Email Subject Lines – Just How Important Are They?

Posted on: February 8th, 2011 by Omni Online

If there is one single line of text you are going to spend a lot of time on – make sure it’s your Subject Line.


The 80/20 Rule of Subject Lines

It has been reported that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read your email subject and send-from address, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

Did you catch that?  That’s right – 80% of recipients are likely to read your subject line and send-from address!  In that second or two that it takes for them to do that – they are going to make a decision on whether on not your email is worth anymore of their time.

So before you “slap any old subject line” on your next email – carefully reconsider.

It might be a good idea to brainstorm several subject lines and run them by your co-workers to garner some feedback.  Since the better your subject line is – the better your open rates are going to be, Email Subject lines are hugely important!

Here is some advice from the Copy-writing  Industry’s Professionals:

The copywriting trainers at American Writers & Artists teach The Four U’s approach to writing headlines – these tips are a perfect match for writing email subjects too.


Email subject, preview pane (the first 3 lines), subheads and bullets should:

  1. Be USEFUL (and RELEVANT) to the reader
  2. Provide them with a sense of URGENCY
  3. Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow UNIQUE
  4. Do all of the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way


Superstar copywriter Clayton Makepeace says to ask yourself six questions before you start to write your email:

  1. Does your subject offer the reader a reward for reading?  Will they benefit?
  2. Can you include specifics to make the email subject more intriguing, believable and credible?
  3. Will your subject trigger a strong (positive!), actionable emotion for the reader?
  4. Will your subject topic immediately resonate with your prospect?
  5. Could your email subject benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction?
  6. Could you add an element of intrigue to drive the prospect into your opening copy?

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