Email Subject Line Dos and Don’ts – In Under a Minute

Email Subject Line Dos and Don’ts – In Under a Minute

Become an edu-marketing expert with our quick guide to writing email subject lines that will make teachers want to read on.

Become an edu-marketing expert with our quick guide to writing email subject lines that will make teachers want to read on.

Rebecca Weatherley-Hastings
Rebecca Weatherley-Hastings
Published: 21st September 2022

In theory, the subject line of an email is simple.

It’s one line of copy. Just a few words. What could go wrong?

Well, the truth is it’s one of the biggest tools in your email-building kit to get teachers to open your email, so it’s important to be up to date with best practice.

Read on for our quick and simple guide to crafting your next killer subject line.

The Dos

Do keep it concise The maximum character display length varies on different devices and clients, generally from around 30 – 70 characters. Almost three-fifths of staff in UK schools use their mobile phones now to view emails, and iPhone (portrait mode) displays just 41 characters. We recommend keeping a subject line to around 50 characters. Anything over, and you run the risk of teachers not being able to see your whole subject line.

Do front-load This brings us nicely to the idea of making sure that the most important part of your subject line is at the start of your subject line. We know teachers are busy. We know they want to get to the essential info quickly, so make sure it’s easy for them to see your core message among their jam-packed inboxes.

Do use personalisation Use data to personalise your subject line and make your email stand out in a busy inbox. Use information like their establishment name or location to grab your readers’ attention and lay the foundations for a friendly, personal relationship with your contacts. However, it’s vital to keep the overall subject line length in mind. If you use the establishment name at the start of the subject line, this could easily fill 50 characters. The rest of your subject line might not display. Therefore, we’d recommend using any personalisation at the end of your subject line.

The Don’ts

Don’t use too many spam triggers There are a few methods that spammers are known to commonly use that could land your legitimate piece of content in the spam folder. Certain words, if used too often, can trigger spam filters. Plus, using too many capitals and exclamation marks are also likely to land your email in the spam folder.

Don’t Deceive It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than over-promise and under-deliver. A subject line that sets out to dupe readers into opening your email might get good open rates in the short term, but it’s a sure-fire method for increasing your unsubscribes, which will impact your long-term strategy. We recommend that if you do choose to use this strategy with a subject line, then use it with caution.

Don’t forget your preview text Your preview offers a second opportunity to persuade your audience to click open, so make sure it’s not an afterthought. Ideally, your preview text should complement your subject line but not overshadow it. For example, if you’ve mentioned an offer in your subject line, you could include the details of it in the preview.

Need some ideas to inject life into your subject lines? Here are a few ideas for you to test out…

  • Use action verbs - Create a sense of urgency to encourage opens.
  • Leave out the specifics - Intrigue your audience and create curiosity.
  • Mention your offer - Grab your reader’s attention with an incentive to click.
  • Use numbers - Numbers and data can get emails noticed.
  • Invite readers - Make readers feel valued and important.
  • Include questions - Inspire readers to seek the answer in your email.
  • Identify relevance - Utilise keywords that will appeal to your audience.

If you’re still unsure about the best way to get your emails opened, get in touch with our experts.

We can manage every aspect of your summer strategy with our managed strategies plan and let you know all about how we’ve revolutionised edu-marketing with Campus – our complete selling-to-schools solution.

Get in touch at or 01684 297373.

Campus Education Marketing Email Marketing School Mailing

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