Effective Email Subject Lines: Boost Results with These Pro Tips

Effective Email Marketing Tips for Business Growth

This article covers our top email marketing tips for writing effective email subject lines. Let's face it: if your email does not get opened, nothing else matters. Read on to learn our top tips from veteran email marketer Michael Bernzweig. Email marketing remains one of the most effective digital marketing channels for businesses looking to acquire new customers and nurture existing ones. Studies show that email achieves a median return on investment (ROI) of 122% for every $1 spent. With the right strategies, businesses can leverage the power of email to boost brand awareness, increase sales, and foster customer loyalty.

Our VIdeo on How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines

In this video, email marketing expert Michael Bernzweig shares his top tips for writing effective email subject lines that get opened. He covers using relevant keywords, personalizing subject lines with names and interests, and A/B testing different versions. Bernzweig explains these email marketing best practices in depth to help viewers optimize subject lines to boost open rates.

The Importance of Building Your Email List

The foundation of any successful email marketing initiative is a targeted email list. Michael Bernzweig, an email marketing expert with over 25 years of experience, recommends using relevant keywords in subject lines to help emails get past spam filters. When recipients scan their inboxes, keywords also allow them to identify what the email is about quickly. Some best practices around keywords include:

  • Use 2-3 keywords relevant to your email content
  • Put the most important keywords first
  • Only use keywords your target audience commonly searches for

Bernzweig also advises personalizing subject lines whenever possible, as this has been shown to increase open rates. You can personalize by including the recipient's first name, referencing past purchases or interests, or mentioning essential dates like birthdays.

Michael Suggests “Some of the best practices for keywords are to include two to three keywords that are relevant to your email content. Put the most important keywords first. Only use keywords your audience commonly searches for.”

Michael Bernzweig looking at the email marketing software category page on the Software Oasis website.
Michael Bernzweig looks over the email marketing software category page on the Software Oasis website while recording a video on email marketing tips.

Crafting Email Content That Converts

Once you've captured attention with your subject line, the email content needs to motivate the reader to act. Here are some tips for creating emails that convert:

Personalize Content

Personalizing email content by including the recipient's name, location, or past purchases makes the message feel more relevant. Use dynamic elements like merge tags to insert personalized details into your emails.

Use Visuals

Images, gifs, and videos make emails more visually engaging and appealing. But be mindful of file sizes, as large files can prevent emails from loading correctly on mobile devices.

Highlight Benefits

Focus on communicating your product or service's key benefits rather than just features. Explain how you can tangibly improve your customer's life.

Strong CTAs

Every email should contain a clear call to action, prompting the reader to visit your site, purchase, or contact you. Bold, contrasting CTAs help draw attention.

A/B Test Content

Try different versions of email content to see what resonates most with your audience. Test subject lines, content, layouts, CTAs, and more.

Segment Your List

Divide your list into segments: location, interests, or past purchases. Then, tailor content to each segment for a more personalized experience.

Michael suggests “Personalized subject lines have a much higher open rate because they feel more relevant to the recipient so some different ways that you can personalize your Subject lines include including a first name so John here's your weekly newsletter something like that Reference past purchases or interests.”

Automating Your Emails for Maximum Impact

With the right email marketing platform, you can set up triggered emails to go out automatically when a subscriber takes a desired action. For example, you can send cart abandonment emails if items remain in the shopping cart without checkout.

You can also set up a welcome email series that goes out to new subscribers over the course of several days or weeks. These emails introduce your brand, offer discounts, and provide helpful content to new contacts.

Finally, setting up regularly scheduled newsletters keeps your business top of mind. But test send times to determine when your audience is most engaged.

Continuously Optimizing Through Testing

Michael advises, “Test different keywords and phrases. Test personalized versus generic subject lines. You might be surprised. Typically a personalized subject line will do better, but you never know. Test different calls to action, you know, whether it's shop now, see new products, limited time sale, that type of thing.”

To maximize email performance, you need to test and analyze results continuously. Follow these tips for optimization:

A/B Test Email Subject Lines

A/B testing different versions of email subject lines is crucial for determining what resonates most with your subscribers. Try testing different subject line lengths – some experts recommend between 50-60 characters. Test personalized subject lines against more generic ones. Although personalized typically perform better, results can vary. Experiment with different calls-to-action and keywords as well. The goal is to test and analyze open rates to optimize subject lines continuously.

Review Open and Click-Through Rates

Carefully monitor open and click-through rates for each email campaign. Low open rates likely indicate ineffective subject lines that need improvement. Low click-through rates could mean the content needs reworking to be more engaging. Review metrics for each email to identify poorly performing ones compared to your averages. Then, focus on revising those emails to boost open and click-through rates.

Track Unsubscribes to Refine Your List

Pay attention to any uptick in unsubscribes, which may signal issues with relevance or email fatigue. Try surveying unsubscribers to understand better why. With their feedback, you can refine your list by removing unengaged contacts. Create a re-engagement campaign for those open to receiving emails again to win them back. Continuously monitoring unsubscribes enables list maintenance and optimization.

Monitor Deliverability to Ensure Email Reach

Deliverability refers to emails making it to the recipient's inbox vs. getting blocked or sent to spam. Monitor key deliverability metrics like bounce rates and spam complaints. High bounce rates mean invalid email addresses to remove. Spam complaints indicate emails are getting flagged as spam. Deliverability issues reduce email reach, so stay on top of inbox placement to ensure subscribers receive your messages.

By continually testing and optimizing your email campaigns, you can achieve higher open rates, click-through rates, and, most importantly, ROI from your email marketing efforts.

Michael suggests, “Write subject lines that easily allow A-B testing. So you could send a portion of your list to your group A and a portion of your list to group B.”

Key Takeaways

  • Build a targeted email list with attention-grabbing subject lines and personalization.
  • Create scannable, benefit-focused content with a solid call to action.
  • Automate triggered and scheduled emails for maximum impact.
  • Continuously test and optimize to improve email performance.


With the right strategies, email marketing can become an invaluable channel for acquiring and retaining customers. By following these best practices, your business can leverage the power of email to drive sustainable growth and profitability.

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