How to write awesome email subject lines

Subject lines, along with timing and relevancy, is the single biggest influencer to help you boost your open rates, BUT there’s SO much info out there on what constitutes a great subject line, and a lot of this advice conflicts. In our many years of hands-on experience, there’s a few tried and tested things that we know DO work. I’m not saying do this and you’ll double your open rates, but mix and match some of these, and you’ll start to see more opens.

1. Clickbait

Clickbait (in case you didn’t know) is a way to attract attention with an enticing headline. Clickbait gets a bad wrap, mainly cos it’s abused by spammers, but if you take the premise of clickbait and use it in your subject lines you may see an uplift in your open rates. Always keep your subject lines relevant to your subscribers, and never use your new superpower for evil. That’s the superhero code.

If you want to test your subject lines, the team at MailNinja created a great tool for you to use, check it out here –

2. Emojis

Plain boring text subject lines don’t stand out. Sure, you can use short, snappy clickbait-y subject lines which get people intrigued and interested, but if you snap on an emoji, now you’ve added some colour and visuals, giving you a fighting chance of standing out from the crowd.

3. Personalise

Try not to use it for EVERY email, but throwing in an occasional name drop into your SLs will give people

Quick tip – if you don’t have everyone’s name in your audience, fear not, in Mailchimp just make sure you hop over to your audience merge fields and set a default/fallback so in the absence of a name, it will show something in place. We use this at Chimp Essentials. For the folk we don’t have a first name for, we set the default as ‘chimps’, so we can start an email off by saying Hey FNAME, giving us Hey Doug, or Hey chimps, as a fallback.

A quick tip

Try to gather as much data as you can on your subscribers using giveaway forms or surveys, that way you can personalise your emails and create awesome audience segments.