Email subject lines aren’t important, right? They’re only one sentence long, and who reads them anyway? In fact, that one sentence is the most integral part of your emailer! Studies have shown that 33% of recipients open emails solely based on subject lines. This means that if your email subject line is lacking, chances are your email isn’t going to be opened.

To help boost your open rates, follow these six tips to make your email subject line stand out (and avoid the spam filter):

1) Keep it short and to the point

With so many emails being opened on mobile devices, you’re now even more limited to the number of characters shown in the subject line. Therefore, subject lines should be kept to 50 or fewer characters to ensure they aren’t cut off with “….”. With such a limited number of words, you have to make sure your subject lines are quick and direct.

2) Create urgency

A sense of urgency and exclusivity can create a 22% higher open rate.

  • Today only.
  • 24-hour giveaway.
  • Ends tomorrow.

Time-sensitive phrases encourage your reader to act now — preventing them from procrastinating or forgetting about your message.

3) Ask compelling questions

Asking questions relevant to your specific buyer personas can greatly improve open rates. Make them curious by posing a relevant question. Ask questions like, “Is your website making these five common mistakes?” or “Have you included these seven essentials in your messaging platform?”

These questions imply that you’re going to give them important and privileged knowledge. Try to avoid questions that can easily be dismissed and ignored — particularly those that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

4) Steer clear of spam triggers

FREE offer. No Cost. Opt in. All new. Get it now. We’ve all seen, and probably ignored, emails with these subject lines. Not only are they often ignored, but spam filters are getting smarter and will automatically throw them in the spam box. To avoid the dreaded spam filter, check out this full list of trigger words.

Also, pay attention to your industry. See how your industry personas respond to specific words. A change in just one word could make a big difference in your open rate. For example, a study from Adestra found that emails using the word “newsletter” in the subject line actually saw an 18.7% decrease in open rates.

5) Avoid ALL CAPS and multiple exclamation points!!!!!

Similarly, subjects lines like “Get 50% Off Now!!!!!” or “GET YOUR FREE TRIAL NOW” scream spam. If these techniques don’t get your emailer flagged by the spam filter, they will most likely be ignored by your recipients.

6) Test, Test, Test

Remember: the subject line is the most important part of your emailer. Finally, be sure to run several tests to find out what email marketing strategies work best for you. With A/B testing, you can find out which methods are most effective at improving your open rate.

While the list above provides several techniques, what works for one company doesn’t always work for another. Analyze all of your results and start improving your open rate.

For more information on improving your email campaigns, check out How to Use Email Marketing the Get Leads and Email Marketing Tips to Boost Performance.


In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

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995_kateKate Smith is a graphic designer at Schubert b2b. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Design from Kutztown University. When not in the office, she enjoys snowboarding, eating cauliflower, and staying up to the wee hours of the morning playing Destiny.