Crafting A Strong Subject Line

Crafting A Strong Subject Line
Easy steps to increase open rates and engagement by Katie Chuckran and Sarah Cochrane

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This year, the interns at Digital Additive had the opportunity to write a blog post about a freely chosen topic. A little bit about the two authors, Katie Chuckran is a senior at Georgia Tech getting her degree in Business Administrations. Sarah Cochrane graduated this spring from Georgia College & State University with a BA in Marketing. Both interns take a dive into just how important an email subject line is and how to make yours better.

Easy steps to increase open rates and engagement

Everyone knows what a subject line is. We receive them everyday, sometimes hundreds of times a day for those with a chronically full email inbox. As recipients, we rarely think twice about them despite their ability to impact our behavior. However, to a company or agency, subject lines play a crucial role in driving revenue and impacting open rates. 

The content of the subject line is the deciding factor of whether we open the email or not. Too vague? We won’t understand what the message of the email is about. Too long? You’ve lost our interest. Creating the right subject line for your email may seem daunting but with practice and a couple of tips, you’ll be on the right path to increasing user engagement with your emails. 

Tips to improve your subject line: 

Keep it short and sweet

Most audiences don’t have the time or desire to read a long subject line. They like to know what the email is about with minimal effort, so aim to for the word count to be around 5-10 words long. Walker Sands goes into detail about how subject lines with 50 characters or less have 12% higher open rates and 75% higher click-through rates than emails with more characters. 

Personalize the content 

Open rates can increase dramatically when the subject line is personalized according to MarketTailor. They are better at capturing the customer’s attention and foster a more familiar and genuine interaction as opposed to something generic. Customers enjoy when they feel as though the company notices them specifically. This can be as simple as placing the customer’s name dynamically into the subject line.

Include incentives to open the email 

Depending on the purpose of your email, whether it be for a campaign or for urgent information that you want a customer to see, including incentives will improve your email’s open rate. Incentives may include mentioning a limited time discount code in the subject line or including free shipping for opening the email. A study mentioned in Moengage states that at least 80% of survey respondents claimed that they would buy from a new brand if they received an offer or a discount code in the email. So, if you can find unique ways to incentivize opening your email, you may just experience a boost in not only customer engagement, but also revenue. 

Be interactive

So many stories include cliffhangers that lead viewers to want more, and subject lines can do the same. Moengage explains that interactive content can see 70% higher conversion rates. You want customers to feel curious and open the email to see what it’s really about. This is especially good for incentive-related subject lines such as “You won’t believe this limited time deal!” It prompts customers to want to figure out what the deal is for and if they want to take advantage of it.


Nobody likes it when they’re being yelled at, and sometimes completely capitalized subject lines imitate that same feeling. Depending on the context of your email, you may want to evaluate whether using complete capitalization is necessary or if it can be used in bits for the emphasis or urgency you’re trying to convey.

There is no “one-size fits all” structure for subject lines, and it’s ultimately up to you to figure out what works for you! These tips are merely a guide, but keeping some of them in mind may impact your open rates for the better. Testing different subject lines helps show what your customers respond to best. All in all though, our biggest tip would have to be to never underestimate the importance of a subject line. 

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Drop us a line and let’s start a conversation