Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach out to your target audience and existing customer base, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The difference between winning emails lies not only in the content but also the subject line. The subject line is typically your only chance to make a good first impression, so how can you improve email open rates with better subject lines?

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Many businesses fall into a trap when reading lists about the best subject lines. It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for subject lines that boost email open rates. The best subject lines for you will depend on your target audience, your brand persona, your business and other factors.

The Best Subject Lines for Great Email Open Rates

  1. Keep It Simple: One study found that simple, descriptive subject lines perform better than creative subject lines. This is most accurate when sending notification emails, like those confirming an order or event RSVP.
  2. Humor: If you know your audience well, a funny subject line that directly connects with them can perform wonderfully and improve their perception of your brand. These work the best for blog updates, newsletters and other informational but lighthearted emails.
  3. Personalize It: Merge tags can allow you to personalize subject lines, which almost always increases email open rates. Be careful when using merge tags, as sending an email subject line with <Insert Name Here> can damage customer relationships.
  4. Short and Sweet: Particularly if most of your audience members read their emails on a mobile device, shorter subject lines perform the best. Nine words and 60 characters are the two benchmarks to keep in mind if you want to appeal specifically to mobile viewers.
  5. Avoid Excess Punctuation: Along with keeping things short, it’s a good idea to only use one to three punctuation marks in your subject line. Excessive punctuation and emojis can make email filters interpret your email as spam. Email open rates will have a steep decline if your email goes straight to the spam folder!

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