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Considering the number of e-mails we receive every day, it becomes difficult to stand out in your prospects’ mailbox as a marketer.

According to extrapolations made by Radicati, around 269 billion emails are sent every day. However, the open rate of these e-mails is around 27.4%, which means more than 195 billion e-mails are not opened

This can drastically decrease the success of your e-mail campaigns.

Hence, it becomes imperative to design great subject lines that prompt your prospects to open your e-mails.

Here are 5 e-mail subject line best practices you need to follow to increase open rates:

1. Be Short and Specific

Since a majority of the e-mails are read on the mobile phones, longer subject lines are usually cut-off.

Hence, it is advisable that you should use subject lines with fewer than 50 characters to make sure at least the full text is visible.

Smart tip: If you are sending an update or a newsletter to your prospects, do not include the word “update” or “newsletter” in the subject line.

A study by Adestra showed that including these words decrease the open rate by 18.9%.

2. Provide Value

When people are skimming through their e-mail box, they should be able to figure out what value they will get from your e-mail.

Hence, it is important that the subject line should clearly be able to communicate the benefit that your prospect would receive from the e-mail.

This can help you to break away from the clutter and increase the chances of getting your e-mail opened.

3. Use Call to Action Words

Subject lines are similar to call to actions on your website or social media. They inspire your prospects to click and take the next step forward.

Hence, you should use call to action words like “start”, “increase”, “keep” etc. This guides your prospects in identifying the next steps and also compels them to read the email.

4. Send it From a Familiar E-mail Address

Although recent advancements in technology have changed the way we transact with the outside world, most transactions we engage in are primarily based on trust.

One way to create and reinforce trust is by sending the e-mail from a trustworthy account.

If a subscriber doesn’t recognize or trust you, he is far less likely to open the email.

You can experiment with multiple options like company name/brand name, product or service name, personal name or any campaign based name.

This way your prospect would be able to relate to your brand/company which would thereby increase the chances of getting your e-mail opened.

5. Use Questions

According to a study by MailChimp, subject lines framed in question format perform much better than other formats

If you have done proper research in identifying your prospects’ challenges, they would be able to relate to your e-mail. This would inspire them to open your e-mails.


While the popularity of e-mail does not seem to be faded in the near future, you do need to follow best practices in your subject line to ensure your e-mail gets opened.

Sometimes, it does happen that even after following all the best practices, the open rate still remains on the lower side. Hence, you should consistently test your subject lines to see what is working and what is not.

Here is a great post by Wishpond on different styles of subject lines

What are the best practices that you follow in your e-mail subject line? Please comment below