Email remains one of the most efficient means of communication when reaching potential customers. Drafting and distributing mass emails is relatively easy; getting potential customers to open those emails is not.

For a potential customer to open an email, they must be interested in it. You have one shot to cultivate this interest—through the email subject line. Craft a great subject line, and the number of clicks it receives will rise. In contrast, if that subject line is not attention-grabbing, it will end up in most people’s trash folder.

Here are some do’s and don’ts when formulating those tricky subject lines:

  • DO limit the number of words you use.
    Studies show that subject lines ranging from three to seven words have the highest engagement rates. These short lines give people a small taste of what the email is about but leaves them curious enough to want more.
  • DON’T use special characters or all caps.
    Use of special characters (!, #, @) and all caps lettering can increase an email’s risk to end up in a SPAM folder. They can also delegitimize your message.
  • DO be clear and concise.
    People stay busy. If a message doesn’t get to the point quickly and clearly, it’s likely going to a person’s trash folder without a second thought. Make your subject line and email worth their time.
  • DON’T use industry jargon.
    Unless you are sending an email to fellow industry workers, the likelihood of them knowing what your jargon words mean is slim to none.
  • DO include a call to action.
    Is there a next step you’re wanting your potential customer to take? Including a call to action in the subject line will help them understand there is action required on their end.
  • DON’T craft deceptive subject lines.
    Do not use a subject line that does not correlate with your email’s message. Those who receive it will likely feel you have deceived them and wasted their time. Nothing will make a recipient delete an email or send complaints faster.