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  • Writer's pictureShaun Moat

Skyrocket Your Email Open Rates With These 7 Proven Subject Line Strategies

As a small business owner, email marketing can be a powerful tool that helps you connect with customers, nurture relationships, and grow your business. But with inboxes overflowing and attention spans dwindling, it's essential to make your emails stand out from the crowd. One crucial factor in achieving that goal is an effective subject line. Your subject line is the first impression you make on your subscribers, and it often determines whether your email gets opened or sent straight to the trash. So, how do you create a subject line that grabs attention and convinces your audience to click?

In this article, we'll share seven proven strategies to create effective subject lines that will increase your email open rates, drive engagement, and ultimately contribute to the success of your digital marketing efforts. We'll explore research-backed insights, the psychology behind what makes people click, and real-world examples to help you craft subject lines that truly resonate with your audience. Plus, we'll touch on best practices to ensure your emails comply with spam regulations and maintain a strong sender reputation.

1. Leverage the Power of Personalisation

In today's highly competitive inbox environment, personalisation is key to making a memorable first impression with your recipients. Including your subscriber's name in the subject line demonstrates that you value their time and can significantly improve open rates. Research by Experian shows that personalised subject lines deliver a 29.3% higher unique open rate on average than non-personalised ones.

But don't stop at merely including the recipient's name – you can also tailor your subject lines based on their purchase history, browsing behaviour, or interests. The more relevant your emails are to your subscribers, the better your chances of enticing them to open them.

2. Make Your Subject Lines Action-Orientated

Strong action verbs not only help your subject lines stand out, but they also create a sense of urgency and draw readers in. Instead of using a passive phrase like "Our latest sale items are now available," consider using active language, such as "Discover unbeatable bargains in our latest sale!"

This strategy grabs the attention of your subscribers and compels them to act. Remember that your main goal is to have readers open your email and engage with your content – and a strong call to action in your subject line can make this happen.

3. Pique Curiosity with Clever Wordplay

Curiosity is a powerful motivator, and making your audience curious about your email content can be an effective way to boost open rates. To achieve this, consider using creative wordplay, puns, or idiomatic expressions that make your subscribers think twice about passing your email by.

For example, instead of a subject line like "Find out how to improve your email marketing," try something more intriguing, such as "Unleash the secret to skyrocketing your email open rates!" This approach adds a level of intrigue that encourages readers to open your email to quench their curiosity.

4. Test the Effectiveness of Emojis

Emojis are a fun and playful way to add some personality to your subject lines, and they can capture your subscriber's attention amidst a sea of text-only subject lines. Many brands have successfully used emojis to increase open rates, but it's essential to keep your target audience and brand image in mind before adding them to your subject lines.

If emojis complement your brand's tone and voice, it's worth testing their effectiveness in small-scale campaigns. Just remember not to go overboard, as too many emojis can make your subject lines appear unprofessional or cluttered.

5. Keep Your Subject Lines Concise

With the majority of emails being opened on mobile devices, it is crucial to ensure that your subject lines are concise and easy to read. Most mobile email clients display only around 30 to 50 characters of a subject line, and anything beyond that may be cut off.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your subject lines under 50 characters to ensure they're fully visible on most devices. Be brief, but make sure to pack a punch by focusing on the most critical information to encourage opens.

6. Be Honest and Avoid Clickbait Tactics

While it's tempting to promise your subscribers the world to pique their interest, using clickbait tactics can be detrimental in the long run. Misleading subject lines may result in a short-term spike in open rates, but they can damage your brand reputation and cause subscribers to disengage or unsubscribe.

Keep your subject lines honest and transparent, and avoid making unrealistic claims. Your subscribers will appreciate your honesty, and you'll maintain their trust and loyalty.

7. A/B Test Your Subject Lines Regularly

Continuous improvement is essential for any successful email marketing campaign – and that includes optimising your subject lines. A/B testing, or split testing, allows you to experiment with different variations of your subject lines to determine which ones generate the best results.

By testing different elements such as personalisation, action verbs, emojis, or word count, you can gain valuable insights into your audience's preferences and continuously improve your subject line strategy. Remember that what works for one audience may not work for another, so don't rely solely on following best practices. A/B testing is crucial for ensuring that your subject lines are tackling your unique audience's needs and preferences.


Your subject line is a critical determinant in the success of your email marketing campaign, and putting the right strategies in place can make a significant impact on your open rates and engagement. By applying these seven proven techniques, you can create attention-grabbing and compelling subject lines that help you reach your digital marketing goals.

As you continue to sharpen your email marketing efforts, remember that a consistent approach with ongoing testing and optimisation is vital for lasting success.

Ready to take your email marketing campaigns to the next level? At Donut Pig Digital Marketing, our comprehensive digital marketing services ensure you receive expert guidance and support at every step. Contact us today to enhance your email marketing strategy and see the results for yourself!

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