Email is a great channel of direct communication with your audience. According to a survey done by Litmus, email marketing has an average ROI of 38:1. It’s not surprising then that people receive lots of emails in their inbox every day. As a matter of fact, your own inbox is probably full too. And you’re not alone. 

The Radicati Group found that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day.

But how do you get someone interested in your email in all that noise? Well, improving your email subject line is one way to cut through the crowd.

Why Focus on Subject Lines? 

When it comes to email marketing, your subject line is your first chance to make an impression. Why do we say that? Well, effective email subject lines can cut through the clutter and capture the attention of your target customers. 

Email subject lines stand out visually too. They are the second most prominent element in the inbox (after the sender’s name). Just like the sender’s name, it stands out. It has a darker and heavier text compared to the body copy of the email, right?

So, your email subject lines lead your prospect to decide whether they will open your email or not. According to Invesp’s statistics, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line.

In fact, the wrong choice of words could even hurt your brand and send your email into the spam folder. 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.

The more times you’re reported as spam, the less deliverable future emails will be. This will negatively affect your return on investment as well. So when sending sales emails, make sure your subject line isn’t foiling your efforts.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Email Subject Lines

We receive a lot of emails from various companies across different industries every day. It surprises us to see businesses pay little to no attention to this integral customer engagement factor.

You see, an email subject line is like a headline. It is your chance to grab your readers’ attention. In fact, advertising legend David Ogilvy gave the utmost importance to his headlines.

When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. – David Ogilvy

Ogilvy meant that your headline does 80% of the work in getting people to take action.

We propose that, when it comes to email marketing, the same holds true for your subject lines.

That is, your subject line does 80% of the work for the entire email.

Here are 7 mistakes you should avoid when writing your next email subject line.

Mistake #1: Tricking Your Audience

As competition for inbox attention increases, companies use inaccurate subject lines to trick their audience into opening their emails. We understand that your prospects have their inbox overloaded with emails and you have to fight for their attention. But is misleading them the answer? 

Absolutely not. In fact, if you use a deceptive subject line, you are hurting your brand. Your email will get deleted or be thrown in spam. Furthermore, it will convince your audience that you are not trustworthy.

Let’s say you run an eCommerce store and send out an email with a subject: Use CODE to Get 30% Off On Everything. But in your email body content, you disclose that it’s only applicable to specific products. Don’t you think your audience would be turned off by this shady tactic?

You see, no one likes to be deceived. If your prospect receives an email that promises one thing and delivers another, they are not going to like it. Yes, you got them to open your email initially, but this tactic just alienated them from you.

If your subscribers lose trust in your emails, they’re likely to ignore future emails and mark you as spam. All this will accomplish is decreased open rates and increased spam rates in the long-run.

Another dishonest tactic that we see is the use of RE: or FW: in the subject lines. This is done to make the reader think that the new email is part of an existing conversation. It’s another deception tactic that will harm your brand. 

Yes, they might get your email opened, but at what cost?

Your email subject lines should clearly convey or hint what the reader can expect from your email. You should make sure to align the content of your email and your subject line. This will build trust and develop a positive relationship between you and your subscribers.

Mistake #2: Keeping it Too Long or Too Short

If an email subject line is too wordy, your audience may not spend the time to read it. In fact, they will consider it spam and ignore it.

Moreover, an extremely lengthy subject line is likely to get cut off by most inboxes. This is especially important as mobile devices have come to the forefront as primary communication devices. 

On the other hand, some subject lines are too short to be of any value. Have you ever noticed a subject line with one word or two words? These subject lines appear generic, unprofessional, and spammy. Email subject lines should strike a balance between being concise and conveying the point. They need to be helpful and relevant to your audience. 

Subject lines between 36-50 characters get the best response rate according to Backlinko’s email outreach study. They analyzed 12 million outreach emails and found at this length you can best describe the content of your message.

