The average working professional receives more than 100 emails a day – how do you make sure yours isn’t one of the 99 that is ignored?

Below are 9 simple ways to make your email subject lines email stand out from the crowd.


  1. Use geo-location (not names) to personalise email headers 

According to the Unbounce’s stats, using a person’s name in email subjects has little to no effect on opening rates, but they do put you at risk of being viewed as spam.

Think about it, how many times have you included a friend or colleague’s name in a subject line when sending a personal email? Probably never – because it’s pretty weird.  

Locations, however, are more effective. Using a person’s location creates relatability without arousing suspicion and will help your email stand out from the crowd.

Content offer

  1.  Identify yourself

Make sure the email address you’re sending from includes your name and brand name and doesn’t look as though it’s been sent by a third-party tool.

If you’re a very recognisable brand it can also be effective to mention your brand name and most popular product in the subject line itself.

  1.  Keep it short

Typically, research shows that subject lines less than 50 characters long have better open rates. This may be because they look more natural, or simply because a long subject line is already tedious to read and that doesn’t bode well for the email itself!

Either way, try to keep yours a manageable length.

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  1.  Honesty is the best policy

It’s tempting to try and entice (read: trick) people into opening your email with creative subject lines that don’t really relate to your email contents, but don’t fall into this trap. It’s the fastest way to get people to register your mail as spam and to start thinking of your brand as dishonest.

  1. Don’t be afraid to use caps or an exclamation point

Caps are still eye catching and exclamation marks are still exciting – just don’t overdo it. One or two emphasised words is fine, but, as always, less is more. Be strategic.

  1. Try to be different

Being visually different is an effective way to get curiosity clicks. Using interesting punctuation marks, quotes and unusual diction are simple and easy ways you can differentiate your email.

lead magnet

  1. Ask a question

A question engages people in a dialogue as soon as they read it – especially if it’s an original or intriguing question.

For example, here’s a newsletter email I received just as I sat down to write this blog post.


Is it original? Yes. Is it bizarre? Yes. Too bizarre? Perhaps. Am I going to open that email? Hells yes (I already have).

  1. Use deadlines

People respond to urgency. We’ve been conditioned to meet deadlines every day since our first day at school and we also hate knowing we’re missing out on opportunities.

Statements  like ‘only 9 hours until your trial ends’ or ‘2 seats left on this flight’ can be really effective at tipping people over the edge.

  1. Keep testing

The best way to know what works for you is to keep testing things yourself. Send out half a batch of emails with one subject line and the other half with another.

By measuring the results you can find the strategies that work best for your individual brand.

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  1. Mix it up

When you finally find a subject line that works, don’t be tempted to keep using it if your mailing list stays the same. You’ll have to keep mixing it up to keep people interested week after week.  

The good news is that if you keep measuring the results you’ll slowly start to get a feel for what works and will get better at it as you go along.


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About Steph Von der Heyde

Our resident wordsmith’s love of digital lured her over from advertising to the online space, where she fell in love with content marketing. Since coming to the online world Steph has made her mark on all outgoing CleverClicks copy and is passionate about using words to build brands. Her obsession with the writing is rivaled only by her love of trail running, yoga and green juice. When she’s not submerged in content strategy you’ll find Steph in Downward Dog.

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