4 Tips to Get Your Email Subject Lines the Attention They Deserve

By: Emily Klaus | Marketing Associate

Picture this: you’re a small business owner with a new product or service to promote. What’s your channel of choice to get the word out there? Nearly half of you will choose to send an email. However, many of you won’t think twice about your email subject line. With one-third of email recipients saying they choose whether or not to open an email based on the email subject line, why not put a little special effort into choosing your email’s first impression? Here are our top tips for getting the most engagement on your email subject lines.

Use casual language

According to Justin Meaghan’s LinkedIn article, 25% of people will choose to open and read your email if the subject line contains “thanks”, as opposed to just 15% if your subject line contains “thank you”. That’s an incredible difference.

Since most email campaign platforms have an option for A/B testing, do a little experiment and use the same subject line, but replace some of the more formal language with something more casual. Some examples include using “help” instead of assist, “check” in place of “verify”, and “get” instead of “receive”. The results may surprise you and could be the key to getting your subject line and emails more engagement for your small business.

Add some personalization

Who doesn’t love seeing an email come through with your name in the subject line? We all do! We’re selfish creatures by nature, so why would you not capitalize on that? According to a 2014 report, emails with subject line personalization have a higher clickthrough rate than emails that don’t1.

The most obvious way to personalize a subject line is to include the recipient’s first and/or last name. While that is a great option, there are many other ways to spice it up. Try personalizing based on location, gender, age or seasons. These can be great ways to get the recipient’s attention quicker and increase their chances of opening the email.

However, be sure not to overdo the personalization. Too much personal info in a subject line can seem like you’re trying too hard and will deter the recipient from opening the email.

Keep it short and sweet

With nearly 40% of emails being opened on mobile devices1, the chance that a long subject line gets cut off is high. That’s why it’s in your small business’s best interest to keep your email subject lines as concise as possible. Try limiting your character count to just 50. (Hint: the previous sentence had 45 characters, so that should give you an idea of how short the subject line needs to be!). This count includes spaces and punctuation, so your subject line must be absolutely specific and clear as to what the email contains.

What not to do

One of the biggest mistakes a small business makes when crafting subject lines is to put important words in all caps or include an excessive amount of exclamation points. Not only will this not get your message across, but it will deter recipients from opening the email. Just as you wouldn’t like someone screaming in your face, most people do not react well to subject lines that seem aggressive and pushy.

Also be sure that your email subject line does not include words and phrases that are overly promotional or consistently flagged for spam. This includes but is not limited to “free”, “pre-approved”, “buy now”, “click here”, “visit our website”, “you’re a winner”, and more. Hubspot has a great, extensive list of these words and phrases, so click here for more information.

Jet Capital understands that cash flows do not always match up with business needs. If your small business is in need of working capital to launch an email or other marketing campaign, or other initiative to grow your business,  apply online today or call 866-845-9674.


  1. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/improve-your-email-subject-line#sm.000h0neqt18p4cup101aebz466y0l
  2. http://blogs.constantcontact.com/good-email-subject-lines/#
  3. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/improve-your-email-subject-line#sm.00001higgnjcfqe1wvl6v7cff40zp
  4. http://kb.mailchimp.com/campaigns/previews-and-tests/best-practices-for-email-subject-lines
  5. http://www.yesware.com/blog/email-subject-line-analysis/
  6. https://www.yola.com/blog/17-small-business-marketing-statistics-that-will-help-you-succeed-online/

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