5 Ways To get Your Subject Line Noticed

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Sphere PR’s Louise Roberts has the low down on what makes a good email subject line.

It is a constant challenge for marketers to try and stand out in the chaotic world of email newsletters.

People are time poor and as a brand, you are in a competition with many other companies. Merely creating a great newsletter is just the beginning, but you need to sell it through your subject line and failing to do this will mean that your open rates will be dismal.

To win any fight you need tactics, and capturing the attention of your customers and prospects is no different. We understand it can be challenging, which is why we have provided you with these five tips to get your subject line noticed.

Target before you fire

A simple error a brand can make is to send the same newsletter to everybody on their database. It could be debated that this tactic is effective and it can work for some, but for the majority of B2B companies, your customers and prospects will want completely different things. In the B2B sector, prospects want you to solve their challenges and unlike your customers, they probably aren’t interested in company news and developments. The best approach is to segment your targets and hone your messaging and consequently your newsletters will be much more effective.

Use strong keywords and avoid ‘monthly’

As with editorial pitch emails to journalists, subject lines really do matter. What’s more, the keywords in the subject lines really make a difference.

Marketers are obsessed with open rates and subject lines are the solution to increasing this score. Just to give you a bit of insight into the most effective keywords to use in subject lines for B2B from a recent Adestra report. For example using “daily” in your subject line has been proven to increase open rates by 12.6% and “weekly” by 27.5%.

“Monthly” on the other hand, has shown a decrease of 6.4% in open rates and an increase of 134.6% unsubscribes. If you can build momentum and become an anticipated email by distributing them daily or weekly instead of monthly and remembering to specify it in the subject line, is an extremely effective approach.

Be very specific

Your email subject lines need to be concise and tell the recipient the reason they should open the email.

To do this effectively you need to get straight to the point and be very specific. You can achieve this either by stating what your email is about, or even better you could use a good statistic, fact or quote to generate their interest. And above all make it both relevant and interesting. As a marketer, the best thing you can do is test different strategies to see what works and what doesn’t.

Remember the preview pane

I think you should now have got the message about the importance of subject lines and while this is essential to increasing your open rates, a lot of email servers give you more than just the subject line to work with.

Two tactics I’ve come across are to firstly exploit the fact that some email systems include a preview pane of your email, so the recipient can read the first paragraph without opening it. If you carefully consider the wording of your heading and first paragraph, ensuring they are both compelling, this will increase your open rate and will avoid them from ignoring your newsletter altogether. The second important tactic is to include the name of your company in the ‘from’ field, i.e. Louise from Sphere PR.


Solely using the recipients’ first name doesn’t quite cut it these days. Personalisation in marketing is not a new concept, but it has become a great deal more than just including a name. Instead you need to tailor your newsletter and email introduction. This is why targeting your messaging to specific people, sectors or companies is so crucial.

Differentiating the details in the subject line is essential, especially if you are doing an international campaign. Seasons and national holidays are two examples of events that won’t always apply to all of your target audiences and getting it wrong can increase your unsubscribe rate rather than boost your open rate. Marketing automation is another particularly effective tactic, as you can use details of the actions taken on your website by the customer or prospect and develop a newsletter theme around those actions.

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