Help! I don’t know what to put in my email subject lines

Help! I don’t know what to put in my email subject lines

Hi Aunty B,

My small business involves me spending quite a bit of time marketing via email, but I’m often a bit stuck for words when it comes to what to put in the subject line.

Any tips?



Dear Damian,

What a great question! I must admit this catches me out sometimes too; I’m also frequently guilty of peppering mine with exclamation marks and emojis to try for extra attention.

But it turns out there’s a bit of an art to what words we should use after all, according to this recent blog about a new report by Adestra into the 10 best and worst performing words in subject lines.

The report itself is said to be based on about 3 billion email sends, and has tossed up some rather interesting results.

I particularly like blog author Ayaz Nanji’s quip about mundane words that “make reading feel like work” actually being the ones that hurt engagement the most.

The study says among the worst words you can use – in what is sure to be bad news for academics, economists and politicians the world over – is “journal”, “forecast” and “whitepaper”.

“Learn” is also a big no, no, according to the report, and you should forget about using “intelligence”, “report”, “early bird” and “subscription”.

Now to the good news: the best word you can use in an email subject line with the highest above-average engagement levels (62%) is “thank you”. Yes, thank you. Well, I never.

Also good for engagement are the use of lines or ‘pipes’ to segregate topics, and using words that reference time in some way, such as “bulletin”, “breaking”, “monthly” and “order today”.

There’s a link to the full report in the blog, happy emailing Damian.

Be smart,

Aunty B


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