Mistake #3: Making Spelling And Grammatical Errors

We receive a bunch of emails every day with a whole host of spelling mistakes and syntax errors. It makes us want to ask the sender if they even care for their subscribers.

Our advice is that a simple check before sending out an email blast will help create a good impression. You see, if your email subject line contains spelling or grammatical errors, it comes across as unprofessional. 

Would you like to read an email where the sender didn’t bother to check for any errors? It comes across as sloppy, right?

All you have to do is run a grammar check that would ensure everything is up to the mark. It doesn’t even take up a lot of time. You can opt for tools like Grammarly that are simple and efficient.

This check should naturally apply to your email copy, as well. Subject lines or email copy with misspelled words and misplaced punctuation will hurt your open rates.

Remember, emails are a chance for you to establish your company as a credible source of information. Spelling, grammatical or syntax errors make a bad impression and undermine the opportunity to establish trust. If you can’t write a decent email, how can they trust you to deliver on your promise? 

Mistake #4: Stuffing Spammy Words And Special Characters

You may know that certain words can activate your recipient’s filter and send your email straight to the spam folder. So, essentially, even if your message is great, your email could end up in spam. In this case, it will never be read by your target audience.

Moreover, you want your subscribers to find your emails credible and serious. Even if your email makes it to their inbox, certain words can still seem spam to your readers. They are likely to just ignore the email. Hence, you have to choose the words of your email subject lines carefully.

The overuse of some symbols and special characters should be avoided for the same reason. You should reserve characters like $, #, @, &, etc. for the email body if you absolutely must use them. If you have to include them in the subject line, use them very sparingly, for best results. 

This will only cause email deliverability issues and harm your sender reputation. Hence, as a best practice, you want to avoid such trigger words and symbols. Here’s an extensive list of spammy words to avoid by HubSpot. For example, you want to avoid phrases like 100% free, cheap, serious cash, cash bonus, amazing stuff and so on. 

Now…we also want to bring your attention to the most interesting of them: Free. Yes, using it typically increases open rates if your email does get delivered. However, overusing this word or combining it with certain phrases could throw your email directly into the junk folder. 

So we suggest using this word in your email subject lines very carefully and sparingly.

Mistake #5: Shouting at Your Subscribers

Have you seen email subject lines that use capital letters to grab attention? That is something you absolutely must avoid if you want your emails to be opened. 

It comes across as shouting and you don’t want to yell at your subscribers to get their attention. If you’re using all capital letters in your subject line, that’s essentially what you’re doing. 

You want your audience’s contact with your company to be a pleasant experience. This all caps strategy could easily be misinterpreted as rude. Moreover, this often triggers spam filters, too. 

Similarly, excessive usage of exclamation marks can end up triggering a negative response to your emails. It can also make an email subject line difficult to read, especially on mobile devices.

However, if you use it sparingly, you could see better open rates than average. Smart Insights’ study found that using exclamation marks sparingly, increased open rates by 10%-20% for 70% of brands. They suggest using it once in a while and only for unique cases such as a special sale.

So, as best practice, use only one exclamation mark in a subject line (if needed). 

Mistake #6: Not Using or Overusing Emojis

If you aren’t using emojis, you may be missing out on some opportunities. 🤓 Mobile Marketer reported on a study that showed 66% higher open rates. Media Post learned that emojis in subject lines increased email open rates by 15%.

Econsultancy’s research found that emojis bumped up open rates 60% of the time. However, 40% of the time, the emoji played a negative role or no role at all. These mixed results might seem confusing. 

So, you have to ask yourself some questions before using emojis in your email subject lines. Ultimately, it all depends on your brand and your audience.

You have to consider 3 things:

  • Will your audience respond well to emojis? You have to look into your audience’s demographics to answer that question. If your emails are sent to a younger audience, they’re more likely to be receptive to emojis.
  • Are you sending emails B2B or B2C? B2C audiences tend to react better to emojis than B2B readers.
  • Does emoji usage align with your brand? If your product or service is more conservative, emojis may not match your brand image. It may end up causing a disconnect with your audience.

