8 things NEVER to put in an email subject line - Darlington Marketing

8 things NEVER to put in an email subject line

August 5, 2015

These days it can be hard to get people to open and read your e-mails since people’s inboxes are quite simply overrun. And unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet to assure that your communication will reach its intended recipient, but crafting an effective e-mail subject line is an important first step to getting your message both through spam filters, and read by the end user.

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Here are a few things NOT to include in your e-mail subject line. Spam filters are getting smarter and are on the search for many of these common mistakes, so do yourself a favor and steer clear of the following:

  1. Too much punctuation and capitalization. You may want to SCREAM great deals, or get excited!!!!!!!! about a new product, but try to contain yourself. These things will send your email straight to spam. More bad news – the jury’s still out on emojis but most major e-mail providers recommend leaving them out of subject lines.


  1. Incorrect grammar or spelling. There’s no excuse for bad grammar or misspelling, and spam filters happen to agree.


  1. Blank subject lines. Tackle the subject line first, so you won’t forget.


  1. Too long. Mailchimp recommends fewer than 50 characters, always.


  1. Sentence that ends in the body of the e-mail. Cliffhangers are great for TV, but not so fun in e-mails.


  1. Too generic. Even if you do a regular mailing, saying things like Weekly Newsletter or Monthly Update lacks the creativity to get anything opened.


  1. Ignoring location in a highly targeted e-mail. If you are working from a geo-targeted list, be sure to reference the location or city in the subject, so the recipient will feel connected and compelled to open.


  1. The word Free. This is a tricky one, as conventional e-mail wisdom has been to avoid free in the subject line. However, according to testing by HubSpot, free is no longer the dirty word in e-mail it once was, so it may be worth doing some A/B testing of your own to find out.

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As always, sometimes the best way to learn and understand what works for you is to test it out yourself. Try different subject lines, conduct your own tests, and see what performs best as you continue to grow your e-mail marketing program.