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How to Avoid Mistakes in Email Subject Lines?

Effective email subject lines are often brief and personalized. They give people a good reason to open the email. But how to avoid mistakes in email subject lines? Let's dig and also find the best email marketing tools to master subject lines.

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Last updated on January 16, 2024

How to avoid mistakes in email subject lines? I encountered this question on many occasions from aspiring marketers and business owners. You see that in email marketing, the email subject line can be your lifeline or the iceberg that sinks your Titanic. It’s often the first handshake between you and your potential customers in the context of your brand or a fresh marketing initiative.

What I think is that the subject line needs to offer value, reflect your brand’s unique character and lure the reader to open and explore your email.

However, it’s shocking how many online businesses (be it in WordPress or other platforms) treat this vital aspect of customer engagement like an afterthought. I don’t want you to fall into that pit.

An ill-conceived subject line can not only stifle results but can also tarnish your reputation and land your emails in the dreaded spam folder.

The more you’re marked as spam, the fewer of your future emails will reach their destination, ultimately destroying your email campaign.

So, how not to ruin an email campaign with poor subject lines? Mastering your subject line game isn’t rocket science, especially if you’re conscious of the usual traps and make an effort to sidestep them.

Let’s put the spotlight on some subject line mistakes you’ll definitely want to dodge.

How to avoid mistakes in email subject lines? Subject line email marketing mastery

Imagine your email inbox as a huge battlefield. It’s like a digital world where everyone is fighting for attention and the email subject lines are the brave soldiers hoping for just one click.

Making a good subject line is not just about getting noticed; it’s like creating a little magic spell that makes people want to open the email.

But watch out! There are tricky mistakes that can make your email end up in the spam folder.

So, how to become a hero of inbox adventure?

Let’s learn how to avoid these email mistakes and be the champions of email writing and email marketing.

Plus, check out Icegram Express, an amazing email marketing plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce. It can be used to create amazing newsletters, run email campaigns with post notifications and broadcasts and view comprehensive analytics results. I also use it as an email verification tool.

7 mistakes to avoid in email subject lines | Subject line blunders

Mistake #1 – The word wall blunder

Imagine scaling a mountain of text just to decipher the message. That’s what lengthy subject lines feel like.

Remember, mobile inboxes often truncate messages, leaving your crucial information hanging in the abyss. Avoid this tragedy by wielding conciseness.

You must abide by concise matters in the subject lines. Conciseness doesn’t mean sacrificing clarity. Every word in your subject line earns its place, so choose them wisely.

Here’s an example to comprehend the issue better.

Original: “Exciting Updates and Important Information Regarding Our Upcoming Annual Conference.”

Improved: “Annual Conference: Key Updates & Must-Haves”

Moral: Keep your subject lines short, snappy and focused on the core message to ensure it gets noticed.

Mistake #2 – Being too much vague isn’t worthy

Have you ever opened an email and trembled with fear, saying something in the subject line like “Regarding Your Inquiry”?

While vague clues are too broad and may yet pique interest, they frequently kill engagement in email marketing.

Readers may even mark your emails as spam if they are filled with needless mystery.

If you want to be a master email marketer, please be specific in your subject lines!

Give the person receiving your emails a cause or incentive to click.

Original: “Regarding Your Inquiry.”

Improved: “Follow-Up on Your Inquiry: Action Needed”

Moral: You should specify the purpose or action needed to engage your audience effectively. Let the subject line be a mini-trailer for your email, highlighting the core value it offers.

Also read – how misleading email subject lines can lead to email-sending issues

Mistake #3 – Risking with filler words

Using filler words in your subject lines is the most disastrous mistake you can make.

Phrases like “FYI”, “Just Checking In”, “Important Update”, etc. are considered extraneous in email marketing. They not only clog the text and subject line but also weaken the whole agenda.

Avoid using these meaningless terms. If you avoid them, you can make your emails more impactful and increase the chances of open rate and engagement.

Original: “Just Checking In About Our Recent Conversation.”

Improved: “Follow-Up: Action Items from Our Conversation”

Moral: Every word in your subject line should contribute meaning. You can also add emojis (don’t add more than 1 or 2) to counterbalance extraneous situations.

Mistake #4 – Block lettering spam/ALL-CAPS

Imagine walking into a quiet room and yelling at the top of your lungs – that’s what using all caps or block letters in your subject line can feel like.

It’s the digital equivalent of shouting. All-caps subject lines are very aggressive and unprofessional.

Plus, it can trigger spam filters, causing your emails/messages to end up in the dreaded spam folder instead of your recipient’s inbox.

Instead of resorting to all caps to convey urgency or importance, try using realistic phrases that will translate to user action.

Check out an example below.


Improved: “Review Required: Important Document Attached”

Moral: Making content in capital letters or all caps in email subject lines is a no-go. My take is that you should maintain enough professionalism and urgency without resorting to all caps.

You may also find this interesting – why emails are landing in spam folders

Mistake #5 – Wrong name means wrong turn

Are you verifying or cross-checking the names of the people to whom your emails are addressed? Are you adding proper titles to the names?

Addressing someone by the wrong name or wrong title is like entering the wrong room. It can be potentially disastrous in addition to being awkward.