With that said, you should never overcrowd emails subject lines with emojis. If you use multiple emojis frequently, your audience may find it unprofessional. Remember to use relevant emojis and ensure that it fulfills a purpose. The best thing you can do is A/B test emoji usage with your audience for optimal results.

Lastly, keep in mind that emojis are rendered differently on different devices. You don’t want your subscribers to receive weird characters instead of emojis. Hence, test the display of emoji in your email subject lines for various platforms, before sending the emails.

Mistake #7: Using Boring, Generic and Automated Subject Lines

Your consumers don’t want to be treated like a number. They don’t like receiving cookie-cutter content. Instead, they want to be treated as an individual. If you take the time to personalize subject lines and content to your customers, they will respond better.

Your subscribers want to feel unique, spoken to and special. When you talk to them directly, they are more likely to respond positively. Click To Tweet

If you haven’t personalized your email marketing, then you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to build long-term customer relationships. For an effective personalization strategy, you would have to collect data about your audience.

For example, you may be including your subscriber’s name in email subject lines, right? If you haven’t done it before, try it, and you could increase your open rates.

However, it is important to note that you should not overdo it. If every subject line contains the subscriber’s name, they are likely going to start ignoring your emails.

But personalization goes way beyond addressing your prospect by their name. It includes providing tailored and relevant content that is targeted towards an individual subscriber. As we mentioned earlier, you will have to collect data about your customers to deliver truly personalized value.

To get the right message to the right person at the right time you first need to get the right data to the right database at the right time. – John Caldwell

A subject line that is targeted and is crafted to resonate with the audience is a great first step towards personalization. It naturally leads to increased email open rates and click-throughs.

Before You Write a Subject Line

When you work on sales campaigns there are a few things you should consider, for optimal results. Once you figure them out, it will be easier to write email subject lines.

You could model your lines upon these 20 examples of the best email subject lines that get opened. You could also refer to these pointers that can put you on the right track to write better subject lines:

Value of Your Offer: It’s not just about the product or service you provide. Think about how it makes your customer’s life better.

Your Prospect’s Needs: Why do they need your product or service? Put yourself in their shoes and think about their needs.

Your Relationship With the Prospect: Is it the first time they will receive your email or have they been a long-time customer?

What’s in it For Them?: Why should they find your product or service interesting? Why should they read it?

Before you send, check if you would ignore or delete this subject line, if you had received it. If you think about your experience with sales emails, you would realize if you’re on the right track or not. You see, if you wouldn’t click on it yourself, your prospective customers probably won’t either.

The Art of Crafting Compelling Email Subject Lines

Most readers spend just a fraction of a second looking over their email list. If the subject field doesn’t capture their attention, they move on. It doesn’t matter that the main body of your email contains valuable and useful information – it will never be read. 

So, your subject line is perhaps the most important part of your sales email. It is your chance to make a great first impression on the recipient. In some cases, it may be your first and only shot at connecting with a prospect. In essence, your entire campaign’s ROI hinges on the words you use in the subject line.

You could hire professional copywriters to create compelling emails for your business. In fact, most companies do, if they’re serious about their marketing and increasing revenue. 

However, you could also do it yourself. It’s not as hard as it may seem. It’s all about finding the right tools.

Dan Lok created a copywriting software, called Instant Scripts. This software can do all the heavy lifting for you. Instant Scripts includes proven templates, headlines, email subject lines, copy connectors, power words and so much more. All of them are proven to work.

If you wish to write perfect emails with the right subject lines – you could have access to all of Dan Lok collected, proven to work,  subject lines plus two hundred thirteen subject line templates.

You could simply fill in the blanks and immediately use them in your emails. 

Click here, and get access to Instant Scripts now.