Optimising Your Email Marketing: The Art of Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

When sending out a marketing or newsletter email, the first thing people see is the subject line. This line needs to grab people's attention so that they open and read what has been sent.

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By: Darren Coleshill on 12th June 2023, 4 minute read

What grabs your attention when you receive an email? For most of us, the subject line shines as the first point of contact. Therefore, as a marketer or a newsletter creator, you need to recognise the unparalleled power within those few characters. The subject line of your email can either set your entire campaign alight, or unintentionally contribute to its downfall. So, let's dig deeper into the art of crafting compelling subject lines.

The Essential Guidelines for Effective Email Subject Lines

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to email subject lines, but there are a few best practices that could significantly enhance your campaign's success rate. Let's walk you through these crucial steps.

The Personal Touch

Sprinkling a little personal touch to your subject line can work wonders. Personalisation boosts open rates, whether it's the recipient's name or something more specific about them. The technique is simple: merge tags can help customise each email, lending it a personalised feel.

Clear Over Clever

A catchy phrase might seem appealing, but it can only make the mark if it indicates what the email is about. Try to be transparent about the content of your email in your subject line. Let it be known if it's about a specific deal or promotion.

Brevity is Key

The golden rule here is: keep it short and sweet. Longer subject lines might get chopped off on mobile devices, which is a problem considering the number of people checking their emails on smartphones. Aim for about nine words or 60 characters for optimal visibility.

Easy on the Punctuation

It's best to limit the use of punctuation marks in your subject line. Using more than three can trigger spam filters, especially if you're fond of special characters. So, hold your horses on the exclamation marks and question marks.

Emoji Etiquette

We all love emojis! They can add a dash of fun and colour to your subject lines, but they require careful use. Stick to one emoji at a time, and use it to complement your message rather than replace words. Remember to test your emojis across different operating systems, as they may display differently.

Test Your Subject Lines

Growth lies in learning and adapting. Testing various subject lines will give you the insights needed to improve your email open rates. Consider running a split test with identical email content, but different subject lines. This will help you gauge what resonates best with your audience.

“Subject lines can often be overlooked but they are one of the most important parts of the email. If you don't interest the receiver, then they simply won't open.”

Remember, subject lines may be just a few words, but they are the gateway to your email content. If you fail to spark interest with your subject line, the chances are high that your email will remain unopened. So, master the art of crafting compelling subject lines and watch your email marketing game elevate to a new level.

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The Replace Base

Case Study: The Replace Base

An online retailer of mobile device repairs and replacement parts

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Darren Coleshill


Darren Coleshill

Our leader in social media management, email marketing and CRM and Marketing Automation, Darren is responsible for The Marketing Eye being one of the few agencies in the UK able to offer full end-to-end customer journey management.

Campaign Manager / The Marketing Eye

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