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Subject lines don’t matter as much as your From line.

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

There’s a debate about what kind of subject line works best for newsletters. Do you craft each one individually, or do you make one, uniform subject line for your newsletter that never changes (except maybe the issue number).

I do both.

The following two examples are subject lines on corporate emails I’ve sent out to large audiences that have had extraordinary results vs. typical subject lines:

  • Customer Service and Purple Cakes
  • The Scoop: Issue XXXX

They’re equals as far as the stats are concerned.

After creating newsletters for 20 years, I can say with certainty that when it comes to newsletter subject lines: I don’t know and neither do you. It all depends on your industry, readership, amount of competition in your space, and your willingness to stress over a subject line.

The author of the book I recommended a few days ago chooses to use unique subject lines and spends as much time coming up with them as he spends on the content within the newsletter. This is probably because he’s in a very competitive industry (with teams of marketers) vying for the same eyeballs.

Than again, I’ve seen the opposite work in competitive industries. So, does it matter?

I think the overlooked, more important line is the From line. Companies that spam people all day, and try to put out a newsletter will see that From line working against them.

If you see my From line you can be sure it’s either my newsletter or a personal email. Either way you know if it’s worth opening without seeing the subject line.

If you find that you can’t decide about your subject line format, a easy answer is to A/B test. That’s another subject I’ll be posting about soon. That’ll give you a clear answer in the short term. In the long term, ultimately, you select (and cull) your readers by publishing in your own style.

So, pick the style that works best for you and change it up when/if you need to. The most important thing is keep publishing and keep that From line populated with a name that the reader knows and trusts.

Check out the rest of this month’s posts on creating email newsletters.