How to Write Clickable Email Subject Line (6 Helpful Tips)

Syed Balkhi

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Email marketing is a widely used strategy that helps brands connect with customers and prospects across industries.

Odds are, you’re subscribed to a few email lists!

When you check your inbox, where do your eyes go first? If you’re like most people, your gaze goes to the subject line of your new emails.

We found that almost 50% of emails are either opened or marked as spam based on the subject of the message. This startling statistic is just one reason why you should strive to write engaging, clickable emails.

If done correctly, headlines can help educate, entertain, and build trust with your audience.

Below, you’ll find six helpful tips that will help you improve the quality of your subject lines, which could easily lead to a surge in email and on-site engagement.

Keep Your Email Subject Lines Short

My first tip today is this; keep your subject lines concise. If you use too many words or characters, subscribers may have difficulty understanding your email’s purpose. There’s a good chance they will ignore it, delete it, or mark it as spam.

On desktop computers, the average character count is around 60. Meanwhile, emails on smartphones perform better when they contain 40 characters or less.

The best solution is to keep all your subjects around 40-50 characters. If you consistently publish longer headlines, you will drive away your mobile audience, which can cause massive problems because 61% of emails are opened on smartphones.

(use preheader text if needed)

If you need to relay more information before a user opens your message, use the preheader text. Use this extra space to state your purpose and convince readers to open your email.

Avoid Spammy Language

Next, let’s talk about the words you use in your email subject lines. If you use the correct language, you can dramatically improve your click-through rate. Consistently using spammy language and practices will result in your emails automatically landing in the spam folder instead of the users’ inbox.

Generally, you should avoid using too many exclamation points and capitalizing entire words or phrases. These two factors can set off the spam detector many email providers use to ensure customers get the emails they want.

When it comes to choosing specific words, there’s a little more flexibility. You can use some of the words listed below but do so sparingly. If you don’t constantly load your email subject lines with spam words and follow other best practices, you shouldn’t worry about your messages getting lost in the void.

Before we move on, let’s look at a few of the most common spam triggers:

  • Free
  • No money down
  • Automatic approval
  • Just for you
  • Get it now

Personalize Emails Based on User Preferences

Personalization can have a massive impact on how people engage with your emails. Our research suggests that personalizing the subject line of your emails can boost open rates by a staggering 26%!

The fantastic thing about personalization is there are many ways to make your emails unique for each user.

I recommend segmenting your audience based on their unique goals, interests, needs, and pain points. You can easily accomplish this task by asking readers to choose their preferences when they sign up for your email list. Use this data to better understand what each person wants to see from your company emails.

If your content and offers resonate with the users, they will click through and read your message. On the other hand, a promotion that doesn’t at all relate to a subscriber’s needs will result in them ignoring your email.

You can segment existing subscribers by sending out bi-quarterly customer questionnaires. The answers will help you personalize your emails and give you some inspiration for your next product or feature.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency in your subject line is a terrific way to boost clicks and engagement. When consumers experience this type of urgency, they experience fear of missing out (FOMO).

FOMO is an influential factor that can turn someone on the fence about your product into a loyal customer.

If you’d like evidence, consider this; around 60% of people say they’ve bought something in the past because of FOMO-inspired marketing. In virtually every case, the person placed an order within 24 hours of seeing the advertisement.

You can use FOMO to promote flash sales, social media events, and new product launches. The key is clearly explaining to subscribers what they stand to gain if they open your email.

Use A/B Testing

A/B testing (AKA split testing) is another way to create more clickable email subject lines.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, A/B testing is the process of changing one element of a page, ad, or in this case, email subject line. The goal is to see if the change sparks interest and leads to more engagement.

You can test your emails in plenty of different ways. Here are a few tests we’ve used throughout the years:

  • Adding emojis to the subject line
  • Sending emails at different times
  • Changing one or two words in the subject

There are plenty of ways to continue testing once you get into the body of your email. But testing your subject line is the proper first step because it leads to more people opening your emails.

Research shows that split testing your emails can improve conversions by as much as 49%!

Study Businesses You Love

Finally, I highly recommend studying emails from businesses you love. Over 56% of people say they feel closely connected to a brand. Odds are, you fall into this category too.

Whenever I’m stumped, I check my personal and work email. I like to see how other brands have attempted to reach me. Specifically, I’m looking for messages that work. If I decided to open an email after reading the subject line, I figured they must be doing something right.

You can use this same strategy to uncover new and exciting email styles and formats. If you follow our last tip and run split tests, you can determine if your hunch was correct.

Final Thoughts

Like many marketing strategies, there’s no clear point where you ‘master’ email subject lines. Trends change as quickly as the needs of your audience. If you hope to write clickable, engaging headlines consistently, you have to be willing to examine internal data, run tests, and talk to your customers.

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Syed Balkhi is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses. 19+ million websites use his software to grow and compete with the big guys. 100+ million people read his blogs every year to grow their website traffic, sales, & conversion

West Palm Beach, FL
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