Is Your Subject Line Helping or Hindering Your Open Rate?

July 21, 2015 — James Fulton

Is Your Subject Line Helping or Hindering Your Open Rate?

Are your emails being opened? It’s not uncommon to feel disappointed with your open rate, especially when you’ve got something really interesting or valuable to share with your audience. So how can you ensure, or at least, encourage, your readers to open your emails? It all lies in the subject line.

The Power of a Subject Line

The most common question people will ask themselves before opening an email, is “what’s in it for me?”. So if you put yourself in their shoes, of course they’re not going to open an email that’s all about you, the sender. By tweaking the language you’re using, it’s really easy to increase the appeal of your email.

The Click Through Formula

Don’t underestimate the subject line. Having a poor subject line is like having an unattractive shop front. How will you get them in? Here are a few tips to help you nail the click through formula.

  • The hook – make sure there’s value (i.e. free advice or an exclusive exciting offer) in your subject line, something that will hook the reader into clicking through without hesitation. Lead with the absolute best feature.
  • Make it personal – use direct language like “you”, “your”, “we” and “us”. This will make the recipient feel like the email is being sent by a real person. Not just another bulk mail-out.
  • Make it really personal – If your database is split into sections of people who come to you for service A, and people who come to you for service B, split the mail-out into two groups, each with their own subject line.
  • Be specific – you only have a few words to make your impression, so get straight to the point. If you have six topics within the same email, go with the two strongest stories.
  • Offer solutions – a solution is what many of your readers will turn to you for. You are the professional, and products or advice is why they signed up to you in the first place. Keep delivering long after their first purchase or service.
  • Provide a deadline – if your email contains an offer and has a strict deadline, be sure to include this in the email to avoid disappointment.
  • Keywords – use logical words for filing and searching. Make life easier for your recipients to search for your emails in the future.
  • Avoid spam filters – steer clear of words such as “sale,” “free,” “rich” or “deal” as well as writing words in caps. These trigger spam filters to send you straight to junk mail.

subject line 1

Practice Makes Perfect  

Sometimes coming up with the subject line can be harder than constructing the email itself. Like anything, practice makes perfect. By practising and coming up with at least five options, you will be more inclined to identify things you do and don’t like in your drafted subject lines.

Until you find your groove, try writing your subject line before you finalise your content. That way, your subject line can lead the direction of the email and will ensure your message and your subject line work with each other 100%.

Test it Out

To really put these methods to the test, try splitting your database into two, and send option #1 to one portion and option #2 to the other. There’s no better way to test it out. The results will indicate which tone is the most successful with your audience.

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James Fulton

Since founding the company in 2012, James has been the driving force behind SGD's success. As a visionary leader, he guides the SGD team, encouraging them to continually excel in digital design. James inspires a culture of growth, challenging each team member to surpass their own limits and set new standards in the field. This commitment to excellence not only propels personal development but also ensures SGD consistently delivers exceptional results for its clients.

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