1️⃣. Brevity and Simplicity:

Some people say consumer attention spans are 7 seconds, others say 3 seconds, I say consumer attention spans are ALL earned.

If you don’t earn your audience’s attention over time, then their attention span when it comes to your content will be zilch, diddly-squat, ZERO. But that’s a conversation for another day.

We know attention spans are short, so keep your subject line to 3-5 words. NEVER more.

Ask yourself, when’s the last time you read something and DIDN’T SKIM. The first 1-3 words of your subject line are the most important (I’ll touch on this later).

Simple is better 

Here are some good examples from random brands trying to sell me something LOL: 👇

Here’s a subject line that could use some work: 👇

The topics in the subject line are intriguing but it’s too wordy. Instead I would have gone with a simple, “GPT4 is Dumb?” The question mark peaks the reader’s interest, it’s a bold statement, and is punchy (only 3 words).

2️⃣. Emojis?

USE EMOJIS (be intentional with them though).

The emojis need to fit the vibe of the email and message you are sending.

I brought it up during the last email, but the average person receives 120 emails per day, so the real estate in the inbox is competitive.

Emojis can really level up your ability to stand out in a crowded inbox.

Morning Brew really pioneered this strategy with their iconic “☕️” emoji that they reuse for EVERY newsletter. Over the years they have become associated directly with the emoji that they basically own it.

Just like any other piece of branding, emojis can become a virtual branding mechanism.

Level up your marketing game

Zero BS. Just fun, unfiltered, industry insights with the game-changers behind some of the coolest companies from around the globe.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No spam. Unsubscribe any time.

Back to attention spans, emojis allow readers to skim through their inbox and quickly identify your email. It’s all about removing friction!

Here are some very good use cases: 👇

Just keep in mind, you want the emoji to fit the message of the email OR use the same one consistently.

Plus for the B2B crowd, you will definitely stand out because nearly all B2B companies avoid them.

3️⃣. Ignore SPAM myths:

The days of tiptoeing around words like “free” in your subject lines are over. I feel like I need to say it again because this i so important.

You CAN use the word “free” in your subject line.


Because modern email filters are all about your reputation and how people interact with your emails, not just a key word.

Sender reputation is a BIG deal. Gmail’s machine learning models keep a database of their sender reputations like frequency of sending emails, quality of content, and user feedback (do people open the email, reply, put in spam).

Emails from senders with a crummy reputation go straight to the spam folder.

Secret tip to keep your reputation excellent, explicitly ask for replies in your emails, this will let Gmail know you’re a high quality sender.

Just take a look at all of these emails that use the word “free” in their emails that ended right in my inbox, not my spam folder. 👇

4️⃣. Personalization ≠ First Name

Gone are the days of use [first_name] in your subject line.

Instead personalize with job titles, interests, location, or specific details of your audience.

According to campaignmonitor.com, readers are 26% more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines. I mean, those are numbers I like to see.

These are some PERFECT examples (from my inbox again LOL).


Obviously experiment with the copy in your subject lines, but often overlooked is the formatting of your subject lines.

Parentheses, brackets, ellipsis, punctuation, try it all. Wait I’m not done yet, capital letters, spacing to make your emails stand out, and dare I say intentional typos (use INCREDIBLY sparingly).

Anything that goes against traditional formats will grab your audience’s attention, just what you want.

Jay is one of the best Marketers I know at getting creative with formatting. His use of parentheses is a perfect way to get two separate messages out at once. 

6️⃣. Words can make a big difference:

Tweaking the words you use can seriously change your email game. 

“Daniel wtf do you mean??”

Everyone loves to use “learn more”, try using “discover” or “take a peek”, anything to tap into the curiosity of your audience.

Here are some examples:

👀: From “Case Study” to “Success Story”

📖: From “Download” to “Get Your Copy”

🚨: From “On Sale Now” to “Exclusive Discount for You” (the personal touch here is what sells

🗣️: From “Final Call” to “Last Chance!”

📆: From “Meeting Reminder” to “Let’s Catch Up!”

Words that belong in a Marketing graveyard (aka NEVER use these in your subject line):

“Masterclass” – this one is just WAY too overused

“As Per My Last Email” – this one is way to passive aggressive for me

Reply to this email with all of your words or phrases that belong in the Marketing graveyard!! (Throwback to tip #3.)

7️⃣. Subjectline.com:

Want a second set of eyes on your subject lines? 

I love testing on subjectline.com. It gives you a rating, breaks down each part of the subject line that is effective and where you can improve.

I tested out today’s subject line and look at the score it gave me. 👀🕺🪩

If you’re a one person team Marketer this tool can be a MASSIVE unlock, check it out, let me know what you think.


The most important email you will send your subscribers is email numero UNO (the first email).

Getting them to open  that first email will increase the likelihood that they open future emails from you and the habit formation we all want from users will start.

Perfect the subject for your first email and use all the tricks above to crush it. I believe in you!!

Daniel Murray
Daniel Murray
Level up your marketing game

Zero BS. Just fun, unfiltered, industry insights with the game-changers behind some of the coolest companies from around the globe.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No spam. Unsubscribe any time.