6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Line

Added Tips for Writing Email Subject Lines Email subject line tip #1: character length. How long should your email subject line be? No one can agree. Litmus recommends around 50 characters. Yes Lifecycle Marketing says emails with subject line up to 20 characters have the highest average open rate, unique click rate, and click-to-open rate. To make matters worse, buyers don’t even bother opening your emails if you have terrible subject lines. Therefore, it is critical to write an appealing email subject line that would entice your recipients to open and read your emails. Here are the 6 tips to help you write an email subject line that can increase email open rate. How do you convince people that your email is worth reading? Choose your words wisely. 25 Follow-Up Email Subject Line Examples to Get You Started. Email marketing theory is great. The tips and tricks described above should help you come up with the best copy for your campaigns. But if you want a shortcut to the whole process, try the 25 subject line examples below to get started: 1.“Did you see this?”. We’ve got 7 simple tips to help you create the perfect email subject lines. Follow these and we guarantee you’ll have the best email subject lines in the business. Vary subject line length. Many email clients like gmail, yahoo, and more cut subject lines when they’re being viewed in web-based readers.

“Please what should be the subject of the mail?” was a question from my previous post on sending first email to potential supervisors. Since people still do judge a book by its cover, the email subject line should be treated as the cover of your email. Before we get into guidelines for the subject line, let’s first establish why a good one is important.

1. So that your email doesn’t end up as SPAM

This is perhaps the most compelling reason of them all. Faculty members have lots of emails to deal with daily. Some are admissions, journal updates, events, internal comms, and of course the real spam. Hence, some have filters set on their email accounts to delete or send emails—from unverified sources, with vague subject lines and with popular signs of malware—to the spam folder.

2. So that your email does not escape being read

Even if the email escapes the junk/spam folder, there is a high chance that it may not be read if it doesn’t give the reader enough information to expect its content. A nicely crafted and well researched content with a poor subject line may still not motivate the professor to open it. What a precious effort and time wasted!.

3. To make a good first impression

The first impression does not start from the salutation of the email but on the subject line. If the academic still opens the email even with a poorly written subject line, you are making them put in more effort to understand what the email is all about and that may likely count against you.

There is no one way to write a subject line. These are all guidelines to help you think of how to frame your own subject line.

1. Who you are: e.g. “Prospective PhD student”, “Graduate in Computer Science interested in doctoral study in Computer Vision”

6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Line For A


This includes information about what your current position is which gives a clue about what your intentions are. By saying you are a prospective PhD student, it gives an idea that you would be interested in PhD opportunities.

2. What topics/problems you are interested in: e.g “Student interested in XYZ problem”

This is a very specific subject line which gives the professor immediate impression that you have done your background work to know about his interests and aligned it to yours.

3. What you’re enquiring about: e.g. “Enquiry about potential PhD opportunities”, “Request for PhD supervision”, “Seeking for a PhD position”

The subject line can take the form of a statement saying what your general intentions and enquiry is about.

4. Question form: e.g. “Are you taking new graduate students this Fall 2020?”, “Is AI for Social Good studentship still open?”

This works as well especially when there is a pressing question that would stand out to the professor. For example, if the professor said on his website that he wasn’t taking students in Fall 2019 but there is no recent update about the following academic session.

Ideally, there should be no such thing as a generic email to a professor, even though the subject line may range from generic e.g. “Prospective PhD student” to specific e.g. “Student interested in XYZ problem”. What is important is that it is precise enough to get them to open and read the email. Specific email subject lines usually leave a stronger impression and motivation to read. However, they can work against you if you include details that are an immediate turnoff or evoke disinterest of the reader. For instance, if you state that you are interested in XYZ research area where XYZ is obviously not an area that the professor is interested in.

Other specific details you may include in the subject line is:

6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Line

1. Reference code or short extract of advertised project e.g. “Enquiries about AI for Future Societies (Ref: 1234567)”

It is good practice to include the Reference code or short extract of the title of a particular advertised project if you’re making enquiries about it. This gives the professor an immediate idea that the email is not a cold call but rather a response to a vacancy.

