8 Tips For Nailing Your B2B Email Subject Line


8 tips for nailing your B2B Email Subject LineWith the technologically inclined minds of today, we feel comfortable saying you get many, many emails to your inbox every day. Some get opened, others don’t. But what exactly makes you decide to open specific emails while you pass others by?

When creating our own marketing emails, the subject line is often an afterthought. Once you have created the perfect email, the dreaded email subject line taunts you, laughing in your face. (Too dramatic?) You might have flawless content, great calls-to-action, and gorgeous graphics, but your recipients have to open the email to see all of that, hence the importance of the subject line. The subject line is the cornerstone of an effective B2B email marketing campaign. So, if those few words are so important, why do we leave them as the last step, often giving them only a few seconds thought? 

The answer is we shouldn’t. (Obviously.) Whether we write the subject line at the beginning of the email or think about it while creating the email content, leaving it as the last step isn’t wise. While every industry is different, these next best practices can help you increase your open rates.

  • Less is more. Studies show that subject lines with less than 60 characters (that includes spaces) have a significantly higher open rate. So keep it to a minimum. With B2B emails, the words “Follow Up” or “Inquiry” have been shown to increase opens. And who can forget Barack Obama’s famous “Hey”. No one. No one can forget.

  • Use humor. We all love a little laugh here and there. Personally, I love puns. The more puns the better. I have been known to open emails simply because they made me giggle. We really liked this one from Groupon, “Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”.

  • Numbers and lists can get the job done. People tend to respond to numbered subjects like, “10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Graphic Designer”. You can also use How To’s in the same way as numbers and lists.

  • Take action! Using action words can affect open rates. Words like alert, news, breaking, daily, and profit have been shown to increase B2B email open rates and click-through rates to your B2B websites.

  • Don’t use these words: free, latest, report, and forecast (unless you’re in weather).

  • Also, punctuation is not necessary. So go ahead and delete those ten exclamation points. No one likes being yelled at over the internet.(Although punctuation in social media can actually increase engagement, just some food for thought.)

  • Think about your buyer personas. How will this email benefit them? Whether they are quirky, serious, professional, or positively radiant, you need to write the subject line around what they would find beneficial. You might want to consider different subject lines for each of the email marketing lists.

  • Don’t sell! Be conversational. After all, you are ultimately trying to have a conversation with your customer, much like social media. Don’t say, “Buy now or miss out!” That’s just bad business.


See! Email subject lines don’t have to taunt you. You’ve got this. Want to keep learning about using email as part of our B2B advertising plan? Check out some of our other blogs like this one and this one. Oh, this is a good one, too!

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