Business Email Subject Line Ideas

By July 20th, 2013. 2 comments

Business Email Subject Line Ideas

Make your email subject lines count!

Photo Via:  In Box Marketer

Your company email subject line can make the difference from your message leading readers to take action, to readers letting your email live in an email wasteland, or worse, be deleted. There is no doubt having good business email subject line ideas on tap for your emails is a key to success.

Email is a remarkable way for you to communicate with your customer base or target market. So it goes without saying that your email subject line must resonate with readers in order for them to click and read. You’ve got to make them count.

Email subject lines often serve as your only chance to get a reader to take notice of your brand and what you have to offer. In order to achieve the best results as a small business owner when writing your email subject lines, you should adhere to guidelines that consistently perform well with readers. 

Seven touchstones for email subject line effectiveness:

  1. Make them relevant to the reader
  2. Do not make them too sales oriented
  3. Show enticement
  4. Tell readers WHY they should read
  5. Make them straightforward
  6. Identify yourself
  7. Use urgency with eloquence

Naturally, you will not be able to comprise all seven touchstones into a single email subject line, but a good rule of them is to aim for combining two to three.

To put that rule into practice, let’s dive into seven examples…

Business Email Subject Line Ideas

  1. You can lose those last ten pounds (relevance to the reader and shows enticement)
  2. Five meals for a homeless veteran for the price of a latte (not too sales oriented and tells readers WHY they should read)
  3. New Day Life Coaching e-courses (identifies and is straightforward)
  4. A consulting business in 4 hours? (shows enticement and is straightforward)
  5. In two hours your life will change (relevance to the reader and sense of urgency)
  6. Red Brick Maids Don’t Believe In Carbon Footprints (identifies and is not too sales oriented)
  7. You’re ready for phase two (relevance to the reader, shows sense of urgency, not too sales oriented)

The key is to be committed to striking the right balance with your email subject lines. While it can feel like tremendous pressure to cover so many bases, the key is to identify “what” is your overall goal with your email to your readers.

Business Email Subject Line Ideas 2

Mail Chimp has a tool that suggest subject lines based on the message content.

Screen Shot Via: The Mail Chimp Blog

If your goal is to share with new subscribers all of the services that you have to offer, you may want to angle your subject lines with; showing relevance to the reader, show enticement, and identify yourself.

If your goal is to remind existing customers of a new promotion, you would want to convey to them; a sense of urgency, not be too sales oriented, be straightforward, and tell them WHY they should read your email.

Use promotions more as one-time things. As we’ve talked about before, newsletters work best as newsletters that offer additional value. Don’t use them only for offers and promotions.

When you send your email subscribers your company emails, it can appear to be somewhat of a gamble initially, after all, you are sending emails and hoping for the best. The good news is that you do not have to adopt that mentality permanently, because the answers are in the data.

That’s right, the key to knowing what email subject lines perform the best (have the highest click thru rate) is through good old fashion testing. A/B Split Testing will allow you to gauge, which campaigns worked, and which didn’t. Do not let the tech nature of this concept overwhelm or intimidate you. There is some very user-friendly software out on the market today from companies like, Optimizely and Maxymiser that make testing as pain-less as possible.

Business Email Subject Line Ideas 3

Use Optimizely to come up with more subject line test ideas.

Photo Via: Search Engine Watch

You want to tailor your testing as much as possible to allow yourself to really comb through your results. You can test whether two different email subject lines worked that went out to one particular group. For example, if you have 3,000 people in your “Newsletter Group that are NOT customers” you could send 1,500 of them with an email subject line that says: “A Life Coach that sits on your couch” and the other 1,500 an email with the subject line; “A Life Coach that makes house calls” and use software to discover which performs the best.

Business Email Subject Line Ideas 4

Use a 10/10/80 A/B test to send out the best email subject line.

Screen Shot Via: Mail Chimp

Granted, most email service providers like Aweber, Mail Chimp, and Constant Contact, offer insights into your email campaigns as apart of your subscription that you can easily use as well. But the bottom line is that you want to use data to decide what is working with your audience for your email subject lines. As a business owner, you can’t work in a vacuum and shoot blanks unknowingly. You must be keyed into how best to communicate with your email subscribers in order to either convert them to customers, clients, or donors, to basically, give them what they want. When you know what works best, you can build upon that and sharpen your message to that particular audience.

Business Email Subject Line Ideas 5

Photo Via: Campaign Monitor

Even with the above suggestions, having a multitude of email subject line ideas in your wheelhouse can be challenging at times. For inspiration, here are a few other additional ideas that should resonate well with your email readers:

1. Ask a question (call-to-action)

Does breast cancer run in your family?

2. Have one word in all caps

January Newsletter: Our BIGGEST Month Yet

3. Try short lines

January 2013

4. Use a news angle

The Boston Marathon raises public safety concerns

5. How-To posts

How to lose 10 pounds by next Monday

6. Piggy back off a bigger brand

We Were Mentioned In Better Homes & Gardens Online Newsletter!

7.  Use specific facts or figures

10 New Photos To Share This Month…

Business Email Subject Line Ideas 6

Screen Shot Via: Signal HQ

When you create your email subject lines, it is best to keep in mind key words that have historically performed very poorly, and to avoid them at all costs. They are words such as:

  • Claim
  • Collect
  • Buy
  • Price
  • Pay

These words are not only often detected as spam by most email providers but they also do little to win over readers. No one wants to willingly read emails that prompts them to buy something from the onset.

One last rule of thumb to be mindful of is to always write email subject lines that offer clarity. Some email marketers suggest using clever subject lines, but once again, data shows that email subject lines that deliver clarity over cleverness, always wins out. Even think of yourself in this situation, more and likely you respond better to email subject lines that are transparent, clear, and straightforward versus witty and clever.

To recap, ensure that your email subject lines provides relevance to your reader, are not too sales oriented, and favor clarity over cleverness. Also don’t be afraid to test different subject lines with the same audience in order to gain insight into what they respond to best.


All in all, your overall goal should be to use your email subject line as an opportunity to bridge and develop a relationship with your subscribers. Don’t let their initial commitment to engage with your brand by signing up for your email list pass you by with lack-luster email subject lines. Wow your readers and remind them (often) why they made a wise choice to be a part of your brand by using your email subject line as the best possible starting off point. Once you do so, you will experience pay-offs that go beyond the elusive pursuit of the perfect email subject line.

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  1. Pingback: Casey Gollan: Email Subject Lines That Get You Noticed - HCI Market

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