7 Ways To Enhance Your Email Subject Lines

Enhance Email Subject Lines

7 Ways to Enhance Your Email Subject Lines and Increase Your Open Rates

While social media is often the first contact a business may have with potential clients, getting them on your email list is vital to turning many interested prospects into paying clients.

Email data marketing is still considered an extremely valuable way to connect and build on relationships with your potential customers. According to BDP Agency staff email marketing has delivered the highest ROI for businesses annually, over the last decade. So, what’s your email strategy when it comes to getting people to actually read them? Are you missing out on email marketing sales?

The open rate primarily depends on the subject lines

When someone is new to your email list, the first impression that they have of you is from seeing your email in their inbox. It’s more than likely that they will receive many emails each day and, unsurprisingly, emails are often deleted before they have ever been opened. Most people prefer to declutter their inboxes so that they can easily sift through new emails and open those that are either important or interesting.

As an email marketer, your job is to make your emails display one of these two qualities. The way to achieve this, to ensure that they look at the content, is to make the most of your email subject lines.

There are seven possible strategies to use in email subject lines that have been shown to get higher open rates:


The idea behind this is that email marketing was created to keep your customers close. Using first names within the body of the email is highly recommended but using it in the subject line will take that a step further. By including their first name in your subject line, it will make you stand out from other marketers, grab their attention, will be much more effective in getting an individual to open your email marketing campaign. BDP Agency found that using a recipient’s first name in the subject line made them 26% more likely to be opened.

However, this strategy is best used with one of the other six explained below. And remember, you can only use this strategy if you have made sure to request first names in your original email subscription opt-in form.

Keep them short and punchy:

There is nothing worse than half of your precious email subject line missing on first impression. Since you have no idea of, or control over, the device on which your recipients read their emails, you want to ensure that even on a mobile phone the subject line will be entirely visible. For this reason, you want to keep it short.

Punchy subject lines will also give a positive impression, since current trends lean towards fewer words and more white space when it comes to written text. Try to create an alluring message in no more than nine words.

Positive, descriptive, and clever slogans

Using mood-lifting, descriptive wording in your subject lines can attract attention and make your emails stand out in a boring inbox. Focusing on emotive words that may have a timely or seasonal impact can be beneficial.

Example ideas include: Cosy snuggle collection (who doesn’t love to feel cosy in winter?); Stay cool as a cucumber this summer (imagine promoting a line in sunglasses); It’s party time, and you’re invited (perfect for a live online challenge or a one-off free webinar).

Imply scarcity and trigger FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

While positive has a great impact, email subject lines with certain words that imply immediate negative consequences have been found to trigger the curiosity of email recipients. These include words such as “missed”, “reminder”, or the word “urgent”.

Include your hook in the subject line

Are you making a special offer? Perhaps it’s free shipping for the weekend or a special discount code. In which case, what they can get delivered for free or the product that is being discounted is not the important part. All that you need to get them to open the email is to let them know that there is something for free.

This also plays on the limited time/negative consequences as detailed above. Sometimes being specific using numbers can also help to hook people, as well as adding diversity from letters.


Email subject lines with emojis have been proven to be more effective than those without. The reason for this is that email marketing campaigns are often viewed on mobile devices, and emojis make it easier for a customer to quickly see what the email message is about. In addition, emojis can help to reduce the number of words required, therefore keeping the subject line shorter and completely visible on a mobile device.


This is where you can use the subject line similarly to a blog post title. This might be titled like a listicle (a list written in the form of an article), such as 5 Vegan Christmas Meal Ideas. Depending on where you want to take them from the email, this can lead to a blog post with even more ideas, or an e-book with 25 great ideas.

Another example of a curiosity-provoking subject line would be to ask a question, such as “What do most men want for Christmas this year?”. Some people struggle to find the perfect gifts for the men in their life, and so it’s the kind of thing that will grab the attention of those who have that task looming in the background. By answering the questions posed in curiosity-provoking titles, you are also proving to your prospective customers that your emails are worth reading.

It’s important to test these ideas

The seven strategies detailed above are ideas from existing B2B email campaign results. However, there is never one size that fits all, and what may work for one audience may flop with another. For this reason, it’s necessary to test the ideas out. The best way is to split test by dividing your email list into two and monitoring the different open rates.

Email subject lines are the beginning of the relationship

Your subject lines are the vital first point of contact with your prospective customers, and it is your chance to get them to open and find the treasure that is contained within the email. They are the start of what you would ideally like to be a long-term relationship.

Clearly, on opening your emails, you also want them to gain enough of a positive experience to want to open future emails too, but that subject line will always be the forerunner to ensuring that they become fans of your content. So don’t shortcut on these. Give them your best shot and it could become your best marketing strategy.

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