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9 Subject Line Mistakes that Get Your Emails Deleted Immediately

9 Subject Line Mistakes that Get Your Emails Deleted Immediately

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This article was last updated on October 13, 2021

Part of creating a successful email campaign includes a perfect subject line. While it’s easy to stay focused on creating an email campaign with clever copy and intricate designs, the subject line is the first element of an email that garners attention. The truth is, 47% of recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

An effective subject line conveys a clear message that is relevant to the reader. The subject line for your email marketing campaign should be concise and inspire your subscribers to open the email with a strong call to action.

If your brand’s email campaign has a low open rate, don’t worry! Avoiding common pitfalls can help boost your open rate higher than it’s ever been before. Specifically, here are a few subject line mistakes to avoid when creating your email marketing campaign.



1. Generic Subject Lines

Generic Subject Lines
In modern times, people expect the content they see online to cater to their specific interests and personality. A generic, boring subject line will leave your brand’s open rates to fall flat. Personalized email subjects lines have a 22% higher open rate than subject lines that are not personalized. When customers opt into your emails, they allow you to collect information related to their gender, age, location, profession, and more. Synthesize and segment this data for better subject lines and a higher open rate.


2. Neglecting the Email Preheader

Neglecting the Email Preheader

If you’re not familiar with email preheader text, now is the time to learn. The preheader text is a preview of the rest of your email, visible to subscribers right after the email’s subject line. For some marketing campaigns, the email preheader text comes straight from the browser instructions. Instead, stick with an email service that allows you to choose what text shows in the preheader to ensure that it supports your subject line.


3. Lack of Urgency

Lack of Urgency

Every subject line that you write should incite a desire to act immediately. Subject lines that create a heightened sense of urgency have a 22% higher open rate than ones that don’t. When drafting the subject line, keep in mind that your subscribers should have a reason to open your email campaign immediately. That said, you should also avoid sounding misleading or like junk mail. Spammy subject line phrases like “BUY NOW!” or “CLICK HERE” are a short path to deletion.


4. Lack of Mobile Optimization

Lack of Mobile Optimization

The average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their mobile phone and checks 81% of their incoming emails on a mobile device. If you aren’t already optimizing your campaigns for mobile use, this could be a game-changer. Double-check that your subject line doesn’t turn into code or random characters when opened on a mobile device. Odd shapes or text in the subject line will significantly increase the chance of subscribers sending your email campaign straight to the trash.


5. All-Caps Subject Lines

All Caps Subject Lines

While you want your subject line to sound exciting and grab your subscriber’s attention, yelling at them is not the way to accomplish your goal. If you use an all-caps, your customers get the impression that you’re screaming at them. The last thing you want is to come off as pushy or rude before anyone has even opened your email. In addition, an all-caps subject line also triggers spam filters. If you’re serious about increasing your open and click-through rates, avoid all-caps at all costs.


6. Using Special Characters

Using Special Characters

Although some marketers claim to have had success using special characters in their subject lines, we don’t advise it. The use of special characters can lead to yet another email in the spam folder, decimating your campaign’s open rate. 69% of recipients mark an email as spam based on the subject line alone! Save special characters for the body of your email and use them with discretion for higher open rates.


7. Long-Winded Subject Lines

Using Long-winded Subject Lines

If your subject line is too long, your subscribers are likely to skip over it. Remember, the average person receives 121 emails per day, and they’re all vying for your subscribers’ attention. The most effective subjects lines are short and sweet. Desktop inboxes only allow subscribers to see about 60 characters of the subject line, and a mobile phone inbox merely shows 25 to 30 characters. Make the intent of your email clear in the first six to eight words for improved open rates.


8. Using a One-Word Subject Line

Using One-Worded Subject LInes

On the other hand, there is such a thing as a subject line that is too short. Using a one-word one is simply not adequate. People are unlikely to open an email with an abrupt subject line like “Important” or “Sale!” Subscribers want to know precisely what is important or on sale from the beginning. One-word subject lines project an image that is unprofessional and reminiscent of spam. Get creative with the few words that you use and reap the benefits.


9. Misleading Subject Lines

Misleading Subject Lines

A misleading subject line is a quick way to disappoint customers and damage your overall audience. If it is deceptive, people are likely to unsubscribe, delete the email, or mark it as spam. Make the main point of your subject line clear. Honesty is the best policy, and will help your brand retain loyal subscribers.



The subject line is one of the most critical elements of your email campaign, so don’t leave anything to chance! Creating the perfect one doesn’t need to be complicated. Just be sure to avoid the mistakes above. Once you achieve that, MailBakery is here to provide you with eye-catching designs that support your brand’s image.

We design and code email templates for marketing campaigns. Working together, we can bring your visions to life and create stunning, brand-specific email templates that are sure to captivate and convert.

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