Your subject line should be exactly this many words if you want to catch their attention

Using email for communication and sales is a powerful way to reach clients and people directly in their inbox. However, having your email immediately deleted because it appears to be spam can be deflating and a waste of time.

If your email inbox looks like mine, it is extremely disorganized and could really use a spring cleaning. And those are just the emails I actually opened. 

Most emails are deleted without opening

Let’s be honest; checking emails is not the most exciting part of our day. I receive hundreds of emails on a daily basis, and I don’t have the time to open and read every one.

Emails that I do open usually come from my boss and coworkers. Every other email is either opened based on the subject line or deleted without opening, based entirely off the subject line.

If you’re reaching out to someone you don’t usually email or trying to make a sale,  how do you avoid going directly into their trash folder? Similar to in-person meetings, first impressions with email subject lines are just as important.

It turns out there are extensive surveys that show exactly what type of email subject lines get opened and how long they should be. 

Email open rates and subject lines

Contact Monkey analyzed over 30 million emails and examined the data regarding which subject lines get opened and which ones go directly into the trash. With this information, they found the optimal subject line word length, and it was much shorter than I would have guessed.

If you want the best chance at having your email opened, your subject line should be exactly two words long. You read that right; your email subject line should be two words long for the optimal open rate

Contact Monkey and Sales for Life were able to uncover additional information that was equally shocking. 

The top five most open email subject lines:

  1. “Re:” – had a 92% email open rate
  2. “Re: Follow Up” – had a 90% email open rate
  3. “Re: update” – obtained an 89% email open rate
  4. “Re: Introduction” – grabbed a 88% email open rate
  5. “Re: Checking in” – rounded it out with an 87% email open rate

As you can see, these introductions all gave the impression the sender previously communicated with you. While the subject lines are somewhat misleading, the subject line length is something to take note of.

Emails in a mobile dominated world

As we move further towards a mobile-only environment, it’s important to note that a mobile screen can only display four to seven words in an email subject line. Due to this, using one to two words at most maximizes your chance of having your email opened by the recipient.

Contact Monkey found that if you use more than three words in an email subject line, the chance of your email being opened and read drops by over 60%.

After reading these statistics, I found that they held true in my own experience. The longer the subject line, the more likely I am to delete the email. Next time you craft an email, try to change it up with a one or two word subject line to see if it improves your open rate.