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You’ve put time and effort into creating an email you’re sure will interest and intrigue your audience. Now you just need to get them to open it.

The subject line is the gateway to your email content. If your subject line doesn’t quickly grab your reader’s attention and tell them exactly what they’ll find inside your email, you’ll lose out on valuable opens. Here are eight tips for keeping your email subject lines clear and concise.

1. Keep it short and sweet.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep your subject lines to 50 characters or fewer. The key is to use as few characters as possible to get your message across. An analysis of more than 40 million emails found that three to four words is the ideal length for a subject line.

2. Avoid spam triggers.

Avoid obvious spam trigger words like “Free offer,” “Order now,” and “Incredible deal!” Even if these words don’t automatically trigger spam filters, they may decrease your open rates.

These words tend to set off readers’ radars and distract from the more substantive message you want to get across.

3. Stand out.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Used sparingly and cleverly, emojis can stick out from a cluttered inbox and draw attention to your email, while saving on characters. Don’t rely on them to convey your entire message, though, since not all email clients support them.

On the flip side, NO ONE LIKES BEING YELLED AT!!!! so cool it with the caps and exclamation points.

4. Follow rules for clear, concise writing.

Subject lines are like any form of writing, and the same rules for writing clear, concise essays or articles still apply.

Avoid adverbs. Stick to the active voice. Don’t use two words where one will do.

5. Use groups and segmentation.

You can improve your email open rates by segmenting your lists and sending tailored emails only to groups to whom they are most relevant.

This allows you to be smarter and more targeted with your email content and avoid inundating your subscribers’ inboxes with too many messages or cramming too much content into a single email. It also allows you to keep your subject lines concise because you can focus on conveying a single message, rather than many.

6. Personalize.

If you’re keeping with the curve, you’re already using machine learning to personalize email content. (If not, check out Salesforce Einstein to see what you’re missing.) Take personalization a step further and use your data to personalize your subject lines.

Using your recipient’s name can cut through the clutter and make your message more direct and relevant.

7. Keep your email concise.

If the body of your email is concise and direct, it will be simpler to write a concise and direct subject line. Instead of trying to fit multiple, disconnected messages into one email, choose the most important to focus on for both the email and subject line.

If your email strategy calls for multiple messages — a newsletter, for example — make your most important message more prominent in the email body, and draw from that single message or theme to inspire your subject line.

8. Conduct A/B testing.

What works for one brand’s audience won’t necessarily work for another. Whenever you try something new, test it against your status quo to make sure it’s a tactic that will work with your audience.

 

Inspired to learn more about writing email subject lines that get you more opens? Check out email subject line best practices.