Q: Are subject lines in emails really all that important?

Steve Harvey's floating head. He looks worried as he tries to answer emails on his laptop.

A: Yes! Absolutely!

Here are some stats to prove it:

  • Almost 50% of email recipients will decide if your email is worth opening based on the subject line alone.

  • Almost 70% will send it immediately to spam if the subject line looks too spammy.

Effective subject lines can make a difference!

Key Questions & Strategies

A man says,

When sending an email, keep in mind the recipient:

  • Who will read this email? Customer, coworker, stranger, etc.

  • Why are you sending this email? To share information? Or is action needed?

  • Do you need an urgent response? If yes, be clear.

  • Does the email seem like spam? Sales emails, unknown senders, not personal, etc.

According to some proven email marketing techniques:

  • Simple and short is best. You need to catch your recipient's attention in 7 seconds or less, so keep the subject between 35 and 50 characters.

And if you're actually sending a marketing email:

  • Questions can capture attention. Ask a question that addresses the recipient's needs: "Looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift?"

  • Explain what's in it for the recipient. Make the recipient aware of the benefits they can get from opening the email: "15% Off All Skateboards!"

Example 1: Work Email

A woman says,

Response Needed by 4 pm — Budget Approval

Sender: an accountant to their client

Why is it effective?

  • Highlights action needed from the recipient

  • References the related project

  • Includes a sense of urgency

Example 2: Job Application

An email job application being sent.

Account Coordinator — Swiftshoes Ltd. — Ref # 34573 — Fatima Knight

Sender: job applicant to a recuiter

Why is it effective?

  • Clear and to the point

  • Makes it easy for the recipient to identify you

  • Includes requested information

Example 3: Marketing Email

A woman wearing glasses taps her watch.

🤓 Remember to renew your prescription? 2 weeks left!

Sender: an eyewear company to a customer with an expiring prescription

Why is it effective?

  • Directly relevant to the recipient's needs

  • Has an urgent but helpful and conversational tone

Take Action

An old woman in a restaurant says,

It is easy for your emails to be ignored, skimmed, lost, or accidentally deleted.

If you want don't want the recipient to treat our email like spam, remember to:


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