Crafting catchy emails for your subscribers is no picnic, and convincing them to open and read them is even more challenging. With so many emails sent every day, ensuring that your email in not lost among them or sent directly to spam must be one of your top priorities.

email markering

An average office worker receives about 120 emails per day

The open rate for emails in the US is 34%

If you find you are stressing out about how to improve your open rates, first make sure that you are paying proper attention to your subject lines. Subject lines are very important. Sixty-nine percent of recipients will report an email as spam based on your subject line alone.

Want to make your emails actually work for you? Here are ten tips to help you improve your email marketing strategy and to increase your email open rates.

#1 Don’t leave it blank  

Subject lines are important, and in most cases they are the #1 reason why emails are opened and read in the first place. You can choose not to include a subject line deliberately as an attempt to pique your subscriber’s curiosity but this strategy can backfire. You may end up annoying recipients by choosing to forego the subject line and not immediately advertising what you have to offer.

#2 Be specific

Receiving about 120 emails per day  can be tedious and people can’t afford to spend too much time carefully reading every single email. Instead, most people will scan an email’s subject line to determine its importance and prioritize emails from this first impression.

If recipients are not able to grasp the main idea of your subject line right away, your message will remain unopened. What is it you want to offer your subscribers? Is it a sale, a discount, an ebook, or an invitation? Make your message descriptive and to the point.

#3 Count characters

About 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices, which is why it is important to keep your subject lines short so they show up in full on a tiny screen. Only 25-30 characters of your subject lines will be visible on the average mobile device, so place all the important words at the beginning of the subject line.

#4 Use action-provoking verbs

Similar to CTAs, your subject lines have to display a clear message about what you want your recipients to do next. A message that includes actionable verbs will push them closer to the action because they know exactly what type of move you’d like them to make.

#5 Include numbers

Don’t just use words – try including numbers too. The use of numbers  is another best practice tool and can help you capture the attention of your audience. Numbers in subject lines can refer to anything, such as: the number of days left before a specific offer expires, the number of tips or ideas you have to offer, a discount amount, the number of items left behind in a cart and much more.

#6 Avoid using all caps and excessive exclamation marks

Overusing caps and exclamation marks can give your recipients the feeling that they are being shouted at. No need to “raise you voice”, no matter how badly you want your emails to be opened. By treating your subscribers this way, you are likely to get nowhere and could even end up in someone’s spam folder. Instead of using excessive exclamation points, use caps to highlight important words that you want to emphasize.

#7 Personalize emails

People like to feel like they are important. As you craft your subject lines, try including their name, location, birthday date and other personally identifiable information. These small actions can make a big difference in the long-run, reassuring your recipient that an email was written specially for them instead of bunch of faceless subscribers.

Personalization works both ways. Don’t forget to add your name and your company name to your subject lines to humanize the sender. Recipients can recognize your name or the name of your company, helping to solidify their trust in you and encouraging them to open your email.

#8 Don’t forget about preview text

You might assume preview text has little to do with subject lines, but they are important to remember. Preview text appears right next to (or under) the subject line, and should be carefully crafted to keep readers engaged and interested in opening your email. Both subject lines and preview texts go hand-in-hand, complementing each other and facilitating better engagement.

#9 Reread your subject line, out loud

Before you hit send, reread your subject line first. Check to see if it contains any grammar mistakes, if the recipient’s name is spelled correctly and it includes the right name in the first place. Then read your subject line outloud. Would you open an email with the subject line you just read? If not, keep working and refining your text until you find it inviting to potential prospects.

#10 Not a tip, but a must – A/B test every change

Not all these tips will work equally well for every company and every email marketing strategy. As you build out your email strategy, remember to continually test all of your changes and take note of what works and what doesn’t work. A/B testing has to be implemented to measure the results and effectiveness of every possible subject line variations so you know which one to use in future email campaigns.


There is no one-size fits-all formula for the perfect email subject line. All businesses are different, and their goals and targeted audiences are different as well. What works for one company might not work best for you, so it’s important to A/B test multiple variations of subject lines to help you find a winning formula for your email marketing strategy.