How to Write a Good Email Subject Line

You've spent hours creating the perfect email. Your content is strong. Your graphics look great. You send it. And barely anyone opens it.

We've all been there. So what's the problem?  Short answer: a bad subject line.

A poorly written subject line will almost guarantee that your emails are ignored. In this article we're sharing our tips for writing strong subject lines, so your readers actually see all of that great content you're sharing.

Tips for Writing Good Subject Lines

Identify your goal

Even before crafting your email, think about your goal. What you are trying to accomplish? Every communication should be connected to one of your larger goals. Are you soliciting donations so your organization is more sustainable? Are you promoting an event to build broader community support? Make sure your email content aligns with your email lists. Then consider how your subject line can reflect that goal. 

Give readers a reason to open your email

You can do this in one of two ways: 

  • Utility - use your subject line to offer value or communicate usefulness
  • Curiosity - use your subject line to create doubt or uncertainty so the reader is intrigued enough to open

Keep it short and descriptive

The best performing subject lines are short and descriptive. Keep it under 9 words or 60 characters, and avoid generic expressions. MonkeyPod includes a word and character counter and will warn you if your subject line is too long.

Consider adding personalization

Personalization means including the person's name in the subject line (you can also add a recipient's name in the body of the email). Instead of a subject line that reads, "Help us take action against plastic pollution!" your personalized subject line would read, "Trisha, help us take action against plastic pollution!"

To personalize your emails with each recipient's name, you use merge tags. In MonkeyPod, the merge tag  ::subscriber.first_name:: adds the subscriber's first name to the subject line.

What you type in the subject line in MonkeyPod:  ::subscriber.first_name::, help us take action against plastic pollution!

What it looks like in the recipient's inbox: Trisha, help us take action against plastic pollution!

Avoid lots of emojis or extra punctuation

Emojis and lots of extra punctuation scream SPAM! If you want to include these additional characters, do so sparingly. Your subject lines can be fun without being overly silly or unprofessional.