How to write effective email subject lines

Do your emails often go unnoticed? Have you been sending emails and receiving no replies? Many people suffer from the same issue, but don’t worry! All that may be missing is the right subject line. So, we’ve brought you a comprehensive guide on how to write more effective email subject lines.
Make sure that your emails are never left unopened again! Keep reading to become an expert on successful email subject lines.

By Manar Sadkou
A person typing on a laptop and email icons floating around the screen
With better email subject lines, you can make your emails stand out in anyone’s inbox!

What is an email subject line?

Whenever we receive an email, the email subject line is the first thing we see after the name of the sender. It is there to give the recipient an idea about the contents of the email. A subject line has to be short and concise but also intriguing enough to convince the person on the other end to open your email. While this part of the email writing process is often not granted as much importance, it can be the only thing keeping your email from standing out in a packed inbox.

Why are email subject lines important?

Email subject lines are important because they have a big impact on whether or not recipients open an email. Today, everything is fast-paced and email overload is not uncommon. Our inboxes are flooded with emails from various sources and to cope with that, we only skim through email subject lines for a few seconds before deciding which emails will be left unread or flagged as spam. If an email subject line is not successful at grabbing our attention, then it can be quickly ignored.

Think of your email subject line as a headline, highlighting the content and significance of the email and instructing the recipient on how to sort and prioritize it. An effective email subject line conveys clarity and urgency, guaranteeing that the email receives the attention it needs. Therefore, crafting catchy subject lines can be the key to better communication and higher email engagement. 

How to write an effective email subject line

If you’ve been struggling to achieve your email communication goals, here are a few tips on how to craft the best email subject lines and ensure your emails never go unnoticed again:
  • Keep it short: If an email subject line is too long, your recipient is less likely to read it. You want your subject line to grab their attention without being overwhelming. So, how long should email subject lines be? We suggest that you stick to 50 characters or less for optimal results.
  • Be clear: If your email subject lines are too vague, they will just confuse the reader and discourage them from clicking on your email. That’s why, ensuring that your email subject lines clearly convey the main message is the most important thing!
  • Be mindful when using keywords: Having some relevant keywords in your subject line can help catch your recipient’s eye. However, overusing keywords can make your email appear spammy, in which case whoever receives it is less likely to open it. As such, try to find that sweet spot and strike a healthy balance!
  • Keep the formatting simple: Using excessive punctuation or all caps in your subject lines will indeed make your email stand out – but for all the wrong reasons. Your email will most likely be automatically filtered as spam and will never make it to your recipient. So, remember that sometimes less is more!
  • Make it convincing: You want your subject line to encourage whoever sees it to open your email, so including words that emulate a sense of urgency or exclusivity can do you a huge favor. For example, words like “today only” or “members-only” can be effective in getting people to take action.
  • Personalize your subject lines: A generic subject line is more likely to get overlooked in a crowded inbox. For that reason, it’s more important than ever to make your emails feel relevant and customized. This can be done by including the recipient’s name or another specific detail about the content in the email subject line.
If you apply these tips, we are certain that your email subject lines will be optimized for the best results and you will never have to worry about your emails going under the radar again!

Five effective email subject lines examples

  • For a follow-up email: “Checking in: (topic) follow-up”
  • For a response or confirmation email: “Meeting request confirmed for (date)”
  • For a professional announcement: “What’s new: updates from (company/project)
  • For setting a deadline: “Action needed: (task) needed by (date)”
  • For an invitation email: “Save the date: (event/meeting) on (date)
Now that you’ve made it this far, you are fully equipped to write effective email subject lines. Keeping your email subject lines short, clear, and relevant can go a long way in making your emails stand out in someone’s inbox. If you need more email writing tips, check out our other blog posts on email greetings, email sign-offs, email etiquette rules, and thank-you emails!

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Images: 1&1/Shutterstock

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