inboxes on mobile devices. It implies a certain limit with regard to the number of characters the subject line can contain. The mobile practice suggests that subject lines having more than 50 characters are at risk to be displayed incorrectly on quite small screens of the gadgets. Therefore, the open rate depends on the size of the subject line, like it or leave it. The email marketers are recommended to consider each word of the subject line thoroughly.
What sounds normal in the body of an email can be redundant in its subject line having to be concise. Thus, many contextual details should be avoided unless they are crucial to the very essence of the email’s content. Besides, some specific words have quite ambivalent connotations affecting the open rate when they appear in the subject line. For example, the word “newsletter” indicated in the subject line can decrease the open rate by 18% in accordance with some studies. That’s why it is better not to use this word in the subject line even though the email itself is just a newsletter actually.

Stay familiar with your subscribers

The present stage of technological development makes robots actual entities in communication. However, almost nobody likes talking to bots as well as reading emails from the “noreply@…” senders. Moreover, the bigger number of inanimate interlocutors appears in the digital environment, in the bigger extent people appreciate the “real humans” on the other end of the line.
The majority of the email recipients never add impersonal email addresses to their address books because they prefer to hear from someone they are familiar with. In order not to make the subscribers feel frustrated, the email marketers should indicate names of real persons in the subject line. Thus, two methods can help to increase your open rate:

  1. Never use “noreply@companyname” in the “From” field of your emails;
  2. Include a personal name (even a generic one is better than nothing!) to your subject line. For example, the “Maggie Smith, Companyname…” variant of the subject line sounds more attractive for the subscribers than just “Companyname…” one.


Address your subscribers personally

A trusting relationship can be built only between people who keep personal communication. The name of your recipient mentioned in the subject line can significantly enforce a feeling of rapport. In general, any kind of personal information hinting at you know more about your recipients than just their email address can inspire their confidence in what you do. Besides, we all are narcissistic more or less. That’s why we can hardly remain indifferent to the email in the subject line of which our names are indicated.
In addition to the emotional foundations of such behaviour, the broad practice of email marketing confirms the higher clickthrough rate of the emails with the recipient’s first name in the subject line. In fact, the personalization of the subject line implies not only the names of the subscribers. Even trivial addressing with “you” and “your” words delivers a feeling of exclusivity to them. In addition, you can mention some famous places in the locations where your recipients live. In other words, any personal data mentioned in the subject line make your recipients feel they are above average in your eyes. Can it increase the open rate? Beyond any doubt!
Don’t confuse experiences of your subscribers

Don’t confuse the experiences of your subscribers

There’s nothing worse for your reputation than revealing your incompetence in what your subscribers are really fond of. The essence of personalization is to show that you know the things that are really important for your recipients. Anything they enjoy will work – sports, cuisine, music etc. But don’t send a vegetarian menu to those who prefer steaks in fact. It means the contact lists require certain efforts from the email marketers to make a thorough segmentation of the subscribers.
In any case, every marketer has some information about the actions their subscribers have performed on the websites and e-shops. This is a sufficient source from where the recipients’ personal preferences can be withdrawn. How to segment the lists depends on both the particular business areas and the goals your email campaign is to achieve. Nevertheless, the more relevant your subject line is to the actual interests of your audience the more loyal your subscribers will be to your email marketing.
 Create a “club of the elect”

Create a “club of the elect”

The feeling of being special makes various closed clubs tremendously attractive to people throughout the world. Our sense of self-importance lies in the background of that feeling. Whatever negative or positive connotations it may contain from the pure psychological viewpoint, the email marketers should take advantage of such a feeling.
The subject line is a perfect piece of content where a dedicated vocabulary can be used. The phrases meaning the subscribers’ exclusivity can have a magical effect on your audience. The specific expressions in the subject line such as “exclusively for our beloved clients” or “you are privately invited to…” will impress your recipients most likely. In other words, create something like a closed club of your subscribers where they feel special in some kind of way.
 Create a “club of the elect”

Correlate your style with spam filters

Everybody knows that all email providers use spam filters to protect their clients from unauthorized emails. Both the working algorithm and the efficiency of such filters vary from case to case. However, spam filters become a bugaboo for many email marketers. They feel constrained when some specific means to capture the recipients’ attention should be applied to the subject line.
They guess that such features as writing in all caps or, for example, using exclamation points drive an email into a spam folder automatically. In fact, different filters have different “sensitivity” to words in all caps, symbols, and special characters indicated in the subject line. A specific threshold is to be exceeded in each particular case to mark an email as spam. That’s why a popular word “FREE” in the subject line can hardly block an email in a spam filter if it is just a single word written in all caps. Remember that your sender reputation plays a much bigger role in spam scoring than any “mechanical” means of drawing attention.
Correlate your style with spam filters


The creatively drafted subject line is half the success of every email campaign. The subscribers accept your email in accordance with the first impression the subject line delivers to them. The email marketers should consider the subject line as the key able to unlock the door of the subscribers’ attention.
Brief content of the subject line should correspond to such important characteristics as the urgency, relevancy, and personalization. Besides, the limitations of the mobile screens require the subject line to be shorter than 50 characters. The words written in all caps along with special symbols in the subject line do not necessarily drive an email to a spam folder. Addressing subscribers by name in the subject line as well as generating a feeling of being special can significantly increase the chance that the recipients open your emails.

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