Adding some personalization is the best thing to do here. The idea is to improve readers’ ability to relate to your subject lines. For me and other email marketers, it consistently produced results.

Since I use Icegram Express for email marketing, I can access more demographic information and personalization details.

For example, by launching email marketing campaigns on Icegram Express, you can determine user location, user activity, devices they are using and a lot more.

You can use this data to make your subject lines more individualized.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Location-based triggers: “Sun’s out, deals out! Enjoy 20% off beachwear if you’re in Miami.”
  • Device-specific offers: “Mobile-exclusive flash sale! Download our app for early access.”
  • Age-appropriate messaging: “Mike, you’re turning 24 tomorrow. Care about a luxury journal?”
  • Purchase history sequels: “Loved our cozy sweaters? Discover our new winter accessories you’ll adore!”
  • Website browsing: “Looking for hiking boots? We found the perfect pair based on your recent search!”
  • Engagement level re-engagement: “Missed us? We’ve got exciting news just for you (open to win!).”
  • Custom field insights: “Happy birthday, Jane! Treat yourself to 15% off your favorite watch brands.”

Care to read about high-performing email subject lines? Here’s one perfect reference.

Mistake #6 – Missing urgency is catastrophic

If your email requires prompt action, make it explicit; add urgency to your subject line.

Here’s one eternal truth about email urgency – when readers sense a message is urgent, they act quickly. They may even prefer to buy something at that moment.

It’s not necessary to overstate the urgency, but you may still approach it with grace.

If you have an exciting offer to make, for instance, include the time limits when the offer expires.

It’s because most offers have a time limit and are only valid for a short period of time.

With urgency, you’re providing your email a competitive edge over those who can be procrastination demons.

Original: “Monthly Newsletter – Check Out Our Updates.”

Improved: “Monthly Newsletter + Limited-Time Offer Inside.”

Mistake #7 – Typophobia is real

Let me tell you how typos can bring disaster. It’s similar to using the wrong names or titles.

I eagerly send out an email campaign, feeling proud of my well-written and engaging subject line. But, horror of horrors, in my enthusiasm, I’ve overlooked a small yet glaring typo. The moment it’s sent, I notice it.

My heart sinks as I think about the countless recipients who’ve already seen it. The damage is done.

When a typo sneaks in, it blows away your brand’s credibility and value. It’s a common notion that mature audiences don’t like typos.

You should avoid such silly subject line mistakes.

To mitigate such scenarios, I’ve learned the absolute necessity of proofreading.

I’ve made it a ritual to proofread, double-proofread and then proofread again before hitting that send button.

Let’s make our email content more powerful and engaging with the Icegram Express WP email plugin.

For online sellers/retailers, startups, digital marketers and individual business owners, Icegram Express is a super affordable email marketing plugin. Express has already helped over 120,000 people create flawless, high-performing newsletters and email campaigns.

To get started with Express, read the documentation and download the free version here.

9 forbidden email subject line mistakes to avoid

  1. Clickbait approach: Avoid sensational phrases like “You won’t believe what happens next!” or “This will change your life!” They scream spam and lack credibility. Questions like “Are you ready for this?” or “What are you missing?” are ridiculously vague and manipulative. You should offer value upfront.
  2. Misleading information: Don’t lie or exaggerate in your subject line to entice clicks. It will damage your reputation and trust with your audience.
  3. Too much false scarcity: “Last chance!” or “Limited time offer!” might work once in a while, but overusing these tactics breeds skepticism and can backfire.
  4. Broken promises: Make sure your subject line accurately reflects the content of your email. Don’t promise a discount and then only offer free shipping.
  5. Excessive punctuation: !!!??!?!????!!!!! Too much punctuation is visually messy and confusing. Keep your subject line clean and clear.
  6. Internal jargon: Don’t assume your audience understands your company’s acronyms or industry terms. Use clear and concise language.
  7. Excessive negativity: Avoid subject lines that focus on problems or negativity. Highlight solutions and positive outcomes instead.
  8. Overly generic: A generic subject line doesn’t tell your recipient anything about what’s inside. Be specific and enticing. Try to hit multiple targets with specific and individualized content.
  9. Forgetting the CTA: This is a fact – CTAs rule the email and content game. Don’t leave your recipient wondering what to do next. Include a clear call to action in your subject line (e.g., “Download app & get 10% off!”).
how to avoid mistakes in email subject lines_poor email subject line examples_email marketing mastery

Read this – How to hook subscribers with effective email subject lines

Final deal – the art of email subject lines seduction

Writing compelling email subject lines is like an art.

Email marketing legends say – it’s a delicate dance between intrigue and clarity, urgency and relevance.

These above mistakes are your enemies. You have to get rid of them for good.

Because in the email business, great email subject lines always translate to better conversions and sales.

Alternatively, you can start using the free version (check Pro and Max) of Icegram Express, if you want to transform your email marketing campaigns into a conversion machine.

Finally, remember, your subject line is a first impression, make it count! Bring on your exceptionalism to the emails.

So, go forth and write subject lines that sparkle, sizzle and sing! May your inbox shine and glow with increased open rates and click-through euphoria.

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