5 Ways to Make Your Subject Lines Stand Out

5 Ways to Make Your Subject Lines Stand Out

Have you ever struggled with low email open rates? Or wondered how you can entice your audience to view your email?

As a copywriter, I often see questions like these. Customer inboxes are cluttered, which can make standing out a challenge. The key is to improve your content writing at the very first step; your subject lines.

Follow along as I share my top 5 tips for making your subject lines stand out in a crowded inbox.

1. Keep Your Subject Lines Concise

Long subject lines run the risk of being truncated, especially on mobile devices. Keep your subject lines short and sweet for strong readability. Mailchimp recommends using no more than 9 words, or 60 characters.

Tone of voice is equally important when writing your subject line. An active voice and the use of action verbs are more likely to grab your customers' attention.

Check out these two subject lines from Crunchyroll, an anime streaming platform.
Which email are you more likely to open?

Subject lines from two Crunchyroll emails
Subject lines from two Crunchyroll emails

The first email is short and uses action verbs, which is more appealing and helps it stand out.

2. Pique Curiosity

Another great way to capture attention is by piquing your audience's interest. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Use curiosity power words
  3. Be (a little) controversial
  4. Use the Information-Gap Theory (leave just enough information out)

Can you find an example of each below?

Curiosity subject lines from Raskol Apparel
Curiosity subject lines from Raskol Apparel

3. Make It Fun

Use popular emojis like the read heart or fire emoji to spice up your subject line.

You can also use emojis that represent your brand or email topic. At <imajery>, we love the reading glasses emoji and the checkmark emoji since it conveys our love for learning. No matter what emoji you choose, your subject line will stand out visually! Just make sure not to overdo it.

What are some other ways to spruce up your content writing?

  1. Use puns
  2. Make it rhyme
  3. Play on popular culture

A great example of this is David’s Tea. With their use of puns, emojis, pop culture references, and rhyming (sort of), they appear friendly and more trustworthy.

Subject lines from David's Tea
Subject lines from David's Tea

4. Use Urgency

Pairing your promotions with urgency can give your customers the push they need to open your email. Using phrasing such as “don’t wait” and “hurry” can be extremely effective in increasing your email’s open rate. Use it sparingly though, it can come across as spammy when used too frequently.

Uber One sent an initial promotional email that didn't capture my attention, but their follow-up email leveraged FOMO (fear of missing out), making the discount more appealing.

Promotional subject lines from Uber One emails
Promotional subject lines from Uber One emails

5. Test, Test, and Retest

Every brand and customer audience is different. You'll have to build your own best practices based on your emails' unique performance.

A/B testing is a great way to do this. Test slightly different versions of a single email and monitor how the changes impact your results.

By running a subject line A/B test, you can discover what type of subject lines work best with your audience.

Now it's your turn! Implement these 5 tips to take your subject lines to the next level. You'll thank me later when your open rate increases. 

Follow @imajeryinc on Instagram for more digital marketing agency tips & tricks, or read our other blog posts.


Nina Surugue
Creative Brand Lead

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