top of page
  • Writer's pictureLiz Maguire

First Impressions: Subject Lines!

Are you someone who keeps your inbox at '0' or do you have 50,000 unopened emails? Either way, in 2020 there were approximately 4 billion email users which could be nearly 4.5 billion by 2024. Electronic mail, or e-mail, was invented in 1971 by an engineer named Raymond Tomlinson. E-mail is very much 'not' much so that there's something like 361 billion emails sent worldwide, a day.

In this post, we'll explore the function of the subject line for your email and recommend how to record and report on email marketing as a channel.

Photo by Yogas Design on Unsplash

All in a Subject...Line.

Somewhere between 33-60% of your mailing list make a decision to open your email (or newsletter) based on your subject line. In addition to a recognizable brand or founder name and avatar as the 'sender', your subject line matters immensely with regards to getting your emails opened and your sales -- or whatever may be your Call to Action (CTA) -- up.

Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash

Now comes the to write a good subject line! Always consider the merits of A/B or split testing your subject lines to determine peak performance. The best thing you can do? Practice and practice. Experiment and test. There is no one formula but in the meantime, here are some tips on how to get into the habit of writing and sending good subject lines:

  1. Keep it short and sweet. MailChimp recommends between 9 and 60 characters.

  2. Match your subject line and CTA. If your email is about a sale on seaweed soap your subject line should refer to the sale, not to anything else.

  3. Use action words. Try 'commands' in your copy like 'Open' or 'Shop Today' to motivate your user subconsciously to take action.

  4. Personalization. Where possible use code to implement personalization (i.e. the user's first name). BUT be aware that just using a first name in a subject line and not crafting an email the user will find worthwhile, will do nothing. Content above all!

  5. Address user needs/wants. Talk to your subscriber. If you are promoting a new meditation course, address the subscriber in the subject line with something that sets the tone for your email. If you are selling used cards,

Record Keeping.

There's a lot of lingo in email marketing that can seem overwhelming at first but with time you'll be slinging acronyms like it's the wild west. Whether or not you're A/B or split testing your subject lines there are three areas you will want to record:

  • Open Rate: The % opened over the rate of messages that were delivered. Open Rates tell us how the subject line performed in the inbox. Your open rate tells the overall health of your emails and can be a clear (and fast) indicator if the subject line needs tweaking.

  • Click Thru Rate:  The % of people who opened the email (yay!) and who clicked something in the email, like a link to the website product or blog.

  • Conversion Rate: The% of people who ordered something through the email, from your website. This tells us how well the emails are working for sales directly.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

These three figures will help you determine your deliverability performance. Your email deliverability is:

The health of your communications channel to reach subscribers. Hubspot defines deliverability as the 'feedback loop' of your messaging.

A good rule of thumb is to check in on at least these three categories after every send and pull a regular report from your email service provider no less than once a month. Keeping on top of your incoming data can help shape decisions and successes in the future.


A good subject line should be short and sweet, directly related to your email content and include personalization. When reporting on email campaign performance keep regular track of: Open Rate, Click Thru Rate and Conversion Rate.

Get in Touch.

Have a question about subject lines or email marketing in general? Write to us at

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page