October 28, 2014

Email Subject Line Fails

With email as one of the primary methods of communication and the average person receiving over a hundred emails a day, it’s important to stand out from the sea of emails in your subscribers’ inbox.  In order to have a successful email campaign, an engaging email subject line is crucial. A subject line is meant to grab the users attention and interest them enough to open the email, read, and hopefully successfully convert. It’s no wonder that so many emails get deleted or ignored due to boring, random, and/or generic subject lines. On average you have less than three seconds of your users’ attention to grab their interest or else your email will be sent to the trash and ignored. We can kick these bad habits to the curb, and give them new life by adhering to the following tips:

  • The Generic Snoozer

subject line fails snoozers

Telling your recipients what is inside your email with the subject line can be a huge fail. For example, “(Your Company Name) Weekly Newsletter,” doesn’t entice them to open it or take action. Your email subscribers already have tons of emails in their inboxes, so emailing them with a boring subject line, announcing your weekly, or daily wrap-up isn’t going to cut it.

Tip: To avoid a snoozer, try to highlight your most interesting topics from a newsletter without saying it’s a newsletter. An example of a newsletter subject might contain: “New Fall Must-Haves.” This gives your recipients a compelling reason to open your email.


subject line FAILS ALL CAPSAlthough you’re trying to write a message in all caps to emphasize the importance of your email, it always comes off as if you’re SCREAMING!!!

This is the last thing you want to do with a potential or current client.  The same rules apply with quirky caps like: DoN’t Do ThIs EiThEr. It will seem like you must think everything is urgent or a surprise. Just use one “!” when necessary.

Tip: To highlight a message, instead of using all caps try to create a sense of excitement or urgency with a message or offer. Use an exclamation point or phrases like: “Don’t Miss Out, New and Exciting.”


  • Liar, Liar.

subject line fails familiarityDon’t trick your clients or prospects with a deceiving offer like, “Free Items with purchase,” if you’re really not offering anything for free. Besides, if you’re lying about your offer or give any misleading information it’s actually illegal. Yes, there is a law against this, called CAN-SPAM. The act states that an email’s subject line must truthfully reflect the content message. Another lie to steer clear of is a fake reply, like adding a, “Re:”, in your subject line indicating that it’s reply is dishonest.

Tip: Always tell the truth and honor any offer you promote without being misleading. Take pride in your promotions and don’t share any offers if you aren’t willing to keep your side of the bargain. If you want to gain attention, instead of lying with a fake reply subject line, try using a question.

  • Testing….Oops

subject line fails testingDid you check your email before it went out? Perfect! Testing is very important to ensure all spelling mistakes are fixed and inbox deliverability is ensured. However, you might want to check your subject line first. Most of the time our test emails will not have the proper subject line yet. Pressing “send”, when your email does not have the proper subject line can be extremely embarrassing.

Tip: Always give your email a proper subject line from the beginning, regardless of it being a “test” or not.

  • Do Not Pass Go, Go Straight to Spam

subject line fails spam Email has black listed certain words that will send your email to the spam box instead of the inbox. Avoid using words like: “Free”, “Help”, “Well”, and “Reminder”. Also, try to avoid using a one word subject line like, “Hi,” because although it is eye catching, more than likely it will be sent to your spam box.

Tip: A thesaurus is key in using other words or ways to say what you want to without using the words that are black listed. Get creative!

  • Don’t Literally Show Your Smile

subject line fails smile Don’t be obsessed with symbols like smiley faces, stars and hearts. You might think they are eye-catching and cute, but they represent unprofessionalism if used too often. Symbols can suggest engagement, but make sure they are appropriate for your content and audience, and only use one…once in a while, if at all.

It can also be mistaken for spam mail. The idea is to have the recipient of your email be pleased with something you gave them, not show them a smiley face to set that mood.J.

Tip: If you’re trying to set a fun and cute tone, try to say it cleverly and witty without showing it. J. Instead of saying, “J Sale” you can instead say, “Your Favorite Items 24 Hour Sale.”

It’s important to know that the best subject lines are descriptive, short, but still say enough to catch the reader’s attention. The importance of keeping it simple, and straightforward is key. Try to encourage or engage them so that they at least open your email and see your offer.

At ListGIANT.com, we want to make sure you reach your email marketing objectives without a hitch. By using our email marketing services for your business, you can achieve new levels of success!  We also provide many other marketing services, including telemarketing and direct mail lists. If you are interested in reaching your clients and prospects with email marketing, make sure to maximize your opens with a great subject line! Contact us to get started today!

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