How to Write a Subject Line for An Email: Mastering the Art of Email Subject Lines

How to Write an Effective Email Subject Line


In a world where inboxes are overflowing, a compelling email subject line can distinguish between an email that gets read and one that gets banished from the digital abyss.

But how do you write a subject line that grabs attention, piques curiosity, and inspires action?

The power of effective communication lies at the fingertips of an email subject line.

Whether you’re a seasoned email marketer or just getting started, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to craft subject lines that get results.

Ready to unlock the secrets of email subject line mastery? Let’s dive in!


What is the Subject Line in an Email?

Think of the subject line as your email’s first impression, its headline, and its elevator pitch. It’s those precious few words that appear in bold in a recipient’s inbox, vying for attention among a sea of other messages.

It is the gatekeeper of your email. An email subject line determines whether your email gets opened or deleted without a second glance.

In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.


What Makes a Good Email Subject Line?

The best subject lines strike a delicate balance between creativity and clarity. They need to be both enticing and informative, piquing interest while also accurately conveying the email’s content.


In email subject lines, clarity reigns supreme. Clearly states the email’s purpose or value proposition.  Your recipient should instantly grasp the purpose of your email without diving into the content. Avoid vague language and opt for straightforward, concise wording.


Create a sense of urgency, immediacy, or importance to propel your recipients into action. Limited-time offers, deadlines, or exclusive deals can instill a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that motivates swift action.


Tickle the curiosity bone. Pose a question or provide a snippet of information that leaves your recipients eager to discover more within the email. Spark interest and make recipients want to learn more.


Everyone loves a good deal. Highlight valuable discounts, promotions, or exclusive content. It’s a potent way to grab attention and entice your audience. Make sure to provide a clear benefit for opening the email.


A personalized touch makes your email stand out in the crowded inbox. Include the recipient’s name or tailor the subject line to reflect their preferences or past interactions. Shows that the email is relevant and not just mass-produced.


While brevity is key, striking the right balance is crucial. Keep it short enough to be impactful but long enough to convey the essence of your message.

An ideal email subject line should be under 50 characters. Ensure the entire subject line is visible in most inboxes.


Email Subject Line Best Practices

Keep it Short

Emails can induce stress, and their length is a big part of this. Once the email or subject line hits a certain point, people stop reading.

It’s why TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) was invented. People want the short and sweet version of just about everything in life.

Aim for succinct subject lines that pack a punch. Go for 50 characters or less to avoid truncation in most inboxes. Get straight to the point and avoid unnecessary fluff.

Don’t Use Spammy Words

The quickest way to have people ignore or unsubscribe from your email list is to spam them repeatedly. The language and punctuation you use will be a significant part of this.

Steer clear of words that trigger spam filters, such as “free,” “guarantee,” and “urgent.” Maintain authenticity and avoid sensational or misleading language. Use natural language that sounds like a real person wrote it.

Ask Questions

Questions can pique curiosity and encourage recipients to open the email to find the answer. Engage your recipients by posing questions that pique their interest. Encourage interaction and create a dialogue.


  • Need a vacation? Our summer deals are here!”
  • How can you grow your YouTube Channel?
  • How can you save $1,000 each month?
  • How can you learn to code in 1 week?

Include a Date or Deadline

There are individuals with hundreds of thousands of unread emails in their inboxes. Highlighting a time-sensitive element adds urgency, prompting recipients to act. Creating a sense of urgency can prompt recipients to take action.

Example: “Last chance to save 20% on winter gear!”

Hook Your Recipient

Email marketing relies on the ability to hook your recipient in. Craft subject lines that serve as hooks, grabbing attention from the first word and pulling the recipient in.

No one loves commercials, but everyone loves a movie trailer. Why? Because it doesn’t directly sell you anything. Use a strong opening phrase that makes them want to read more.

Example: “Your dream kitchen is just a click away!”

Don’t Make False Promises

Trust is paramount. Ensure your subject line aligns with the content of the email to build credibility. Always be honest in your subject lines. Avoid misleading or clickbait-style tactics that could damage trust.

Do Tell Them What’s Inside

Be transparent about your email’s content. Set expectations to build trust and enhance open rates. Give recipients a clear idea of what they’ll find in the email.

Example: “New blog post: 5 tips for mastering email marketing.”

Use Concise Language

Avoid unnecessary fluff. Use clear and concise language to convey your message effectively. Choose powerful verbs and avoid unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Remember, Every word counts, so make them count!

Make People Feel Special

Personalization can go a long way in making recipients feel valued. Create a sense of exclusivity or personalized value to make recipients feel special and appreciated.

Example: “John, your exclusive discount is waiting!”

Create a Sense of Importance

Highlight the significance of your email, making recipients feel that opening it is a priority. Use words that convey significance or urgency, such as “important,” “breaking,” or “alert.”

Example: “Important update regarding your account.”

Use Numbers

Numerals stand out and add a quantifiable element to your subject line, making it more appealing. Numbers can grab attention and make your subject line stand out in a crowded inbox.

Example: “5 hacks to boost your open rates by 20%”


Avoid the virtual shouting. Capitalizing entire subject lines can be off-putting and may trigger spam filters. Shouting in your subject line comes across as aggressive and unprofessional. All caps can appear aggressive and might get flagged as spam. Use normal case for a professional and approachable tone.

Don’t Overuse Exclamation Points!!!!!

Exclamation points are like spice – use them sparingly and strategically. Overuse can dilute their impact. Too many can look unprofessional and spammy.


How to Write Good Email Subject Lines

Now that we’ve established the essential qualities and best practices, let’s dive into the practical steps of crafting a winning subject line:

Identify the Purpose of the Email

What do you want the recipient to do with this email? Click a link, reply, or visit your website? Clarify the primary objective of your email to align your subject line with its content.

Add Call to Action

Don’t just tell them what’s inside, tell them what you want them to do next. Prompt recipients to act by incorporating a compelling call-to-action in your subject line. Use actionable verbs like “click,” “download,” “learn,” or “shop.”

Make it Relevant

Ensure your subject line is directly relevant to the content within the email. Tailor your subject line to your target audience and their specific interests. Consider what would resonate with them and make them want to open your email.

Draft  Subject Lines

Don’t settle for the first idea that comes to mind. Brainstorm a few options and choose the one that resonates most. Experiment with different options to find the most effective and resonant subject line for your audience.

Align With Email Content

Maintain consistency between your subject line and the content within the email to avoid disappointment. Don’t mislead your recipients or create false expectations.

Get Feedback

Test your subject lines with a small group and gather feedback to refine your approach. Ask friends, colleagues, or family members for their opinions on your subject lines.

Test Your Subject Line

Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your audience. Perform A/B testing to evaluate the effectiveness of different subject lines and optimize for success.



Crafting a captivating email subject line is both an art and a science. By understanding the key principles and following these practical tips, you can transform your emails from inbox orphans into attention-grabbing magnets. Remember, your subject line is your first impression of your email marketing campaign, so make it count!

Now, go forth and conquer those inboxes!