Email Marketing Subject Lines: Positive Trends

The inbox can be an intimidating place with a ton of other emails jostling for your subscribers' limited attention. So, it is crucial that you make your emails stand out and a great place to start is your subject line. So, what works best to stand out and get your email opened?

The inbox can be an intimidating place with a ton of other emails jostling for your subscribers' limited attention. So, it is crucial that you make your emails stand out and a great place to start is your subject line. So, what works best to get your email opened?

Short Titles

Subject lines are essentially the first thing your audience sees when you send an email. While they need to be intriguing and interesting, it is also important to keep them short. When creating your subject line, think fast, descriptive, and minimal. This approach is the most applicable to notification emails and for mobile users. Titles less than 25 characters are considered short. The average mobile Mail User Agent (MUA) limit in 53 characters. Those that are short will show a lot of space, but the data supports that as not bad. Our research shows that these short titles have a 21.32% open rate, which is 0.64 points higher than the overall average norm. Shorter subject lines will not only increase open rates but will allow your audience to connect right away with the email you are sending. 


With all the love for emoji's, how could we exclude this from our trends list? Hate them or love them; not all emails and subjects call for an emoji; however, your industry shouldn't dictate whether emojis can work for your emails. You have an extensive range of emojis to choose from: calculators, numbers, money clips, stop signs, and many more. But, don't overdo the emojis. Cases that used only one emoji had an average open rate of 19.39%. Just 1.29% shy of the overall norm. Those with two or more Emojis perform poorly, with more than 50% of their clicks falling under a 1% click-through rate. Not only do emails with more than one emoji in their subject and preview line perform poorly, but it also clutters the inbox, and your message does not come across clear and direct. 

Preview Line

The preview line, also known as the Johnson Box, is usually found next to the subject line and is a summary text that tips you off on the email's contents before you open it. It intends to draw the reader's attention and entice them to read the rest of the email. So pick an intriguing sentence to use to get your customer wanting more. Just remember that the amount of text varies, but more than 55% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so try to always keep it within the mobile limitations for good results. 

Email Marketing Subject Lines
Email Marketing Preview Line

Well Received Words / Phrases 

When writing your subject and preview lines, it is good to note that not all words and phrases are good. Some words can trigger a spam warning such as free, click here, and bonus. However, some words and phrases can help increase your open rate, such as the word you, invitation, and introducing. While these words can assist, you will not see your open rate go up exponentially just by stringing words together. There are no shortcuts to the perfect subject line, but there are a few tips to help. One thing to be aware of is creating a sense of urgency and excitement:

  • The fear of missing out on an item 
  • The impression that something is unique
  • Deadlines for promos or to buy something
  • A sense of new information that is not well-known or available to the general public
  • A solution to a problem

Structuring your subject and preview lines with urgency phrasing will create meaning, demand, and value. You can also personalize your wording. Personalization goes way past a name. You can use: 

  • Birthdays and anniversaries
  • Recent interactions with your site
  • Location
  • Interests

This will signal relevance to your emails and give your recipient more reason to open your email and click through to your product, site, etc. 

Doing just one of the above trends will not make your subject line better or stand out. You should combine all trends to help you reach your audience's eyes. Keeping it short, offering a preview to the email, adding personalization, and being playful, will allow you to compete with all the emails in your consumer's inbox and give you better results. 

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