7 Ways to Add Oomph! To Your Subject Lines


Does your campaign need a little fresh air before the summer comes? But June’s round the corner, budget dollars are scarce, and you’re in an inspiration void. Solution? Start with the subject line! It’s at the forefront of your campaign and can make it skyrocket – or sink. It’s the easiest to modify, update and test. But at the same time, it’s tough to make it really stand out and attract. What are the recent trends in making emails stand out in a crowded inbox?


1. Say it with §£!@#$%^*%:)&

Subject lines full of %%, $$ and OFF are a bit cliché and definitely won’t make you sound original and unique.



However, there’s an alternative way to say it with symbols now! The unicode symbols are being rendered correctly in subject lines by more and more email clients and services, so they’ve been steadily growing in popularity.

They definitely increase visibility but were quickly adopted by a certain type of email marketers – thus you need to decide whether you want to adopt them and whether they really will work.



If you decide to use any of them: TEST, TEST, TEST! Check whether it renders properly in all major inboxes. Split test to make sure it will really boost your CTR!


A trick that I find cool and interesting is to use punctuation marks to say more with less – as long as it still makes sense.



2. Say it with CAPITALS

You see them all the time and so they have become something that no longer draws the reader’s eye.



So it might make more sense if you use all caps in a consistent way, e.g. like HUGO BOSS –always spelling their brand name in capitals.



BTW – did you know that eliminating capitals entirely, as a method for standing out, has also been tried by some marketers – and with what effect? Decide for yourself.



3. Say it LOUD!

Capitals sound (or look?) okay when you want to accentuate your exclamation! At least then they seem to be in the right place. And they do create the impression that the subject line is SCREAMIN’ AT YOU… whether you like it or not.



OH! By the way, avoid being too informal – on the verge of abusive. “WTF” is not “OMG” – and there’s nothing inviting and encouraging about it. A certain level of email etiquette still applies.


4. Or say it QUIET…

If you can try to make the title look “loud” you can definitely try to make it look “quiet”. And with the same effect – more attention guaranteed.



5. Say it with DIGITS

It’s a great way to achieve a sort of “rhythm” and draw the reader’s attention at the same time (and I don’t mean $50 or 50%).



6. Just SAY IT!

Whether it’s a purposeful “method” or just a complete lack of creative inspiration, I’m not sure. To me saying what you want to say in an overt, snap and matter-of-fact way seems a bit crude and discouraging… After all subject lines should tell me that this is what I want and need. These don’t.



7. Say it with STYLE!

This is probably the hardest button to push. “Style” requires your subject line to sound funny, polite, brief, yet practical and substantial. My favorites are the ones that include word puzzles, alliterations, rhymes and good rhythm.



They don’t even say much about the offer but are interesting and attractive enough to make me want to open.

And aren’t opens what it’s all about?


P.S. If you’ve got an nice example of a newsletter subject line that “opened” (or one that was a complete failure) – let us know in comments – we love real life examples!