2. When you want to apply for admission e.g. “PhD Studentship Info needed: September 2020″

Specifically, if the professor had stated that they were not available to take on students in the current year, including this information could indicate that you are well informed.

3. Name of Professor’s research lab, institution: e.g. “Seeking PhD opportunity in ABC research lab”.

In cases where the professor has dual commitments, say a full professor at XYZ university but a visiting professor at ABC university, it may be useful to clarify where you are interested in working.

1. Short and concise

Keep email subject short and concise: ideally not more than 50-60 characters.

2. Don’t ask lazy questions


Don’t ask the professors questions that you can easily find on their website. An example is when professor has said that he’s not taking on any new students in Fall 2020 and you still email with the same enquiry. You waste their time and yours too. Always do your research first and save the golden opportunity to make a really good first impression. Also, ask yourself whether they are the best person to direct your email to or it’s more suited to another person or department e.g the admissions office, their personal assistant, the group head.

3. Arrange to start with more important words and phrases

Rather than say “Fall 2020 Prospective student: Research Info needed”, I would arrange it as Prospective student: Research Info needed (Fall 2020)as in this instance ‘prospective’ is a keyword and more important than ‘Fall’. Remember that some email boxes are arranged to limit the subject line. Thus, leaving the keywords to the end may not allow them to be seen on a quick glance.

4. Check if there’s a specific subject guideline

Some academics would state on their websites that email subject line should include a particular clause or sentence. Failure to do so is to risk your email being marked as SPAM. That’s why research is always key.

5. Be careful of spam content

Some universities implement spam filters to scan emails. Your genuine, nicely composed email may be sent to the junk folder if its content (also the subject line) contains suspicious details. Some examples to avoid in the subject are:

  • Use of ‘Urgent ‘ e.g. “PhD Studentship Info needed, URGENT!”
  • Excessive exclamation points!!!!!!!!!

What subject lines have you found effective for first email to faculty members and why do you think it works? Please share your thoughts below.

There is both an art and a science to writing an effective email.

And with all due respect to content marketing, email is the true king. Pound for pound, nothing delivers better results:

To summarize, email is popular – the number of worldwide users is expected to hit 4.3 billion by 2022 – powerful, and effective. It works for lead generation, acquisition, and retention. It’s the consumer-preferred communication channel for retail, travel and hospitality, entertainment, non-profit, digital media, publication, and many other industries.


Point of story? Use it. If you’re not yet, start today. And if you are already, use it more often.

That’s the good news. The ‘bad’ news? It’s not as simple as cranking out quick messages and sending them out. To do it well, you need to study it, practice it, track it, and tweak it.

Stick to best practices, stay abreast of changes and trends, try a few battle-tested formulas, and automate whenever possible to squeeze every drop of potential from it.

For example, try these tips and tricks to make a good tactic even better:

  • Using a real name in the sender field can increase both open and click-through rates by as much as 35%.
  • A segmented email campaign generates 14.31% more opens, 100.95% more clicks, and 3.90% fewer abuse reports.
  • Emails with a visual component have a better open (26.89%) and click-through rate (4.36%) than those with just text.

Your email message needs to be short, concise, and personalized. And you absolutely, positively mustfollow-up on unanswered messages.

Another study from Yesware showed a bigger drop at each subsequent message, but the response rates were still high enough to make it worthwhile.

The more messages you send, the more opportunities your recipient has to respond to you. But don’t just send the same exact message seven times. That will annoy your target, damage your reputation, and possibly get you relegated to the spam folder (where businesses go to die).

Just as there’s an art and science to writing an initial email, there’s a separate art and science to writing an effective follow-up email. They may be the same species, but they are most definitely different breeds.

When it comes to email marketing and outreach, it’s follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

The Secret Sauce

That said, your subject line is even more important in your follow up email. It’s your calling card, your introduction. It’s what gets you in the door. David Ogilvy famously said that your headline is 80 cents out of your dollar.

