Quotes on subject lines

What writers and others say

Quotes on subject lines

“Any time you are tempted to write the word ‘email’ in the subject line of your email, step back, reflect, and grind your teeth a bit. Don’t do it. You don’t begin a phone conversation with the greeting ‘Hello, this is a phone call.’ The user gets that. What they want is — the info. The message. Lead with that.” — Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group. Image by Pavan Trikutam


“When time is scarce, a subject line like ‘The world looks different through a Nikon’ is likely to win out over ‘Some exciting news!’ or “Re: ‘C#13012205.’”
— Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group

“A subject line is not an afterthought or the place to try out auto-generated product codes the customer does not understand.”
— Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group

“A subject line is like a newspaper headline, a title on a book’s spine, or the key slogan of a print media ad. It tells the user what this is all about. And it should do so in sparkling style — seamlessly channeling your brand.”
— Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group

“‘DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL’ so often sounds like ‘DO NOT GIVE US ANY MORE OF YOUR BUSINESS.’”
— Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group

Quotes on subject lines


“Imagine a news headline that reads ‘news story’ or a book on the shelf titled ‘book title.’ Not very helpful, right? And yet to this day I continue to get emails with the subject line, ‘Email Confirmation.’”
— Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group

“Any time you are tempted to write the word ’email’ in the subject line of your email, step back, reflect, and grind your teeth a bit. Don’t do it. You don’t begin a phone conversation with the greeting ‘Hello, this is a phone call.’ The user gets that. What they want is — the info. The message. Lead with that.”
— Win Goodbody, senior product manager, Sitka Technology Group

“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”
— MailChimp

“People are flooded with spam and increasingly pressed for time. Vague teasers, constant reminders, and pleas for money are not going to cut through the inbox clutter.”
— MailChimp

Quotes on subject lines


“Not all of your emails will get opened all the time. Even market leaders routinely have less than half of their emails opened on a campaign-by-campaign basis.”
— Parry Malm, account director, Adestra

“If you aren’t split testing your subject line, start now. BUT, if you are split testing follow this cardinal rule: Be creative but don’t be crazy.”
— Parry Malm, account director, Adestra

“If you used the subject line ‘Free Beer!’ then guess what? You’ll get a huge amount of opens. But unless the contents of the email actually pour your customers a beer, then you’ll have achieved nothing but short term response gain and long term brand harm.”
— Parry Malm, account director, Adestra

“The word ‘newsletter’ harks back to the day of receiving a posted and photocopied A4 list of stories.”
— Parry Malm, account director, Adestra

Quotes on subject lines


“The statistics also show something ground-breaking: People love to save money! In related news, water is wet.”
— Parry Malm, account director, Adestra

“Content marketing works when the content isn’t crap.”
— Parry Malm, account director, Adestra

“Nothing says spam quite like a shouty, capped up subject line. It makes it difficult to read and is unlikely to have the desired effect of grabbing the reader’s attention.”
— David Moth, deputy editor, Econsultancy

“Nothing says ‘I’m dodgy’ quite like a capped up subject line offering a ‘LEGIT LOAN @ 3%.’”
— David Moth, deputy editor, Econsultancy

“I’m going to stick my neck out and say that using more than one exclamation mark looks spammy and should be avoided.”
— David Moth, deputy editor, Econsultancy

Quotes on subject lines


“Email marketing is fast becoming the new black.”
— Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter, Briar Copywriting

“We sometimes forget: Every email subject line is a pitch.”
— Daniel Pink, author, To Sell is Human

“One word can make a big difference.”
— Neel Shivdasani, data scientist at MailChimp

“The content of your message is really what determines which words you use, but with so few words in a subject line, each one matters quite a lot.”
— Neel Shivdasani, data scientist at MailChimp

“I always ask myself one question before opening an email pretty much solely based on the effectiveness of the subject line: If I open this email, will it be a waste of time?”
— Ginny Soskey, staff writer for HubSpot’s inbound marketing blog
  • Get Read

    Make it valuable, interesting, easy

    Assuming your audience members do open your message, people spend an average of just 11.1 seconds on each email they review. That’s enough time to read about 37 words.

    Get Read: Make it valuable, interesting, easy

    No wonder the No. 1 piece of advice email readers give email writers is to keep it short.

    Because people read, on average, just 37 words of their emails.
    At Inside the Inbox — our two-day hands-on email-writing master class on Nov. 7-8 in Washington D.C. — you’ll learn to beat those odds to get your message read. Specifically, you’ll learn to:

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    • Make it clever … but not too clever. Readers complain when your email isn't clever, edgy, insightful or witty enough. They also complain if it's too cutesy. Find the fine line between interesting and silly.

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