6 Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid
09 Apr 2018

6 Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid

The right subject line can make even the busiest person stop for a second to open your email. That is probably why marketers place so much importance on these headlines. Despite the fact that some marketers test subject lines repeatedly to get it right, many marketers are repeatedly making subject line mistakes and suffering for it in the inbox. We’ve put together a list of 6 common subject line fumbles to help you avoid the embarrassment of a bad subject line.


  1. Sending Placeholder Copy. Often email teams write inside jokes or simply “TKTKTKTKTK” in the place of the subject line before the copy is finalized. If you are adding placeholder copy to your emails just to test how images are rendering or the length of the text, make sure you remove them before your email goes out. Companies that forget to correct this copy become a joke to customers, who are likely to hit the delete button instead of opening up the email to see what is inside. Your email is a representative of your brand, so it is critical to ensure you are sending actual marketing copy and not placeholder text.


  1. Using Misleading Copy. If you are not having a major sale, then don’t put it in your subject line. A subject line is a promise to customers about what they are about to see when they open the email. Don’t put something in the subject line that isn’t true. Your goal is to entice them with a strong offer or appeal that will get them to open the email. If you are dishonest with this promise, they won’t trust you and will likely delete the email since they didn’t find what they wanted.


  1. Broken Personalization. Sending an email without populating the name field is a major email faux pas. Nothing says technology fail like ‘A Special Sale for [NAMEHERE]’ in the subject line. The whole point of personalization is to make your customers feel special. Sending a stock form just highlights that you don’t know who you are mailing. Customers have relationships with the brands they care about and sending an impersonal note can hurt this relationship. Don’t make this mistake in your emails to customers.


  1. Non-functioning Emojis. Adding an emoji to a subject line has been a trend among marketers in the inbox, but what happens if the code doesn’t render? An awkward and confusing subject line is what the customer sees. Be sure to test your smiley faces and hearts so that they render properly in the customer’s inbox. There is nothing that looks more spammy than a subject line with a bunch of code and no text. If you use emojis in your subject line, ensure that your message is coming across as intended.


  1. If you are promoting a sale on socks, you don’t want your subject line to say, “Sale on sick.” Avoid this embarrassment by being diligent about copyediting, a fundamental building block of preparing an email. Don’t send an email before you have had several rounds of edits. Ensure that you read through the copy throughout the email including in the subject line and the preheader text.



  1. One Word Subject Lines. Using short words like “Hi” or “Now” are awkward in subject lines. These messages can be confusing because they imply a much more personal relationship with the recipient than a consumer usually has with a brand. They also fail to tell the consumer what is inside the email. Avoid these overly familiar one-line subject lines and write copy that is appropriate to the message.

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