7 Formulas For Writing a Killer Email Subject Line

In the digital age, having your small business stand out is harder than ever. What used to be a few flyers on your doorstep is now an over-flowing email inbox. This difference is not to be overlooked when creating your marketing plan. A great email can go a long way in building your clientele and growing your brand.

While there’s no one formula for creating compelling emails, an undeniable fact is that your email won’t be read if it isn’t opened. That’s why your email subject line needs to grab your reader’s attention from the get-go.

Get your newsletters in front of a captive audience by following these dynamite tips for writing a killer subject line.

Who Are You?

Keep the “From” line consistent and clear. This will help readers contextualize your email right away. They will be reassured that the email is not spam, but a requested mail more tailored to their interests. To maintain strong branding as your company grows, we recommend using the name of your company rather than that of an individual.

Change Is Good

Make sure that your subject line is different each time. This lets your recipient know that there is a person behind the screen and the conversation is natural. It also means you will be more specific about what is in the body of the email, piquing your readers’ curiosity.

Numbers Matter

With over 50% of people browsing through mobile devices, long titles are a thing of the past. Smaller screens call for short and compact text that can be easily read with getting cut off. When writing your subject line, use 50 characters or less. This is a cold hard rule. Whenever possible, try to stick with as few words as possible (ideally 28-39).


Writing a question can work wonders but all CAPS or lots of !!! wont help your brand. Devise a question that makes a reader want to say “yes” or “I want to know more”. Also, when doing promotional emails, still be careful to appeal to the individual on an interesting, informative and emotional level. For example: “Want to make a splash at your summer party?” or “When’s the last time you slept like a log?”

Avoid Triggers

Try not to use words that trigger spam filters. You’ll want to avoid – free, help, % off, sale, and donate. This way your email will stay in your users’ general inbox rather than the dreaded spam or promotions section.

Tell Don’t Sell

It’s best to remain casual, the same way you would communicate with a friend or colleague (just with a proof reader). Tell your readers about your new offer rather than making an immediate sales pitch. That said, make sure to maintain proper grammar and a professional tone.

The Conversation Is Two-Sided

Indicate if you need a response. If the body of your email is offering something for a limited time, or if you are hosting an event requiring an RSVP, let your readers know in the subject line. This will encourage them to open the email right away rather than get to it at the end of the week, perhaps when the opportunity has already passed.

After incorporating these suggestions into your email marketing plan, you can begin to test them out. Track your open rate and see if you find patterns of what’s working for you.

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