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Our Favorite B2B Email Marketing Best Practices & Subject Lines

By: Andrea Panno

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But what about the dozens of email subject lines clamoring for attention in our cluttered inboxes? If you’re like me, you probably have judged an email by its subject line at least once.

Email subject lines are the very first impression companies make on email recipients, which is why it’s absolutely critical to craft compelling ones. If you want to stand out and boost your email open rates, start by paying closer attention to the subject line.

Read on for a few of our top B2B email marketing subject line best practices, along with some standout examples sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Best Practices for Your B2B Email Marketing

✅ Optimize Your Emails and Subject Lines for Mobile

With so many audiences now checking their email (or at least scanning their inboxes) on mobile, it pays to keep things short and sweet. This goes for both subject lines and email content. Limit mobile subject lines to around 30 characters (or less) so they can be easily displayed on any device. And don’t forget to write engaging preview text, or your email content will likely be duplicated in its place.

What matters most to your prospects isn’t your product or service; it’s what your product or service can do for them. Giving readers a brief summary of your offer within your subject line can boost your credibility and improve open rates.

Unless you’re aiming for a specific tone to get recipients’ attention, don’t use overly complex, elaborate verbiage. Rather, make the immediate benefits clear and place them up front as often as possible. This will ensure that you’re making the most of the one chance you have to get recipients interested.

✅ Don’t Make False Promises

Don’t mislead readers with your subject line. Your email subject line should always align with the email content. Clickbait email subject lines may be effective for some brands, but they’re unlikely to bode well with most B2B audiences. Think of the subject line of your email as a promise you’re making to your readers about what the email within holds.

Promising something in the subject line but not delivering it in the email isn’t a good B2B email marketing strategy. In fact, instead of improving your KPIs, false promises will likely frustrate your audience and lead to distrust, which can decrease open rates and interest from subscribers. It’s important to maintain your reputation, and damaging it for a fleeting increase in email open rates isn’t wise.

“If you’ve promised a resource that will be delivered via email, use the subject line to indicate that the resource is inside. It’s an easy way to clearly communicate that the value you promised is waiting for the user.”

✅ Avoid Known Spam Triggers

There’s a fine line between carefully chosen power words, action-oriented verbs, emotional triggers and spamminess in email subject lines.

Don’t be tempted to create a sense of urgency by using all caps or multiple exclamation points. These tactics will likely get your email ignored—or worse, sent straight to spam before the recipient ever sees it. Using all caps can make readers feel like they’re being yelled at. And using too many exclamation points can seem overeager or (gasp) even desperate.

Combining both question marks and exclamation points within a subject line can get your email quarantined in junk folders, too, so it should be avoided. On top of looking (and often being) spammy, this combination is just overdone. Be creative and have fun with your subject line instead!

✅ Experiment with Different Subject Line Formats

If you implement any of the tips from this blog, let it be this: don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, when it comes to marketing, experimentation is often the key to success! Try different formats and see how recipients respond to them. Try using puns, humor, or creating a sense of mystery and intrigue. And don’t forget to track and analyze your open rates so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

To determine what works best, testing is key. One of the most common A/B tests, or split tests, for email marketing is subject lines. Find out which subject line is most effective by sending two variants to two different segments of subscribers and see which has the highest open rate.

Note: When A/B testing, keep variables other than what you’re testing the same. This will ensure that your results are accurate.

⭐ Standout Subject Line Examples:

These email subject line examples will give you an idea of the different types of tones we’ve discussed and provide a template you can modify for your industry or business.

    • Claim Your FREE [Resource] Today 📖
    • [First Name], Fix Your [Pain Point] Headache 😣
    • Are You Making These 5 Common [Topic] Mistakes?
    • [Your Company Name’s] Secrets to [Company Name’s] Growth
    • 🐸 Leap Ahead of the Competition with [Product or Service]
    • [First Name], Here’s a Better Way to [Product or Service]
    • [First Name], Say Goodbye to [Pain Point] in 2024
    • Every [Job Title] Needs THIS Tool

Boost Email Open Rates with Engaging Subject Lines

Just like any other area of digital marketing, getting creative and making tweaks to your email subject lines–however small–can make a significant impact on increasing open rates. So don’t snooze, give these best practices a try to ensure that you develop the most intriguing subject lines for your prospects.

Looking for more guidance with your B2B email marketing strategy? We can help.

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