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Writing Stand Out Subject Lines

Writing Stand Out Subject Lines

Crafting the right subject line may seem daunting, but by breaking it down into smaller steps you’ll land on just the right phrase to increase your open rates.

An old favourite eConsultancy article of ours reveals the six most popular places people check their emails: in bed, on public transport, in cafes, in stores, at work and in the loo. That article may have been written in 2013, but we bet the results would still be similar in 2018. The truth is that most people check their emails while doing something else…

So in the midst of multitasking, how can you ensure you get your mailer noticed?

The first opportunity and the first impression is the subject line.


1. Get back to the basics

It all starts with a topic. That could go without saying, but sometimes it feels like the topic can be lost in an attempt to write a clever subject line that leaps off the screen. It is ok for the subject line to state what the mailer is about!

2. Brainstorm!

The next step is the brainstorming phase. Get a piece of paper and scribble all over it. Don’t censor yourself. Identify all the words and phrases around the mailer topic you can. No need to break out the dictionary or thesaurus here – use everyday language that’s accessible to your readers. Talk to them like you would face to face.

3. Liven things up

Now it’s time to bring it all to life, to animate the topic:

  • Use verbs and calls to action where possible: Action words create a sense of urgency and let your recipients know what you’d like them to do.
  • Make people laugh: If it’s appropriate for your audience, have a fun and playful tone of voice.
  • Ask questions: Short and snappy questions can be a great way to capture attention.
  • Offer exclusivity: Reward your recipients for their loyalty by giving them access to events or information ahead of the public. People love to feel ahead of the game and it can boost open rates.

4. Piece it all together

Now is the time to bring it together, like the pieces of a puzzle. Try different combinations with the words you brainstormed to see what sounds the best. Again, the key is trying to sound natural and not forced or gimmicky.

5. Test and modify

Every mailing list is different and will respond in different ways to tone of voice, word choice and length. Do periodic checks to see what’s working for your list and don’t be afraid to change tactics till you find what works for you.   Find out more about our email marketing platform and testing and reporting capabilities