We all know it. Every day we receive countless newsletters and promotional emails with seemingly unbeatable offers. With this flood of information and overflowing inboxes, it is important to stand out from the crowd. Within seconds, recipients decide whether to open your email or not. In many cases, optimising subject lines can therefore have a lasting effect on the purchase decision and thus mean cash or a considerable increase in brand affinity. But what sounds completely obvious at first glance often fails when it comes to practical implementation. In this blog post, we will give you valuable tips to help you create an attention-grabbing subject line and increase the interaction rates of your emails.

A few steps to the optimal subject line

The subject line is not the summary of content from your email. It is much more. It forms the recipient’s first impression, it captivates and arouses curiosity. So if you want recipients to open, read and interact with your content, a short and snappy subject line is essential.

Here are our top 9 tips for an irresistible subject line and a higher open rate.

1. The 2-2-2 formula for subject lines

First of all, we have a general tip for you! 2-2-2 stands for “2 seconds”, “2 words” and “2 day”. So you have two seconds to convince your readers with the subject line. Therefore, always ask yourself the question: Can I actually read and understand my subject line in two seconds? The first two words of the subject line are the most important and should contain the core of the message. With “2 day”, the formula makes clear that you should convey urgency to the reader to read the mail directly. Otherwise, there is a risk that the mail will be completely lost.

2. Get to the point

Consider in advance what advantage or added value your email offers recipients. Subject lines should be short and concise. Depending on the email client used, only a certain number of characters will be displayed in the inbox. Since a lot of emails are opened on mobile devices, it is recommended to generally limit subject lines to 30 to 50 characters. The most important information should always be at the beginning and the user must be able to grasp the core message at first glance.

Having trouble keeping it short? Just concentrate on the most important terms and delete the rest of the information. In the case of regularly sent emails, you can easily dispense with terms such as “newsletter”, as these usually lead to a lower opening rate. You should avoid misleading wording that creates false expectations about the content of the email, as this can also lead to problems from a legal point of view.

3. Creativity arouses curiosity

With subject lines that only contain “Newsletter of Travel Point Ltd.”, you will have a hard time standing out from the crowd. “Breaking the mould with subject lines can therefore be very rewarding. With humour and creativity you will achieve a quick effect and formulate appealing subject lines. Use puns, word jokes, allusions or visual building blocks. Often, asking a question can make recipients more curious about the content of your email than simply stating facts. Never disregard the 2-2-2 formula in anything you do (see tip 1). Even if you come up with something new and creative, clarity and comprehensibility are important.

4. Personalisation and exclusivity

Your own name is always an eye-catcher – naturally also in subject lines. Personalisation inspires recipients’ trust and establishes a relationship with them. But less is more. The effect of personalisation can quickly wear off if it is used too often. Recipients whose names are not available should always be given an alternative subject line so that they do not have to experience unsuccessful personalisation attempts.

In case you do not want to or cannot use personalisation tokens in subject lines, we recommend at least using the direct form of address “You/Your”. This gives recipients the feeling that they are being addressed personally. Instead of the name, other personal characteristics such as the company, the city or the last purchase can also attract attention. Also convey exclusivity to your readers (“Exclusively for you”) and give them the feeling that they belong to a selected group of people. This will give them a sense of belonging, which can have a positive impact on their loyalty and the conversion rate of your emails.

5. Correlation of subject and preheader

It’s a good idea to align your subject and preheader, as they will be right next to each other in your recipients’ inboxes. Putting a call-to-action in the subject (“Only register until June 12th.”) and picking up the context in the preheader (“Digital Conference on September 13th.”) has proven to be very effective.

6. Urgency and conciseness

Ask your readers to take a specific action “now” in the subject line, suggesting a sense of urgency and brevity. People are often afraid of missing out. (e.g. “20% off everything today only”). Be creative in your wording and only use it when direct action is required.

7. Numbers, symbols, abbreviations

The use of numbers, symbols and abbreviations is an effective marketing tool in subject lines. They save space, can be used flexibly, are sometimes even more attention-grabbing and there is a good chance that the email will stand out from the flood in the inbox.

8. Avoid spam terms

Spammers often try to lure users with subject lines that are as eye-catching as possible, e.g. by using completely capitalised terms, inflationary use of special characters or catchwords such as “free”. Such elements should therefore be handled very sensitively, not only to avoid problems with spam filters, users could also perceive this as frivolous. Therefore, check every email before it is filtered in spam filters. Many email marketing solutions have tools for this purpose.

9. Don’t forget to test!

Every company is unique and what suits company A, does not necessarily apply to company B. Therefore, it is advisable to always consider your individual requirements and those of your customers. A/B tests can be very helpful here. Test which subject lines work best with your customers on which days and at which times the probability of opening the newsletter is highest.


Subject lines are the headlines of your emails, the eye catchers in the inbox. They should be short, understandable, personal and specific. Subject lines are a decisive adjusting screw with which you increase the opening rate of mailings. Of course, you don’t have to apply every single tip to every subject line. Use our tips as a guide to handling this small but crucial part of your mailings: the subject line.


This is a use case from our Whitepaper: Mobile omnichannel in digital dialogue marketing. With the help of 9 further exciting use cases, we will show you how you can expand and optimise your digital dialogue marketing with mobile channels.

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