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Read NOW for ESSENTIAL email advertising INSIGHTS

If you are reading this, the title of this article resonated with you and triggered you to engage, for further exploration of the content. In the same fashion, an email subject line entices your audiences to open your email and see how the content will affect them in a positive way. Just like the “tree falling in the forest” joke, if you have a great offer, but no one opens your email to read it, did it really happen?

Here are the essential insights to ensure your subject line gets your email opened:


The fastest way to lose your audience’s interest is to mislead them with a subject line. It goes back to the age-old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” If you train people to distrust your subject lines, they will stop opening your emails. Always be truthful about the content.


Since subject lines are read across many different types of devices and programs, with different previewing capabilities, it is important to limit the number of characters to ensure the entire subject line can be read without further action. A good rule of thumb is to limit your subject line to 40 characters including spaces, which will enable it to be fully viewable across most devices. If you feel it is essential to exceed that, ensure that the first 40 characters include the key point of your message.


The most important step in subject line creation is to take the best of what your email has to offer and present it in a direct and exciting way. Consider the following examples:

  1. Holiday Sale Event going on now!

  2. Save big! Holiday Sale, going on now

  3. Holiday Sale: Lowest prices of the year

  4. Camry $99/month at Huge Holiday Sale

In the first example, we simply informed the audience about the existence of a sale. This left out the “why” regarding why our audience should care.

In the second example, we added a reason to care. Not only is there a sale happening, but the audience will “save big” during it.

In the third and fourth examples, we changed the reason to care into a tangible example that our audience will instantly understand, and a reason to explore the content further. This is key. Leaving your audience guessing about your email content runs the risk of them not opening your email at all, so spark their interest with a clue about the payout for them.


If your audience and product allow for you to use emojis tastefully in your subject lines, this is a great way to distinguish yourself from others in the cluttered email inboxes of your audience. In addition, if you have your audience’s first names, strategic insertion of this information can separate your subject line from the impersonal nature of others, as well as get your email through many of the SPAM filters. Which of the subject lines below would get your attention first? The answer is obvious:


Many overlook the pre-header text, which falls beneath your subject line in a preview and can work collaboratively with it to improve your chances of engagement. Since not all types of devices and programs show pre-header text, consider it only an augmentation of a strong subject line, yet a powerful tool for showing additional information or a call to action to those who are able to see it. Note how it is used below to provide a second important message for the audience to consider:

You can utilize this additional space through the pre-header tool in your email program or by inserting it at the top of your email, either overtly or as hidden text that matches the color of your background.


Always test your emails to ensure that your subject line and pre-header look the way you intended. There are volumes of horror stories related to subject lines that went awry, when a simple test email would have highlighted the issue to be fixed. Do not let this happen to you:

[customer first name]: Holiday Sale, Lowest prices of the year <car emoji>

Using these simple, but essential, insights will help you to get more emails opened and, subsequently, more click-throughs on your emails. Contact us at R2 Media, Inc., for more information on using email advertising to engage with your current and future customers through this cost-effective medium.

By: Natasha Bhagat

Account Executive

R2 Media, Inc.

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