We receive emails every day — some of us even receive hundreds of emails. So what makes you open it? It’s probably a combination of a familiar source and the subject line. Knowing that it’s something you want to read about makes you more likely to open it. So how do you create the best email subject lines that your audience will actually want to open?

Today, we’re going to focus on what makes great email subject lines and how you can do it yourself.

In our last blog post on email newsletters, we discussed how an email newsletter has to contain valuable content for your audience — it has to include content that excites and motivates your audience.

So by now, hopefully, you have a few ideas for the kind of content you want to send to your email newsletter list. Now it’s time to create a subject line that stands out in an inbox and whets your audience’s appetite for what’s inside.

Let’s dig into our tips for how to do just that.

10 Tips That Will Help You Craft Better Email Subject Lines

1. Tap Into Emotions

Again, your audience receives dozens of emails every day. To stand out, you need to tap into some kind of emotion.

Here are a few emotions that you can shoot for…

  • FOMO (fear of missing out) — Create a sense urgency for what’s inside. Such terms as “Today Only” or “Time is Running Out” can motivate your audience to open your email as soon as they receive it.
  • Curiosity — Tease their curiosity with a promise of informational content — perhaps recipes or tips that will help them. Something like, “Do this for better results” or “The mystery ingredient in our lasagna is…”
  • Humor — Can you make your audience smile, or even laugh? Many times that connection can lead to an open.

2. Start with an Action Verb

A subject line that calls people to some action is more likely to inspire your audience to open your email.

For example, a subject line like “Join Us for a Fun Night of Trivia” feels more personal than “Upcoming Trivia Night.” The first one invites them to take action, which helps them to envision themselves there.

Other action verbs you might include in your restaurant emails might include…

  • Try out
  • Taste
  • Dine
  • Visit
  • Learn

3. Avoid Clickbait

Clickbait is the spammy tactic of promising one thing in your subject line, and then, when they click through, your audience finds something completely different inside.

Nobody likes it.

So, avoid any semblance of clickbait in your subject line. It’s not just disappointing for the reader but it creates distrust in any future emails you send out.

Instead, make sure that your subject line accurately and honestly represents what’s inside your email. Don’t sensationalize your email without providing the top-level content to back it up. If you use words like “the best” or “the ultimate,” make sure it actually is.

4. Keep It Short

First of all, people’s attention spans are short. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, subject lines that are too long risk getting cut off, especially on mobile devices where space is at a premium.

The ideal length for a subject line is 60 characters or less. This not only ensures that important information isn’t cut off, but it also motivates you to cut out frivolous details.

5. Make Them Feel Special

You might be sending your email to a thousand people — but it shouldn’t feel like that to your audience. Make each email feel as if it is addressed to each person individually.

To do this, you could use such phrases as…

  • My gift to you
  • For our beloved diners only
  • Exclusive offer
  • Private invitation
  • Just for you

Making each member of your audience feel special in this way contributes to building loyal customer relationships.

6. Make It Personal

The newsletter signup form on your website most likely captures people’s names, as well as their emails. And their names are valuable — after all, calling someone by their name makes your message more personal.

And the beauty of using email marketing software is that you have access to personalization tokens that will automatically insert the recipient’s name anywhere you want in your subject line.

While you don’t want to use this tactic in every email, using it sporadically can add a personal touch to your newsletter strategy.

7. Use Numbers

Numbers add value to your email subject lines. Instead of a vague expectation, they know exactly what to expect inside.

For example, instead of “Our Valentine’s Day Menu,” you might say something like “8 Ways We Make Your Valentine’s Dinner More Special.” See the difference? Instead of a vague promise of information, your audience will understand exactly what they’ll see inside.

8. Ask a Question

Questions are a great way to engage your audience. Whenever we see a question, our brain inevitably gets to work to figure it out.

But, of course, every question should be relevant to your audience. As a restaurant, you might ask such questions as…

  • What’s for dinner tonight?
  • Do you have a favorite dessert?
  • Could you use a cocktail?

9. Be Witty

Your wit is a powerful tool. A careful play on words or a pun might give your subject line just the umph it needs to get an open. After all, at heart, don’t we all love corny jokes?

Of course, you need to be careful with this particular tactic. We’ve all seen it go south really quickly when it’s used inappropriately — perhaps taking it too far or in the wrong situation. When in doubt, run the subject line by a coworker to see what they think.

10. Avoid ALL CAPS

A few years ago, all caps was a great way to get people’s attention and drive home a point. Nowadays, however, people are more likely to interpret it as anger or screaming.

This can make your email disruptive to someone’s inbox, but it also tends to look spammy. After all, we’ve all seen those OPEN NOW FOR A SPECIAL DISCOUNT emails — and it was never pretty.

And while we’re on the subject, too many exclamation points can do the same thing.

So avoid these tactics and stick with normal text to get your message across.


Well, we’ve done it — 10 tips that will improve your email subject lines! We hope these tips will help you reach and connect with your audience, resulting in more opens and engagement.

Let us know in the comments below what subject lines you plan to use!

You May Also Enjoy Reading…