The Secret Formula for Email Subject Line Length

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Is there a correlation between your email subject line length and the percentage of people that open your emails? If you’re like me, you would probably say yes. On mobile phones in particular where long subject lines are cut-off, it would make sense that a shorter subject line would result in a higher open rate.

Note: On a typical computer or laptop, the inbox will display approximately 60 characters of an email’s subject line. On most mobile devices it’s a lot less, more like 25-30 characters.

So what is the secret formula for email subject line length?

Surprise! There is no secret formula. A recent study by Return Path indicated no relationship between the number of characters in a subject line and whether or not the email is opened. That’s sounds unbelievable, right? But it’s true.

But be mindful of this:

A large percentage of people today access email from a smartphone. If your audience are primarily smartphone users you should place your offer or call-to-action at the beginning of your subject line. (The email tool you use may be able to give you this metric, but most of them do not.) But if you check your website analytics you can see the percentage of website visitors using a mobile device to access your site. That gives you a clue right there.

Tip: Cover your bases! Position your call-to-action or offer at the beginning of the subject line so it will be good for both desktop and mobile devices.

Example:

Instead of this:
Here’s The Tip That Transformed My Biz Overnight [Time Sensitive]

Use this:
[Time Sensitive] Here’s The Tip That Transformed My Biz Overnight

Have you done some email subject line length testing? What impact has it had on your open rate?

Betsy Kent

Betsy Kent

I work with ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses to uncover exactly who their ideal customers really are, what they want more than anything else in the world, and the perfect words to use on their websites, in their marketing, and when they talk about their business. I've guided hundreds of clients through my signature process and formula, and as a result, they’ve generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business revenue with more ease and confidence than ever before.

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