3 Sneaky Tricks To Getting Your Headline Length Right

Getting your headline (subject line) right for your email is important. Most subscribers will base much of their behaviour on this aspect of your email. If it is too long, then important parts of your message will be missing, this could lessen the value of your email and result in a campaign that struggles.

The best length for a headline is between three to five words. Having it under 10 words is considered good, but the results of the campaign will start to lessen.

One of the main reasons for this is that more than half of all emails are now opened on mobiles and these have less space for subject lines. Therefore, you need them to be smaller to cater for this audience.

This can be challenging with certain subject lines. So, here are some sneaky tricks to get round the problem and make your headline just the right length.

1. Use The Preheader Text

The first aspect is to use the preheader text space as part of your subject line. This is a great place to put some content because it often appears with the subject line and combined they can make a valuable sentence that the audience can build your brand’s message with. For example:

Subject line: Get 10% off today when you spend more than $20.

could be changed to:

Subject line: Get 10% off today

Pre-header text: when you spend $20 or more.

Another example:

Subject line: Don’t miss out on our fantastic 10% off deal

this could be changed to:

Subject line: Don’t miss out

Pre-header text: on our fantastic 10% off deal.

2. Remove Unimportant Words

Sometimes we add words in sentences to make them grammatically correct, but they just aren’t needed culturally. Your audience will know exactly what you mean and would prefer to know what you’re saying with a few words, than only getting half the message because the text was cut short by their email client.

A good examples of this could be:

Subject line: Get 10% off today when you spend more than $20.

Could be changed to either:

Subject line: 10% off when you spend $20 or more


Subject Line: Spend $20 and save 10%.

The subject lines in both of these mean the same thing, but they’re just worded differently and take up less space.

3. Use Symbols/Emoji’s In Your Email Headlines

Another great example is to use symbols or emojis in your email subject lines instead of words. Subject lines with emojis in them have the added bonus of a higher click through rate. Symbols can also be used to convey messages in far shorter space.

A good example could be:

Subject line: Get 10% off today when you spend more than $20

could be changed to:

Subject line: Get 10% off today when you spend $20+


Subject line: Spend $20+ for 10% off.

A good way to use an emoji would be like this:

Subject line: Use these self-help books to make you happy.

You could change the books and happy words into emojis. There are lots of emojis that are available for you to use.


Headlines and subject lines are only supposed to be a certain length. Any longer and they will be too big for most email clients, especially those on mobile devices. There are numerous ways you can get around this by using some sneaky tricks to reduce the length.

We’ve highlighted three sneaky tactics you can use above. All will greatly reduce your subject line and make them more engaging. Some will even see better campaign results (like using emojis).

How do you reduce the length of your subject lines? Have you monitored subject lines for their performance?

Let us know in the comments below.

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