Subject Lines Your Customers Want to Click

Subject Lines Your Customers Want to Click
 October 6, 2017

Let’s face it, we’ve all faced that flooded inbox of emails ranging from daily deals to company newsletters. Chances are you probably check your inbox several times a day just to keep up with updates from your coworkers, clients, and even friends. Whether you have ten emails or over a hundred, chances are you don’t open every single one.

Let’s be honest, you probably sort through your emails and open them based on either the subject line or the sender. After all, who has time to sit down and open every single one? If you’ve ever sent out an email campaign for your business or organization, you understand what it’s like to be on the opposite end of the email chain and know just how hard it can be to get readers to open your message.

At VIG, we’ve felt this pain and have put together a few ideas to help you get the most out of your campaign and create great powerful subject lines that your customers are likely to open. Take a look!

Know Your Audience

Delivering a powerful message about your company is only successful if your message reaches the right people. In my experience, the most successful email campaigns, and subject lines, clearly relate to a specific audience or target market. If you’re putting together an email campaign, try segmenting your audience based on their unique needs.

This segmentation could range from tailoring email content based on specific products or services or even demographics like age and region. For example, you probably wouldn’t send emails for snow blowers to customers in Arizona, and you probably wouldn’t send life insurance offers to teenagers and kids. Tailoring this content to different segments is essential to delivering relevant information to the right people.

Once you organize your audience based on their unique wants and needs, you can develop a subject line around that content. Depending on your business or organization, your subject line can range from a curious question to a powerful call-to-action.

Short & Concise

Delivering a powerful statement that captures an audience’s attention is a challenge. With subject lines being the first thing readers see for your email, you need to make sure your subject line doesn’t get cut off. With different screen resolutions for mobile and desktop applications, it’s best to keep subject lines between 4-7 words.

This allows readers across multiple devices to view your entire subject line and reduces the risk of having key words or phrases hidden from view. Depending on the message of your email, you can adjust your subject line to include only the most essential words or provide just enough of an overview to get readers interested. Sometimes with content, less is more.

Action Verbs

Creating a sense of excitement in a subject line is a great way to get readers interested in your email. If your subject line features action verbs like “Run with the best” or “Stand out among friends” the likely-hood of your email getting clicked goes up compared to traditional subject lines like “Great Deals” or other commonly used phrases.

In a basic sense, a subject line is a call-to-action designed to get readers to complete a certain action. In this case it’s open your email. With that in mind, you should design your subject lines around getting your readers excited about your message and giving them just enough information to want more.

I must warn you though, if your subject line promises something remarkable like free trips to the moon, you need to deliver on your promise. Creating deceptive or false subject lines that have little relevance to your actual email can hurt your credibility and decrease your open rates in the future.

Bottom line: Be honest, be professional, be exciting!

Preheader Text

Subject Lines Gmail Screenshot
This is a screenshot of subject lines from my Gmail account.

Even though this blog is about subject lines for emails, preheader text can be as equally important in increasing open rates. For those of you who may not be familiar, preview text is the series of words (usually a description) that follows your subject line in your inbox.

In most cases, you can adjust preview text to display content based on your unique email. If you look in your inbox now, you can probably see that this text ranges from a brief description of the email to the first few sentences of a paragraph.

Experts have debated about the exact length of characters you are limited to with pre-header text, but many agree that it’s based on both the email account of the user and the screen size of their device. With the preheader text, I wouldn’t worry about text getting cut of or not entirely shown. If you look in your inbox now, almost all the preheader text you see runs off the page.

Preheader text is just another way that you can tailor your message, and subject line, to better reach your audience.


Businesses and organizations have been sending out newsletters and other announcements via email for years. Unfortunately, many mass emails are either deleted or are filtered into span folders. A word of caution, if you’re putting together an email blast for your customers, you need to have their consent to receive emails.

Many email scheduling and hosting programs like MailChimp and Active Campaign require companies to verify that the emails they are dropping into the list are verified and that users have opted-in to receive messages. If you send out a mass email list to customers and your emails have a high bounce or spam rate, your domain may get blacklisted.

If your domain gets blacklisted on a hosting or scheduling platform, your ability to send emails may be restricted in the future. If you’re looking to send out an email list in the future, the best way to build a list is to have users subscribe.

Email marketing is a powerful tool to get the word out about your brand. From newsletters to promotions, companies are continually trying to uncover new and interesting ways to capture customer’s attention. At the forefront of every email is an engaging subject line just waiting to be clicked. Will your subject line be next to go viral?

Want to put together an email campaign for your business? Think VIG!