In 2014, there were an estimated 108.7 billion emails sent and received every day, from businesses alone. By the end of 2018, that number is expected to rise to 139.4 billion emails. These incredible numbers speak to the need for a clear and catchy email subject line. When your customers belong to countless different email lists and receive over 20 emails before lunch, you want to make sure your emails stand out from the crowd.

The goal is to write  an email that will catch people’s attention and encourage them to click, even if they do not normally click on promotional emails. That means breaking out the creative juices, finding your voice, and putting in some upfront effort. If your email subject line doesn’t grab someone’s attention, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the email says.

Here are some tips on writing email headlines that work:


Personalization is an excellent way to grab someone’s attention. Customers like feeling special, and using someone’s name is an easy way to get there. Whether customers give you their email in exchange for WiFi or fill out a comment card, make sure to put their name to good use.  It’s common to use the name in the email itself, but you should also consider using personalization in the subject lines. For example, try sending a welcome email after a first visit that says  something like:

“It was great to meet you today, Andrew!”

Avoid being too promotional

Customers, and their spam filters, tend to be very suspicious of email titles that contain overly promotional or salesy words and phrases. Avoid words like “Free!”, multiple exclamation marks, and other excessive advertising. Remember, if your message is marked as spam by an email server, your customer will never have a chance to read it.

Instead of saying something like, “LAST CHANCE to get 50% off!!!!,” try an option that’s more personal and relevant: “Celebrate our birthday with a 50% off offer!”

Change it up

When people regularly see emails with the same or similar headlines, they start ignoring them. To make sure that people continue to pay attention to your emails and to keep email open rates high, change up the headlines. Try to mix questions with statements, and promotional offers with interesting news and trends.

Keep it short when possible

Email subscribers have a tendency to scan, rather than read, their inboxes. They are not looking for an insightful analysis, so try to make it fast and easy to understand what you’re offering. The question your subject line has to answer is this: “Why should I bother reading your email?”

Don’t be afraid to be mysterious

Mysterious is often intriguing and engaging, so don’t be afraid to keep readers guessing, especially in the subject line. For example, consider email headlines such as:

    • Yeah, we know. We couldn’t believe it either!
    • Last chance for this special offer
  • The holidays are coming – look what we got you!

Subject lines are critical when it comes  to having engaging people through email. When you start thinking of ways to beef up your email marketing, take a good look at your headlines. First impressions really count here, so small improvements go a long way.