Copywriters will tell you that one of the most important elements of an email is the subject line. It is one of the prime elements that capture a recipient’s attention, gives them a first impression and determines whether they will read your email or not. 
Your subject line is the headline of your email, informing your reader about the content of your email. They need to convey your USP, inform your reader of the benefits of the email and build trust. Whether you are looking to convert a lead into a client or are aiming to attract a consumer or emailing a business contact, colleague or supplier, you need to focus on composing the most compelling, attention-grabbing subject line to hook your reader, so they open your email. 
According to marketers, 47% claim they test different subject lines in order to get the optimum opening rate, so why not test yours? Here are some top tips from our marketing experts at Leading Motion on strategies for writing subject lines that convert. 

1 Consider the aim of your email 

Before brainstorming variations of your subject line, you need to determine the purpose of the email and what you are aiming to achieve. 

2 Entice your recipient 

Evoke curiosity by determining what is the most likely subject line to urge your reader to click to read more. Do you want to include “A free resource”? “A special offer”? “Some important information”? Your choice of words will attract or repel your audience. 

3 Create some urgency 

Your call to action needs to be alluring so that your recipients are tempted to follow through quickly. People hate missing out on an offer and if they are given a small window to act, they are likely to do so. Never forget the importance of having a strong call-to-action 

3 Draft variations of your subject line 

Try out a few different subject lines to see which you think will best achieve your intention. Reread your final choice a few times. 

4 Keep it short 

Use fewer than 50 characters in your subject line to ensure your email gets read. Remember that an estimated 46% of emails are now opened on mobile devices and the subject line often gets cut off. 

5 Place information first 

As you don’t know how much of the subject line your recipient will be able to read on their smartphone, ensure you write the important information at the beginning. 

6 Get to the point 

Avoid using unnecessary words like “lovely to meet you” or “thanks for opening”, as they use up precious characters and can be included in the body of the text. 
7 Use a familiar sender name 
Your recipient is likely to feel less intimidated about opening the email if they recognise your sender name. 

8 Never use the “no-reply” sender name 

You don’t want your email going into spam, do you? Use a human sender name, rather than just a company name, as experts say these perform better. 

9 Use the recipient’s name or location where possible 

Grab your reader’s attention and personalise your subject line by including their name or location. According to experts writing the first name of the reader in the subject line evokes an emotional response and has been proven to have a higher click through rate. 
10 Tell the recipient what they are getting 
If you want to encourage your recipient to open an email where they have downloaded something, it’s important to tell them to “click to read your e-book” or “your voucher is inside”. 

11 Include keywords related to the topic 

Nowadays professionals have folders to filter out important emails and those relevant to their industry. Using keywords will also help the recipient to find your email in a search. 
12 Tell your recipient if you need a response 
You are likely to increase your odds of getting a response from your recipient if you give them a deadline or write “please reply” or “your response is awaited”. 
13 Don’t write all capital letters 
In our digital word, using all capitals in a subject line is considered to be the equivalent of yelling. Instead use colons and dashes. 

14 Limit punctuation 

Mailchimp’s research has shown that it is best to use “no more than 3 punctuation marks per subject line.” (link to: This will help to avoid it being treated like spam. 

15 Carefully consider emojis 

Experts have different views on whether to include emojis in subject lines. Emojis can have an impact as they can be used for emphasis, especially at the end of a subject line. 
However, other marketers have found the open rate declines with the use of emojis and excessive use of them can make your email look like spam. Spam filters are getting more picky too, so think carefully before using emojis. 

16 Consider the demographic of your recipient 

It’s critical to write your subject line with your recipient in mind, as different audiences will respond according to the style and language you use. One reader might open an email that another will automatically put in junk. 

17 Don’t be afraid to be controversial 

Be authentic and honour your brand’s culture. You may ruffle a few feathers, but it will help to conjure curiosity, so they open your email, as desired. If you need any more advice on writing subject lines for your emails, get in touch. 
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