An Expert’s Guide To The Perfect Email Subject Line


Most people write countless emails each day and rarely consider what they’ll use as their subject line. All too often, it’s an afterthought after composing the message and remembering the add the recipient’s email address.

Yet, if you’re running a business, that could be a major error. The email subject line can determine whether or not the recipient will respond to your email, and could even determine whether it’s even opened in the first place. 

More people than ever before are living increasingly busy lives. They receive countless emails every day and they simply don’t have time to open every single one. Scanning the subject line gives the recipient an idea about whether your message is worth reading. If it doesn’t immediately grab their attention, the message will almost certainly be overlooked or even deleted. So, how can you avoid your important communication ending up in the trash?

This expert guide will help you create the perfect email subject line to ensure your messages are read and responded to.

Make Your Subject Line Your Top Priority

Before we even consider how to create the perfect email subject line, make sure that you actually create one. A surprising number of people forget to even write one! Emails with no subject line are likely to be ignored and overlooked in cluttered inboxes. Writing the subject line first makes sure you don’t forget. Make this your habit every time you compose a message. It’s a simple step to take but it could make a big difference.

Keep It Brief

Catchy email subject lines are key. The average inbox will only reveal around 60 characters of the subject line. On a cell phone, even fewer characters are visible – around 25 or 30. That means you need to keep your subject line brief – around 6-8 words. A long and wordy subject line is much more likely to be overlooked by recipients. It also won’t get the message across in a punchy and engaging way. Catching the attention of the reader straight away will make them more likely to read your message.

Place Your Words Properly

Keep the important words right at the start of the subject line. As we’ve just said, only a few characters are visible in the average inbox and only around 30 characters on a smartphone. When you bear in mind that around half of all emails these days are read on smartphones, it couldn’t be more important to consider your word placement. With a limited number of characters visible on small screens, you need to put key information first, otherwise compelling information could end up being cut off.

Forget Fillers

With limited space available, avoid unnecessary words such as “hello” and “thanks”. You can include them in the body of the email. While it may appear that you’re being friendly and courteous to your valued customers, they will get the message just as well if you get straight to the point. There’s plenty of room for pleasantries once they’ve opened your email and begun reading.

Get To The Point

Always be specific and clear about the email’s topic. Its subject line must communicate precisely what your email is going to be about. That allows the recipient to prioritize its importance with no need to actually open it. Marketing emails, for example, should have a subject line focused around a single action. Waffle leads to confusion and confusion leads to your email being overlooked. The more vague your subject line is, the less likely the recipient is to read it. They need to be convinced of the benefits of reading your email from the first moment they see it in their inbox.

Use Searchable Words

A lot of professionals have folders and files set up for managing their emails. That means they’re unlikely to focus on individual messages when they first arrive. You should, therefore, include keywords relating to the message’s topic so it can easily be searched for later. This will make it much more likely that your email will be opened and read at some point. 

Proofread Every Time

Make sure that you always go back and reread your subject line before sending the email. Copy-and-paste mistakes are common, and often if a similar message is being sent out to several people it’s easy to accidentally put the wrong title or name in the subject line. Create the right impression by proofreading for errors before you click on send. It looks very unprofessional to send out messages that contain poor grammar, spelling mistakes or customer information for a different person to the recipient.

Don’t Use All Capitals

While using capitals may get the reader’s attention, it’s not an appropriate way to draw their eye. Capitals are a digital version of yelling. It’s your job to make your emails easy to read, not make the recipient anxious. You can capture attention more subtly by using colons or dashes.

Follow these tips and you should find it easier to create an email subject line that encourages recipients to open your message and respond in the way you want.