How many emails do you get a week that you don’t even bother to open? Spam, newsletters, passive aggressive one word emails that could have been left unsent. An inbox graveyard. Did you know there are over 100 BILLION emails sent everyday?


When you really think about it, what is it that ensures that you open an email? Even if you don't realise it, the subject line can often be the deciding factor. The reality is that often, this tiny one liner is the difference between your email being opened or being directly sent to the trash.

A good thing to investigate before you embark on a subject line refresh mission, is to look into your open rates. If you’re sending out email blasts, newsletters, or just marketing material - your CRM of choice should have a handy place to view what your open rate percentage is.

Basically you take number of emails sent and look at emails actually opened, and it gives you a total open rate percentage. It’s up to you what you decide is an acceptable percentage but let’s be frank, you want that percentage to be as close to 100% as you can get.

There are a multitude of things to work on to grab that elusive 100% rate but a massive one is the subject line. We’re going over our best tips to master the art of the subject.

Back away from the clickbait


The worst thing you can do is to fall to the appeal of clickbait. We all know it, ‘Click here to find out how I made my millions!’ or ‘You won’t believe what this company did to change their business’ - practically speaking, it’s a bit of a cop out. You shouldn’t need to trick people into reading your work because your work should speak for itself!

Don’t mask what you’re sending with gimmicks because it will reduce your credibility as a reliable source of information. There are so many ways you can explain what your article or newsletter is about, without giving the whole thing away.

A good thing to bear in mind is that as people become swamped by clickbaity text online, more people are resorting to using filters to reduce the likelihood of spam in their inbox. If you do tend to resort to clickbait titles (even unintentionally), the chances of your emails even appearing in their inbox reduces significantly.

Bad plan: "You won't BELIEVE these sales tips really work!"
Good plan: "Dive into Showcase's favourite sales tips - that actually work"

Dryer than Polly's Cracker

We've just covered clickbait, but if you're trying hard to stay away from the spam tendancies, sometimes we can swing too far in the other direction - and things get extremely dusty.

Sending regular work correspondance doesn't need to be flashy or interesting, it just needs to get the point and we're not here to change that! John from accounts just wants to know what invoice you sent him, because he's on a deadline alright!

But if you're sending marketing content, newsletters, and cold emails, you can easily ensure that you get attention and a higher open rate by making your subject line both casual and informative.

Bad plan: "Showcase Workshop newsletter."
Good plan: "Bringing the good news - it's your Showcase Workshop newsletter!"

Yelling into the void


The most important point to keep in mind when you’re writing an email and planning the subject line is simply - who are you talking to? What do you want them to take away from this email?

Are you trying to get new sign ups or leads? Shilling a brand new promo? Or just a newsletter blast to your usual folks (your subscribers)?

Your email needs to have value and making sure you're clear about your target audience will ensure you get that.

For example, if you're offering a promo code or free trial - your subject line should make that obvious, it's the most important part of the email!

Bad plan: "Open this email for a surpise"
Good plan" "20% off sign ups! The best deal you'll see all day."

Long form isn't the way to go

Email subject lines will get cut off if they're too long, especially on mobile devices (which actually outwiegh the amount of emails opened on a computer, did you know?).

Best practice is to keep your subject line within 50 characters to make sure that your subject line doesn't get cut. Nothing worse than an unfinished...

Make use of Preview

Preview text isn't technically part of your subject line, it does appear right beside the subject line - and it's something that a lot of people forget about.

Preview text provides your recipient with a peek at the content inside your email, which email clients like the iPhone Mail app, Gmail, and Outlook will display beside the subject line. (The exact amount of text shown can differ depending on clients).

Check whether your CRM lets you custom input your preview text - if so, it doesn't even have to be text that is within the actual email!

If you're using a standard email client to send, this is a great reminder to check that the first line of your email is engaging or at the very least - eye catching.

Now, go forth and email your heart out!