Here you are! You’re ready to promote a webinar, keep customers updated with a newsletter, or invite contacts to a conference. All you need is for people to go to your site and register, sign up, or act in some way. So, you send out an email to let the world know you are ready to change their lives.

SENT! The email is now in the hands of your current and prospective customers. You watch over the next few days to see how many people are clicking on your email.

Then. Nothing. No one clicked on it. Why?? The most likely reason is that you didn’t write a good enough email subject line.

HubSpot tells us 65% of surveyed marketers say subject lines have the greatest impact on open rates. With that in mind, here is how to write an email subject line that doesn’t suck.

Related: Five Ways to Design an Effective Email.

Know Your People

It goes without saying the best marketing speaks directly to the prospect, using language and tone that resonates. So know your audience! This is truer than ever since generational gaps appear in how you punctuate. For instance, consider no ellipses for Gen Z because those dots can be interpreted as passive aggressive. And no periods at the end because it can sound cold. Choose emojis that are more ironic than earnest. Speak their language. Which brings us to…

Avoid All Caps Like the Plague

When you’re texting someone, ALL CAPS IS THE SAME AS YELLING AT THEM! No one likes to be yelled at, so your email subject lines need to be sans CAPS. Some have argued CAPS makes your email stand out. Yes, but it stands out in the worst way.


People love seeing their own name in print. According to "The Power of Personalization: 2021 Email Marketing Report" by Campaign Monitor, personalized email messages get an open rate 29% higher and a click-through rate 41% higher than non-personalized messages. Powerful stuff. And if you don’t have a customer list yet, you can also try adding words like “you” and “your” so the email speaks to them directly.

Shorter is Better

55% of people open their email on a mobile device. So it’s important to make sure your email subject line is fully readable on mobile. This means your subject line needs to be less than 50 characters, which will keep it from getting cut off. This is also true from a marketing perspective. How many times have you read something SO long you lost interest and quit reading? See the point?

Related: Why Email Drip Campaigns are Crucial to Your Success.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell

Some companies are afraid to say what is in the email and give away the message. They fear the recipient won’t have a reason to click. This could not be farther from the truth! It is more likely someone WON’T click on an email if they don’t know what it’s about, especially as people try to protect themselves against phishing scams and other cybersecurity threats.

You must tell them why they want to open the email: what it is, what it does, and how it does it. For example: Instead of “I know a secret — click to find out what it is,” this could be changed to “This is a secret discount offer, only for you, #Name.” This is much more appealing because the person knows it is a store discount geared towards them.

Now You Can Slay Your Subject Line

If you want to avoid having to remember all of these tips, then you could always hire Ironmark! We stay on the cutting edge of what works and what doesn’t, and we track all emails for effectiveness. We will handle your email campaigns so you won’t have to worry about bad email subject lines again. Contact us today to see how we can help!

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Written by Reid Broendel

When you need something done for your digital marketing campaigns, you can count on Reid Broendel to find a way. Reid has been on the Ironmark digital marketing client services team since May of 2019. Reid holds the position of Lead Digital Marketing Specialist and brings with him a knack for content management, as well as an enthusiasm for client support, able to jump in at a moment’s notice to help clients and team members on any and all digital marketing needs. From installing tracking codes, to building out emails, to planning out content calendars, Reid is always happy to help. Reid is a graduate of Penn State University, with a B.A. in Advertising. He runs on coffee and spends all his days not in the office working next to his cats.

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