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33% open an email based on the subject line alone

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Think email is a thing of the past? Think again. According to Hubspot Research, in 2020 there were 3.9 billion daily email users and this is set to grow to 4.3 billion in 2023.

Ultimately, you want to be thinking about how your subject line connects to what your reader wants, or something they’ve done in a clear and concise manner. How can your subject line tease your email content, without giving everything away? When you factor in generation segmentation, for example, ensure you adjust your subject line and content to your niche/segment. MatchCraft highlights that Xennials and Gen Xers, who are more comfortable with mobile-first communications, prefer email. And 1/3 of baby boomers and 1/5 of Gen Zers prefer email.

Top tips to improve your open rates

  • Take time to craft a subject line that matters

  • Grab attention, talk to your niche, give enough to entice/compel to open

  • State any announcements as clearly as you can

  • Evaluate your subject line by excitement, urgency, and promise

  • Align it with your preheader

  • Avoid negative language or anything overly sensational (i.e. lose, avoid, cancel, bad, “make money fast”, “you won”)

  • Limit the use of exclamation marks to one instance - ideally, your sentence should be impactful enough without one. You are unlikely to see charities using them in mainstream advertising

  • Subject lines are limited — so you’ve got to capture the purpose of your email in the first five words of the subject line

  • Target a subject line under 50 characters (Mailchimp recommends under nine words)

Using a mail client like Mailchimp can give you great advice whilst crafting your message:

Think relevance and curiosity.

5 ways to make people curious

  1. Use questions

  2. Add unfinished stories

  3. Use the unexpected

  4. Imply you have the information they don’t

  5. Imply they have the information they’ve forgotten

And don't forget about the preheader/preview text. We've got a complementary blog post to help continue the effectiveness of your emails:

SOURCE: XKCD's comic, "Headlines"

Check out our full masterclass on email marketing:


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