Email Marketing Subject Line Myths Debunked

The subject line in email marketing is perhaps the most critical element that influences whether the emails will be opened and read by the recipients. This is due to the fact that most people receive a deluge of emails every day and they invariably end up spending a fraction of a second to decide whether a particular email holds anything of interest. If the email marketing subject line does not seem to be interesting they will invariably skip or delete the message, which means that you have effectively lost the chance to connect with the customer and perhaps make a sale. Over time, there has been a lot of debate regarding the construction of an effective email marketing subject line that will entice the recipient to click and open the mail. Not surprisingly, a number of myths have been generated on the topic too. Here are some of the top ones debunked:

Top Email Marketing Subject Line Myths Debunked


1. Never Use Capital Letters In Email Marketing Subject Line

This myth regarding email marketing subject line has possibly arisen due to the fact that electronic communication etiquette frowns upon the use of capital letters as they are interpreted to be shouting. Another valid reason is that it is far more difficult to read entire sentences or phrases in capital letters than lowercase that can be assimilated far faster by the human eye and brain. While the use of entirely capitalized email marketing subject line is a relatively less occurrence, the use of a few words that are capitalized is more common. Selective use of capital letters can help you to draw attention to certain words in the subject line. In fact, if you make it a practice to only capitalize certain words you can add recognition-value to your company’s emails, and recipients also come to expect it of you.

2. Personalization of the Subject Line Makes the Mail Look like Spam

This has been hotly debated among marketing experts, but including the first name of the recipient can actually be a very good way of drawing attention to that particular email when it is vying for attention amidst dozens of competitors in the inbox. While including the first name is perhaps the most common way of personalization, there are techniques by which the entire subject line can be tailored to be specific to the recipients’ profiles or even the segment. In real life, it is obvious that any repetitive activity can make customers dilute its value and so it is with subject line personalization. A smart strategy is to customize once in a few mail shots as then the customer will not be able to easily disregard it, and you too can measure the efficacy of personalization.

3. Never Use Words Like Free In the Subject Line to Avoid Being Marked As Spam

The inclusion of trigger words like discount or free was indeed the cause of the email getting marked as spam some years back but now the algorithm has undergone a paradigm change. Now emails get marked as spam not on the basis of its content but on feedback received from other recipients, i.e. spam complaints. In the contemporary context filtering to the junk folder is only likely to happen if the reputation of the sender is weak. Feel free to use as many trigger words as you like only taking care to test that it is not being marked as spam. Almost all the emails processed by bulk email marketing services in Mumbai invariably contain trigger words that were earlier responsible for getting the mail dumped into the spam folder.

4. Email Subject Lines Should Be Kept Short

While nobody can have an issue with short email marketing subject lines, the problem is that with brevity often the clarity and meaning can get sacrificed. When the reader cannot figure out what the email contains, then the effectiveness is completely lost. On the other hand, getting really verbose in the subject line can hurt as well because readers are far too much in a hurry to devote much reading time. The best policy is to determine the message and focus on getting it across with subject lines that are crisp and succinct.


Essentially, subject lines need to perform the function of grabbing the attention of readers. This can only be done when the sender knows who the viewers are and what they want; so that they can best express a solution or a gratification. When the reader can figure out the potential benefits of the contents of the mail due to a well-constructed subject line, they will be encouraged to open the email.

About the guest contributor:

Cheryl D’Souza is a senior client servicing executive at, a leading digital marketing services outfit. With more than two decades of experience. Cheryl is uniquely poised to offer clients the best of advice on marketing communication channels.

Email Marketing Subject Line Myths Debunked 1
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