11 tips for writing killer email subject lines

Hillary Rock-Archer Avatar

Hillary Rock-Archer - Content Marketing Manager
August 2, 2017

Email marketing. Spam, junk, delete – does any of this actually work?


Yes! Email marketing is a vital digital marketing tool. Although best practice for email marketing success can be straightforward, it’s also pretty easy to get it wrong.

Emails get a bad reputation. They’re boring. They’re a chore. They’re all spam. Whatever your gripe with your inbox, emails give you a unique chance to directly communicate with your audience in a relatively distraction-free environment.

So first things first. You need to nail your email subject line and you need to nail it every time. It only takes one click to send your emails to a junk folder, mark as spam or worse, have your address blocked. So here’s our 11 tips for writing killer email subject lines…


Value – ‘You’re invited to Yappa’s Content Club’

Make it clear what value is waiting inside your email. Emails can be valuable for different reasons; entertainment, educational, interesting, money-saving, reminding, inviting. Don’t leave them guessing, tell them what they can expect from the email.


Humour – ‘It’s an e-invite. Duh.’

With social media dominating personal communication, emails are widely known as the more professional platform. But this shouldn’t deter you from having a bit of fun with your subject lines. Use language and humor that resonates with your audience. Tailor your subject lines to your readers, not to your method of communication.


Call to action – ‘RSVP to Yappa’s next Content Club’

Every email needs a purpose. With the ability to track opens, clicks and sales from your campaign, it’s important to consider the journey you want the reader to take. Be it to a product page, a contact us page or to download your latest ebook. Always push for the next move.


Personalisation – ‘Chloe, want to earn another Content Club badge?’

Personalisation can and should go beyond the first name insert tag, right Toby? It’s important to track and understand the relationship between your audience, your products and your content so you can give them more of what they want.


Urgency – ‘RSVP before midnight tonight for your seat at Content Club’

Deadlines get things done. Your email subject should let the reader know the due-by date of the call to action. But don’t fake it. If the event is months away, your readers will easily tire of false urgency. Use it sparingly and truthfully in subject lines.


Incentive – ‘RSVP before midnight for a FREE ticket to Content Club’

People want stuff and people mostly want stuff for free. If not for free they want it for less. Your email contacts have exchanged their valuable information and expect something juicy in return. Give it to them in your subject line.


Scarcity – ‘Only 5 spaces left – RSVP to Content Club now’

The fear of missing out is sometimes more powerful than the excitement to be involved. The thing to remember when using scarcity as a way of engaging your audience, is to keep it scarce. If your product is ‘selling out’ every week, it doesn’t look desirable it looks poorly stocked.


Empathy – ‘Digital marketing is scary. Content Club isn’t. RSVP now’

Any successful communication starts with understanding your audience. From understanding what makes them smile and where they need a bit of help, subject lines are a great place to hook into a little audience insight.


Special – ‘Content Club does coffee. A morning meetup for members only’

Subject lines should make readers feel special. It should make them feel so special that they open the email to find out what’s inside.


Numbers – ‘27 people have already reserved their seat at Content Club!’

Using numbers in your subject line can help to validate your message. “Selling fast” comes to life when you add “only 200 tickets left”. Using numbers adds an extra layer of detail to your claim.


Questions – ‘Coming to content club tonight? Here’s what you’ll need to bring’

Don’t ya love a good question? Well, so do we. Questions prompt answers, they get the brain working and lead the reader to preempt the next piece of information.


Why else do we love email marketing? Segmentation, A/B testing, tracking and those sexy html templates! If you want to learn more or even learn to love it… signup to Content Club and join one of monthly meetups,

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