Email Subject Lines Best Practices


  • Subject line tips to ensure your email campaign gets noticed and improves open rates
  • Localization
  • Subject Line length
  • Symbols and punctuation
  • Filter words
  • A/B Testing

Marketers, Designers and web coders alike place great emphasis, time and effort into designing email campaigns that engage and communicate to a desired audience. However, this is all futile if the email doesn’t get past the inbox.

In order for an email campaign to be successful and attain a higher open rate a greater emphasis needs to be placed on crafting attention grabbing and alluring email subject lines to ensure your html email broadcast doesn’t end up in the trash folder.

Below. we have compiled our top email subject lines tips to ensure your email campaign gets noticed and improves open rates.


Research suggests including a city name also improves open rates – LivingSocial and Groupon are good at this, sending emails with subject lines promoting location based offers and services. The use of location helps to capture attention and creates a connection for recipients in targeted geographical areas.

Use Different Subject Lines

It’s recommend to keep your content fresh, and don’t repeat the same subject line for each campaign. If subscribers can’t tell something about the campaign from the subject line, they probably won’t open the email.

Keep Subject Lines Short

As with reading web pages online, most people quickly scan subject lines to decide if they’ll open or ignore the email. It’s recommended keeping your subject line to 50-60 characters or fewer.

Include a question or call to action

Sometimes, it’s helpful to clearly prompt readers what their next step should be with a Call to Action. Otherwise, their eyes will just skim right over your subject line without understanding that an action is required on their part. Even a simple “Go!” can serve as a motivating call to action. Alternatively using subject lines as a question can help increase open rates and engagement.

Symbol and punctuation

Question marks and unusual punctuation offer another method for standing out from the email masses.

Exclamation marks can be useful, but are so over-used in subject lines that they don’t tend to be very powerful. Instead, we can use eye attention grabbing symbols or loud punctuation to attract – Expedia do this well on their digital email campaigns with icons such as planes and globes.


Converting your subject line to caps WILL NOT HELP YOU. Caps are powerful, but not to be trifled with. Users are more savvy nowadays and shouting with your subject lines can have an adverse effect – its advised to use them sparingly and responsibly.

Eliminate filler words

Its vital with such limited character space at your disposal to not waste it with unnecessary words like “hello,” “nice to meet you,” and “thanks,” which can easily be included in the email’s body.

A/B testing

To gain a better understanding of performance of the campaign you could test your subject lines. A/B test your subject lines to see which performs better. If your list has 3,000 people on it send 500 people an email with subject A, and 500 people the same email with subject B. If one of them has more clicks, use that subject line when sending to the remaining 2,000 people on your list.

Do you need help with improving performance of your email campaigns?

If so, contact the team at Hijack Creative to discover how we can help your business.