Crafting the Perfect Subject Line – The Eight Tips That Get People Clicking

Carl Taylor | August 5, 2019

An email’s subject line is the first thing that any recipient sees. Make sure yours catches attention and gets clicks with these tips.


The average office worker receives 121 emails every single day. Add on the stuff they receive to their personal accounts and you have a lot of emails to skim through.

Naturally, there’s plenty of stuff that gets overlooked.

If an email doesn’t catch the recipient’s attention, it gets overlooked and deleted. If your emails fall into that category, your campaign’s losing money and you’re missing out on potential customers. 

This is where your subject line comes in.

It’s the first thing someone sees in their inbox and it needs to hit the mark for your campaigns to find success.

What Makes Subject Lines so Important?


It’s simple.

Every email recipient makes their opening decision based on the content in the subject line. They can’t see the email itself until they open it, so the subject line is all that you have to grab them.

If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted all of the hard work that you put into creating copy. The hours you spent crafting your email sequence means nothing if people don’t open the emails in the first place.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • 69% of people say that they’ve sent emails to the Spam Folder based solely on the subject line.
  • 47% only look at the subject line when deciding whether to open an email. That means that almost half of people don’t even look at who sent the email.

Of course, the content has to hit the mark too. But you have to start with the subject line. Make sure you get it right with these eight tips.

Tip #1 – Personalise It


How effective is personalisation when it comes to email subject lines?

There’s a 22% increase in the chances of your email getting opened if it’s personalised. Something as simple as adding the recipient’s name can go a long way.

You can take things further though. For example, you may have data about somebody who checked out a specific product on your website. If the subject line references that product, you’re increasing the chances of the email getting opened.

After all, the recipient’s already expressed an interest in the product. An email that focuses on it could be what pushes them towards a purchase.

This is where email automation can prove useful. You could use your CRM to segment your audience based on several personal factors, such as interests and actions taken. With an automated email sequence, you can pull customer data and insert it straight into your subject line.

These are both things that Automation Agency can help you with. Send a ticket to the Concierge service to find out how.

Tip #2 – Carry Out A/B tests


You’re unlikely to create the perfect subject line first time, every time. In fact, you probably have a bunch of different ideas.

How do you figure out which ones work best?

A/B testing is the answer. Create two email sequences. These will contain the same email content. However, you try different subject lines with each sequence.

If you’re sending out 500 emails, 250 should use the first subject line, with the rest using the second.

After a couple of days, check the data. Find out which emails had the highest open rates and you’ll see which subject line was more effective. You can then A/B test this against another subject line until you work your way towards the optimal choice.

This would require a lot of manual effort if you do it without automation. Again, Automation Agency can help you to conduct these tests quickly and with little intervention. Send a ticket to the Concierge service to get started.

Tip #3 – Avoid Spam Triggers


There are all sorts of spam triggers that people look out for when browsing their emails.

Seeing that the email comes from a “no-reply” address is one of them. That tells the recipient that the email’s likely trying to sell them something.

The use of symbols to try and catch attention can also work against you here. It leads to the subject line looking desperate, which means people don’t click on it.

Of course, there are plenty of words that can trigger people’s spam alarms. Words like “Free”, “Secret”, and “Success” get used so often for spam emails that people may avoid them entirely.

The simple tip here is to conduct a test on yourself. If you wouldn’t open the email, you can’t expect a potential customer to open it either.

Tip #4 – Try Asking Questions


Your goal with a subject line is to pique the reader’s curiosity.

A question can serve that purpose. That’s especially the case if you’re asking a personalised question based on the data you’ve gathered about the customer.

For example, let’s imagine that you work in web design. A subject line like the following could work for you:

“Do you know the mistake that you’re making with your website?”

The recipient’s going to look at that and ask themselves a bunch of questions.

Am I making a mistake?

What mistake are they talking about?

Do these guys know how to fix it?

Their curiosity rises and they end up clicking.

Try to pose a question that gets the recipient thinking about something that’s relevant to them or their business. Don’t propose the solution in the subject line though. That just makes it come off as salesy. You’re implying that you can help with the question but your main focus is to inform the recipient.

Tip #5 – Try Keeping it Super Short


You have a limited number of characters for a subject line. The common technique is to try to make them all count. You try to cram as much information into the subject line as possible.

The problem is that everybody’s doing the same thing. Emails get lost in the shuffle simply because they all have subject lines that try to fill up a word count.

Go in the opposite direction.

Try using a short subject line. Even a single word could do the job.

Instantly, your email stands out from the masses that try to use every available character. It’s going to catch attention just because it looks different. And that means there’s a higher chance of somebody opening it.

Tip #6 – Make Sure It Aligns With the Content


Think of your subject line as a promise that you’re making to the recipient.

They’re opening the email based on what’s in the subject line. If the content inside doesn’t align with the promise you make, they’re going to click away and trash the email. Even worse, you could shatter the recipient’s trust so much that they consign all emails from your address to the spam folder.

Don’t promise more than you can deliver with your subject line. Check the content several times to ensure it aligns with the promise you’ve made.

Tip #7 – Avoid the Clickbait


It may seem counterintuitive to avoid clickbait. After all, these types of subject lines aim to get people to click them.

But again, you end up with an alignment issue. A clickbait subject line focuses so much on the click that it doesn’t always relate to the content.

There’s also the spam issue. People see clickbait all of the time. Many may actively avoid anything that they think tries too hard to grab their attention.

Tip #8 – Include Logical Keywords


Even if you have a good subject line, you can’t guarantee that someone will open the email the moment that they see it.

That’s why keywords are so important.

Imagine someone’s checked their phone to do a quick scan of their inbox at the start of the day. They see your email and have an interest in it. But they don’t have the time to open it just yet.

They then don’t get the chance to check their inbox again until the end of the day. They might have dozens of new emails by that point.

That means they’re going to have to use the search feature to find yours again.

Instantly, their minds start thinking of keywords that relate to the email. If your subject line doesn’t contain an obvious keyword, the recipient may struggle to find the email again.

Draft Your Subject Line


Use these tips to craft the perfect subject lines for your emails. Test them against one another to see which work best.

And when you’re ready to create an email sequence, send a ticket to the Automation Agency Concierge service. 

If you’re not a member yet, find out if we’re a good fit for you with our Right Fit Chatbot





About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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