Your subject line is your headline. Spend that 80 cents wisely.

  • Nearly half of people (47%) decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone.
  • 62% of recipients open an email based on a personalized subject line.
  • A personalized subject line can deliver a 29.3% open rate lift.

You need compelling and enticing email copy, of course. But if your subject line falls short, no one is going to see it anyway.

Ready to try a follow-up email campaign? Give your follow-up subject lines a shot in the arm with these 9 tips.

There are a lot of dos and don’ts on the web when it comes to, well, everything. And most of it is good advice.

But sometimes it’s worth the risk to toss it all out the window and see what happens. The results might surprise you.


For example, most how-to guides warn about using emojis in your subject lines because it makes you look amateurish and grabs the attention of spam filters.

However, subject lines with emojis have a higher read and placement rate than those that are text-based, especially around the holidays.

Emojis definitely stand out in a crowded inbox, and grabbing the reader’s attention is an important element of email engagement. There aren’t a lot of email marketers using them today, so there’s a novelty factor involved.” ~Tom Sather, Sr. Director of Research at Return Path

Furthermore, spam trigger words like ‘free’ are best avoided, but a select few might actually increase your open and click-through rates when used sparingly. Because everyone ignores them, these words can make your email stand out in an inbox. The only way to find out? Test and see.

Consider the amount of emails we receive on a typical day. It’s in the dozens, if not hundreds, so anything you can do to draw attention to a previous connection – no matter how tenuous – is worth the effort.

If an email is a follow-up email, point that out in your subject line. Maybe the recipient read your previous message and meant to respond, in which case you’re in. If not, he or she may at least recognize your name and click to see what you have to say this time. Worst-case scenario? Your name will sound vaguely familiar – giving you an edge over the other 32 emails clogging their inbox – while your reference to a previous message seals the deal.

A follow-up email that just repeats the previous one verbatim – or even in a different way – is not going to convert. It’s been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

It won’t happen.

Your follow-up subject line needs to sweeten the deal with a coupon, discount, or limited time offer, highlight a different benefit, or appeal to a different emotion.

Give them a new reason to open your second (or third, or fourth) email that they didn’t have before. Hit the right trigger, and they’ll click and convert.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Put yourself in the shoes of your intended target. Why would that person not respond to an email? If you can identify it, you can address it in your subject line.

Too expensive? Offer a discount. Security concerns? Demonstrate your trustworthiness. Wrong pain point? Switch it up.

To do this, you need an intimate understanding of your target audience, and you can get that from the creation of detailed buyer personas. You have those, right?

Identify and remove the friction points = a higher open rate.

Ever get an email from [email protected] or [email protected]? We all have. Ever felt compelled to open it? Probably not.

We respond to people, not departments. A quick fix for your subject line or sender field is to use your real name.

Use the same name in each follow-up message. Names mean real individuals, not bots or spam.

Hubspot increased both the open rate and click-through rate simply by changing the sender from “Hubspot” to “Maggie Georgieva, Hubspot.”

How’s that for a quick win?

When it comes to our inbox, we don’t like surprises. Your subject line should explicitly state what is in the email. No cutesy puns, no word play, just a simple statement of fact.

If it’s an invitation to a free trial, say that. If it’s a download link for your new ebook, tell them so. Clear beats clever every day of the week.

The most effective subject lines usually fall into one of three broad categories: benefit, logic, or threat.

Benefit? Highlight an advantage to the reader. Logic? It’s something everyone wants or needs, and appeals to common sense. Threat? Create some urgency and/or play on their fear of missing out (FOMO).

If your initial email utilizing benefits didn’t get a response, try a subject line that leans on logic or threat. Mix it up.

I’ve already suggested you ignore conventional wisdom at least sometimes. That doesn’t mean you should do it all the time. Some things are taboo for a very good reason.

