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Act-On Software

Creating Effective Email Subject Lines

AUDIENCE: Administrators, Marketing Users, Sales Users
OBJECTIVES: Cover best practices and usage of email subject lines in Act-On

The subject line of your email message is important for the success of your email campaigns.

How to add a subject line:

To set the subject line of an email message, first open the email composer. To do this, navigate to Outbound New Message or Drafts. You can also go to Content Templates to begin from a new or existing template.

In the editor, you need to fill in the Subject text field before sending the email message to your recipients. Note that the email template or draft name does not need to be the same as your email subject line.

Best practices:

  • Avoid using too many keywords associated with spam email. Nearly all recipients are behind some sort of spam filter, which will flag or remove your message in the recipient's mailbox based on a formula with multiple factors, but your verbiage can sometimes be one of the factors.
    • Avoid saying 'free' or using all capital letters or punctuation marks
    • Avoid using more than one of the following: 'help', 'percent off', '%', 'sale', and 'reminder'
    • It is OK  to use these words in moderation. Spam filtering typically works by assigning your message a score, and certain keywords are sometimes a contributing factor to this score (but some spam filters do not check content at all). One word triggering an increased score may not necessarily get your email hidden from the recipient.
    • The above also applies to your email message's content just as much as the subject line
  • Include content of interest inside your subject line when appropriate
    • For example, if you are creating your March sales promotional email, you might state in the subject line what it contains that is different from February
    • Consider, 'IIf I were my target reader, does this sound like something worth opening?'
  • Keep it short -- under 50 characters if you can
    • Remember that this applies to the content of your email  message too. Unless your audience specifically responds to lots of text, keep your paragraphs and sentences short.
  • Don't try any 'tricks' since they can lower reader trust
    • Avoid special characters and symbols. They may make your subject line stand out, but not necessarily in a good way.
    • Avoid using 'Fw:' to trick readers into thinking your message is forwarded. The trick will be apparent when the email is opened because your email formatting will not be able to match the various formats used by mail clients (regular 'Fw:' emails are formatted differently among various email clients).
  • Set your reader's expectations
    • The secret to a good subject line is to simply describe what's insideYou don't want to sound like you are selling what's inside.
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