10 Advanced Subject Line Strategies for Maximizing Your Email Open Rates

Despite sentiment to the contrary, even in a text message heavy world, email marketing still gets traction, especially for business-to-business (B2B) marketers.

However, the success of any email marketing campaign hinges on one crucial factor: the open rate. If your emails aren’t being opened, they’re not doing their job. One of the most important factors affecting open rates is the subject line.

Think about it. What do you see when you look at your email inbox? Most likely a stacked list of incoming emails that looks something like this:

Faced with this list you’re going to rather quickly determine which emails to open and which to relegate to your trash bin. The two things that will influence this decision is who the recipient is and the subject line. You’re more likely to open an email from someone you know and trust. Absent an existing relationship, the email subject line comes into play. That’s the case for many email marketers that are reaching out to prospects hoping to engage them in some way.

So your email subject line matters…a lot!

Here we take a look at some advanced strategies to craft compelling subject lines that can significantly boost your email open rates.

1. Keep it Concise and Clear

The first rule of thumb for creating effective subject lines is to keep them concise and clear. With the majority of emails being read on mobile devices, long subject lines may get cut off, causing your message to lose its impact. Aim for 6 to 10 words to ensure your entire subject line is visible.

2. Personalize Your Subject Lines

Personalization can significantly increase your open rates. This could be as simple as including the recipient’s name in the subject line. Personalization creates a sense of familiarity and relevance, which can encourage the recipient to open the email.

3. Create a Sense of Urgency or Exclusivity

Subject lines that convey a sense of urgency or exclusivity can prompt recipients to open the email immediately. Phrases like “limited time offer” or “exclusive deal for you” can create a fear of missing out (FOMO), driving the recipient to take immediate action.

4. Use Power Words to Evoke Emotion

Power words are persuasive words that trigger an emotional response. Words like “amazing,” “exclusive,” “insider,” or “secret” can make your subject line more enticing and increase your open rates.

5. A/B Test Your Subject Lines

A/B testing involves sending two versions of your email with different subject lines to different segments of your audience to see which performs better. This can provide valuable insights into what kind of language and structure resonate best with your audience.

6. Avoid Spam Triggers

Certain words and phrases can trigger spam filters, causing your email to end up in the spam folder instead of the recipient’s inbox. Avoid using all caps, excessive punctuation, and spammy phrases like “free,” “buy now,” or “save $.”

7. Leverage Current Events or Trends

Subject lines that reference current events or popular trends can catch the recipient’s attention and increase open rates. However, ensure the reference is relevant to your audience and the content of your email.

8. Use Numbers and Lists

Numbers and lists provide clear, concise information that’s easy to digest. They can also create curiosity and a promise of quick and easy to understand content.

9. Ask Questions

Asking a question in your subject line can pique the recipient’s curiosity and encourage them to open the email to find the answer.

10. Use Emojis Carefully

Emojis can make your subject line stand out and convey emotions effectively. However, they should be used sparingly and appropriately, as overuse or misuse can appear unprofessional and may not resonate with all audiences.


Remember, the goal of your subject line is not just to get your email opened, but to have your message read and acted upon. Your subject line plays a critical role here. Make sure your subject line accurately represents the content of your email. Misleading subject lines may increase open rates in the short term, but they can damage your reputation and lead to higher unsubscribe rates in the long run.

By implementing these advanced subject line strategies, you can significantly improve your email open rates, leading to more successful email marketing campaigns.

If you find yourself challenged, or simply short of time, to create your own email marketing campaigns, we can help. Reach out to learn more.


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results at reasonable rates.

In addition to content creation we specialize in helping B2B clients raise awareness and drive website traffic through a strong LinkedIn and Twitter presence.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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