Five of the best of the worst? Using re: or fwd: in your subject line, having way too many emojis (one, maybe two, at most), YELLING IN ALL-CAPS, spelling mistakes, and more than one spam trigger word (and even when you use one, it should be a limited-run test scenario).

Don’t do any of those. Free bible download for pcleadingdwnload.

Finding what ultimately works best for you and your recipients is going to be a trial-and-error affair. So try. Fail. Hypothesize and test your subject line ideas to confirm and validate.

Keep trying. Keep testing. The better you get with them, the more your email copy will see the light of day (so keep trying, testing, and learning about that, too).

It does get easier. And faster. And more efficient.

Spend your 80 cents wisely so you can get more from the remaining 20. Subject lines matter.

Email marketing theory is great. The tips and tricks described above should help you come up with the best copy for your campaigns.

But if you want a shortcut to the whole process, try the 25 subject line examples below to get started:

1.“Did you see this?”

Use this subject line to share recent news items about your company or to call attention to features your recipient may not know about.

2. “Another question for you”

This subject line works best if you’re sending multiple follow-ups. Build on past engagement by continuing to gather more information.

3. “A quick favor”

People want to be helpful. Give them a quick task to do that takes them further into your sales funnel.

4. “Your feedback?”

Similarly, people love to share their thoughts. Show how much you value their opinion by asking for their feedback.

5. “What do you think?”

This broad subject line can be used plenty of different ways. Sharing an article about a trend in your industry, for example, demonstrates that you appreciate their professional opinion.

6. “What would you say?”

Use this subject line to invite recipients to a meeting (or to take any other desired action).

7. “Can you help?”

Make a genuine request to build your relationship.

8. “10 minutes of your time?”

This simple and direct follow-up can be used when you’ve got an engaged prospect you want to get on the phone.

9. “A new ebook for you”

Use resources like ebooks to keep the conversation going.

10. “I think you’ll like this article”

If you don’t have resources of your own to share, pull one from a reputable industry source to create the same effect.

11. “Have you dealt with this before?”

Emphasize the pain points you’ve solved for other customers to prove your expertise to recipients.

12. “Just one day left”

6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Lines

If you have a promotion that’s close to ending, use a follow-up subject line like this to inspire that all-important FOMO.

13. “Closing soon”

But be real. If your promotion isn’t actually closing soon, don’t lie about it in your email.

14. “Let’s get started”

This simple, direct subject line gets to the point and shows you’re serious about helping your recipient.

15. “Can we chat tomorrow?”

Chats are simple and non-threatening. Putting a timeframe on your request makes it more concrete.

16. “Let’s connect”

6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Line

When concrete isn’t appropriate, keep your request more vague. But make it clear you’re still interested in working together.

17. “Next steps”

Send this subject line to practical recipients. They’ll be primed and ready to take action.

18. “X ways to get started”

6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Line Example

Even better, expand on what’s needed to get started. People love lists.

19. “The information I promised”

If you’ve promised to share resources or information with prospects, a subject line like this creates a nice new touchpoint.

20. “I forgot to mention”

If you happen to “forget” something in conversation, this follow-up email subject line helps you keep the conversation going.

21. “Will you be there?”

If you’ll be attending an industry event or event in your area, reach out to prospects who might be there as well with this follow-up line.

22. “Have you tried this?”

Adapt this one for your needs. Use it to lead into messages on anything from problem-solving tips to new restaurants.

23. “Who else can I help?”

Usually, you should wait to ask for referrals until you’ve proven your value to a customer. But if prospects aren’t responding, why not throw in a Hail Mary request to see if they can send you in someone else’s direction?

24. “Are you still interested?”

If the conversation’s stopped, there’s nothing wrong with asking whether you should keep reaching out.

6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Email Subject Line Examples

25. “I’ll leave you alone”

Finally, this subject line formula lets you exit the conversation gracefully, without ghosting on recipients. And who knows? It might just get the attention of a prospect who’s been interested, but too busy to follow up with you.

What’s your go-to formula for scintillating subject lines? Leave your ideas in the comments below: