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How to write an email subject line: examples and best practices

email subject line examples

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We outline email subject line examples and best practices, including the optimal length, personalization, strong words, and how to generate action as a response.

Do you feel that you often read the subject of an email and immediately think: “Another spam …” or “Unimportant …” or “No idea what this is about, I’ll read that later …”. The subject of an e-mail is the first thing a recipient reads after receiving a message and then decides whether to process the message immediately, later or perhaps not at all. It is all the more important that you find the right words here so that your message does not get lost. In this guide we give you 7 tips for optimizing your email subject line.

Email subject line: The definition of a subject

What is a subject anyway? The subject of a message, such as an e-mail, is ideally a short version of the content of the message or the topic. It should be kept as short and concise as possible in order to enable the recipient of the message to assign a topic quickly. This also makes it easier to trace facts. The subject is at the beginning of the message or in the header of the email. Also read: How to schedule an email in outlook: simple step-by-step guide

Email subject line tip 1: The optimal length

What is the optimal length of a subject line? One sentence, two sentences, 100 words, 300 words? But on the contrary: Brevity is the soul of wit…

Be brief – subject lines that are too long are often not displayed completely and therefore cannot be read in full. When using smartphones and tablets, the problem with the complete representation is exacerbated due to the smaller displays. It is underestimated that around 42 percent of electronic mail is now opened with mobile devices such as smartphones.

To ensure that the subject line is displayed in full and the content of the message is summarized briefly and concisely, we recommend that you do not use more than 49 characters in the subject line. So you can be sure that your recipient will see, read and understand the entire subject of the email if you use this as the first of the email subject line best practices. Also read how to use email etiquette correctly: the 4 basic rules.

Email subject line tip 2: personalizing the subject

By personalizing the subject line, you instill trust and a relationship with the recipient. A study shows that e-mails with a subject containing the recipient’s first name, for example, achieve higher click rates than e-mails that do not.

Another extremely effective form of personalization is matching the recipient’s place of residence. For example, here is a list of the best outdoor bars and restaurants.

Just be careful not to overdo it, as personalization can also be counterproductive. However, if you use personalization to the right level, you can show recipients that they are more to you, and not just an email address. In the event that you do not want to or cannot use personalization in the subject line, we recommend that you at least select the direct form of address “Sie / Sie” or “Your / Your”. In this way you give the recipients the feeling that they are being addressed personally.

Email subject line tip 3: Don’t make empty promises

When your recipients read the subject of their email, they have certain expectations of the content of their message. Be sure to phrase your subject lines in a way that creates the right expectations. Do not try to trick readers with false promises into opening the email.

If you do this, you will annoy recipients and make them feel like your subject lines are not to be taken seriously. In the medium to long term, this will lead to a lower open rate and a higher unsubscribe rate for your newsletters.

Email subject line tip 4: Set deadlines!

In addition to clearly specifying the topic in the subject of the e-mail, also set appointments with a specific date. This will make your expectations clearer to the recipient. A subject that reads “As soon as possible” hardly works at all in practice. The at least react to it and you wait a long time for the answer. If the person addressed notices that it is not possible for them to meet the milestone, they can react immediately. Example: “Last chance – registration for training expires tomorrow”

Email subject line tip 5: Use your subject line to encourage action

Specific prompts for action in the subject line can also improve the opening rate: If you ask for more than just reading the email, for example to register for a workshop or to visit a trade fair stand, you will get the recipient to think more actively about your message.

Practical tip : Put activating verbs at the beginning of your subject line in order to express specific calls for action – this mobilizes the recipient.

Example: “Only today – 30% discount on your registration”

Email subject line tip 6: Use strong words

Find and use strong words . Strong words are attractive and attract attention and generate curiosity.

Here are some examples of strong words:

  • Guaranteed
  • Free of charge
  • Successful
  • Simple
  • Useful
  • Innovation
  • Added value
  • Tips
  • Tricks
  • Secret
  • Success
  • Save
  • Avoid
  • Win
  • Achieve

Email subject line tip 7: Avoid spam words

It can happen that one or the other e-mail provider classifies the message as spam just because certain words were used in the subject of the e-mail. So try not to mention certain words. Here is a small excerpt of what kind of words these are:

“Everything has to come out …, offer expires …, deal, urgent, free access, open now, do not delete, act now, bargain, price hit …”

Email subject line examples

  • Your package is guaranteed to be delivered today!
  • Today only – 30% discount on your order
  • [NAME], alert! Only a few tickets left
  • Your booking was successful!
  • Save now – order within 24 hours
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