First Impressions Count

First Impressions Count

10-minute read

When it comes to email subject lines, it seems that first impressions really do count. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a really great offer or a compelling story you want to share with your audience - if you don’t have a catchy email subject line, it’s highly unlikely that your email content will even get read!

According to statistics, 47% of recipients will open emails based on the subject line alone. So even if you have the best email ever, almost half of your audience will switch off if the subject line doesn’t entice them to open it. More alarmingly, 69% of recipients will report an email as spam, based solely on the subject line.

So how do you get over this hurdle and encourage more people to open your email communications? We’ve used statistics from across the web and our own insight to provide some top tips...


Short and snappy

Statistics reveal that the shorter a headline is, the more open rates you’ll receive. Most readers are bombarded with messages and have short attention spans - they want to get to the good stuff as quickly as possible and don’t have time to read pages and pages of content.  Between 6-10 words on a subject line seems to be the magic number, with an average open rate of 21%.


How many times have you received a generic email offer and felt compelled to open it? Most of us will dismiss generic emails because they don’t relate to us. But as soon as an email becomes personalised, whether it’s including your name or writing about a subject that you really care about, you’re instantly more likely to engage with the message. 

We work with our clients to personalise communications through audience segmentation. Segmenting your audience based on gender, age and motivations can be a really effective way of creating more engaging content. You could also tailor content to individual lifestyle needs. By knowing lifestyle information about your audience, like whether they have children, pets or specific interests, you can really begin to tailor your communications for relevance.

Create urgency

Bringing urgency to your subject lines can increase open rates by 22%. Adding exclusivity to your email by using time-sensitive language or adding a time frame for someone to respond can also increase the chances of them reading the content. 

Think mobile

We live in an increasingly mobile world. 40% of emails are opened on a mobile first, so to reach as many people as possible and engage with your audience, consider optimising your content and subject lines for portable devices. 

Don’t mislead your audience

It can be tempting to add content to your subject lines to encourage people to open them. But if you make a claim in your subject line (e.g. open me to receive £10 million) then you need to be able to support it. If a reader opens your email and doesn’t find what they are looking for, it could damage your credibility.  Get creative and add excitement to your subject lines but be aware when you might be going a little OTT. Use verbs such as 'Discover' to engage readers and create mystic with perhaps an ambiguous subject that entices them to open - ask them a question, pose them a problem - make them think about it, rather than just a statement that they may allow them to just disqualify themselves immediately.

To discuss how we can help with your email communications, get in touch with the team today and watch this space for further developments.



First impressions count graphic

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Matt Clark
Matt Clark
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