Email provides you as a small business owner an efficient way to reach dozens of your customers and potential clients at once. But email messages containing even the best sales pitch won’t help you increase your bottom line if your recipients never both to open it.

The sad truth is that unless your business emails boast a compelling subject line, most of your potential customers will delete them without ever reading them. So what is the secret to crafting the kind of subject line that will inspire recipients to open instead of delete?

The key is to know your customers.

Get to the Point

What are your potential clients looking for? And how can you help them achieve these goals? Most importantly, how can you sum this up in the 10 words or so of an email subject line?

Be direct. If you offer a landscaping service with prices that are lower than your competitors, mention this in your email subject line: “We can save you 30 percent on landscaping costs.”

Maybe you provide bookkeeping services to business owners who are overwhelmed with trying to handle their companies’ financial matters on their own. Your job is to convince these owners that they can save both time and frustration by outsourcing this part of the job. An appropriate subject line might read: “Outsource your bookkeeping to save time and money.” Just make sure that the email message connected to the subject line actually does tell potential clients how to save both money and time.

Delivering on the Promise

This leads to another important point: The content of your email message must match the subject line. In other words, don’t try to trick potential customers into opening your message by using a flashy subject line that isn’t quite accurate.

For example, a subject line that says “Cut your payroll costs by 50 percent” better be attached to a message that tells business owners exactly how they can cut their payroll costs in half. If potential customers open this email only to find a generic message about your outsourcing business, without any evidence to back up your 50 percent claim, you can bet that this recipient will never open another message from you.

Be careful, too, to use restraint when writing a subject line. Don’t use exclamation points. Don’t write in all capital letters. And don’t over-promise. A message such as “WE CAN MAKE YOU RICH!” will almost certainly be viewed as spam. Recipients won’t open it, even in the rare case that you really can make someone rich.

Writing a compelling business email subject line is no easy task. Don’t rush through the process. Consider your audience and what the members of it want. If you can sum up how you can help your potential clients reach their goals, then you’ll have a winning email subject line.


by Ryan Buckley

Ryan Buckley is the COO and co-founder of Scripted stands for great writing. Scripted Writers are hand-picked by our management team for their professionalism, writing ability and eagerness to help businesses succeed with their content strategies. Scripted offers email newsletters, blog posts, tweets, press releases and any other content a Benchmark customer needs.