How to write a great subject line

How to write a great subject line

How to Write a Great Subject Line for an Email

Let’s imagine for a moment that this is not a blog you’re reading, but an email. What subject line might I use to get you to read this specific piece of content?

One option I would consider is:

Subscriber, can I get you to open this email?”


So what works about this?

While it is potentially a little in-your-face (and it certainly won’t work every time), there are a few psychological tricks involved here that work very well in order to get someone to click.

The problem is that most of us are simply inundated with emails and that makes standing out incredibly difficult. If you want your emails to actually get read, you need to think hard about using the right subject line.


Here are some things you need to think about…

First of all, notice that my subject line was short. This is very important because most email clients will truncate any subject heading that is longer than 50 characters. This can result in your headings making very little sense and is a surefire way to get relegated to the recycle bin.

Another thin you might notice is that I used lower case and there was no marketing talk in there. I didn’t say ‘Click Here for This Great Deal!’ because that looks like spam/marketing and very few people are interested in that. Those are the kinds of messages that end up in the spam bin or not getting opened at all. By using lower case, I ensured my subject would look a lot more natural and as though it was written by a human.

Another key point? I used your name. That probably got you to look as well and is what is known by psychologists as the ‘cocktail effect’.

I used a little bit of curiosity to get you in here though, which is somewhat cheating. What I actually recommend more of the time is that you simply think of your emails as blog posts and then try to use the subject line as you would do a title – make sure that it sells the subject matter of your email while making it sound interesting and engaging.

The question mark helps with this, but it also has the added bonus of getting you to reflect on what you’ve read. Using questions means that a person will engage at least a little with what they’re reading, which in turn helps to encourage open rates and click throughs!

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