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4 Smart Tactics to Increase Email Opens & Engagement

Is your business taking full advantage of one of the simplest ways to get your customers’ attention? After all, every email has a subject line. But how you put it to work is up to you. Assuming you have clean customer lists and are sending relevant messages to a properly targeted audience, here are some effective ways to set your emails apart and encourage customers to engage with them.

Keep it brief

A good rule of thumb for winning subject lines is to keep them brief, bearing in mind that emails are increasingly viewed on phones and mobile devices, where text is likely to get cut off. Generally, 30-40 characters (including spaces) is optimal. Looking at it another way, marketing industry website Invespo reports that subject lines with a length of 6-10 words receive a 21% open rate, while those with five words and fewer score 16%. Anything beyond 10 words scored lower. Of course, bear in mind the industry you are working in and adjust accordingly.

Personalize it

A person’s interest in something is peaked when they see their own name attached to it, and of course that extends to email. When you address someone personally in a subject line, it implies a relationship and garners their attention. And that may mean they place more importance on what you’re sending. Personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened than those that aren’t, according to Invespo. Other locations for personalization include the preheader, where more characters (typically a maximum of 80-90) are available, or in the email content itself.


Inquiring minds want to know

Take a look at the emails your inbox holds right now. Chances are, most have subject lines that are declarative statements like “Sale! 20% off today only” or “Sail away with 60,000 miles.” Try flipping the script with a question mark instead—it might help your email stand out. Marketing industry website reports that emails using a question rather than a statement as their subject line have an 11% higher overall open rate. But vet your choices thoroughly to avoid sounding “spammy” and ending up in the junk folder. For example, “free,” “credit,” “buy,” “cash,” and scores of other salesy terms have traditionally been known to trigger spam filters.

Emote a little

Like it or not, emojis are here to stay—they’ve even had their own movie (the less said about that, the better). But according to, brands using emojis in their subject lines have helped increase B2C open rates by as much as 31% (and 34% B2B). So, even if you’re not a big proponent of communicating with emojis, it may be time to take advantage of their ability to get people’s attention. 😇 According to an Econsultancy study, the top five emojis include a star, airplane, two kinds of hearts, and the good old smiley face. But employing lesser-used emojis may actually help your email stand out even more, so look for some different possibilities. Again, it’s a good idea to take into consideration the customers or industry you’re emailing for best results.

There are many other ways to help your emails stand out. Want more information or other helpful marketing tips like these? Get in touch with us today.

118 Critical Email Marketing Tips, volumes 1 & 2, (various reports)

About Trellist

Trellist is a professional services firm delivering performance-driven business solutions that are flexible, innovative, and optimized to maximize efficiency and return. The firm consults on, and integrates, data with marketing, design, technology, and digital services for clients at the global, national, and regional level. Trellist utilizes a unique approach to business—from the firm's employee-shared structure, to how it partners with its clients. 


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