Email subject lines can influence event ticket sales, audience engagement throughout the event, and the ROI sponsors get. To a great extent, these seven to nine words determine whether an email will be opened, ignored, deleted, or moved directly to the spam. So, when planning your next virtual event, be mindful of your email marketing techniques, especially the quality of your email subject lines. After all, they are the first impression you give recipients before they make the crucial decision to open your email and stay to read the body. Here are some tips to make your email subject lines regarding your online event stand out in crowded email boxes, and lead to more open rates, conversions, and virtual event revenue.

Email Subject Line Length

According to email marketing research, a helpful rule of thumb for email subject line length is to keep them between 40 to 50 characters (about seven words). This is particularly true for email recipients who read emails on mobile devices, which display a smaller number of characters than desktops and laptops. Hence, since most emails nowadays are opened on mobile devices, it’s important to keep email subject lines short. However, if you know that your target audience uses their desktop, you should optimize the length of email subject lines accordingly. Besides the device, email subject line length is also affected by the brand of the device and the browser.

Short in length doesn’t mean ambiguous or illogical meaning. On the contrary, short email subject lines can (and should) be coherent, effective, and to the point. The best way to achieve explicit meaning is through edits. But first and foremost, you should have a clear idea of the message you wish to convey with the email. Once you are confident in the purpose of your email, you may be able to express it even with one word only. In any case, it’s crucial to put the most critical information at the beginning of the subject line to eliminate the risk of it being cut off and replaced by the undesirable ellipsis.    

How To Write Email Subject Lines

An email with a high open rate and minimal unsubscribe rate has a captivating subject line. A good subject line grabs recipients’ attention, engages recipients, and leads them to take a specific action — to open the email. Efficient subject lines require writing and marketing skills, as well as good knowledge of your audience. You don’t have to bear the talent of Ernest Hemingway to write good subject lines, but you need to leverage your critical thinking and gut instinct. Here is some guidance on writing email subject lines that will entice even the pickiest recipients to open your email.

1. Personalize Email Subject Lines

Regardless of the email marketing service you use, it’s straightforward to add the recipient’s name on the email subject line to enhance personalization and rapport. Not only will you instantly grab the recipient’s attention (imagine walking down the street among hundreds of strangers and someone calls your name — you surely turn around, don’t you?) but also gain their trust and respect for taking the time to get to know them. Personalized subject lines help with email deliverability since it's less likely for your email to land in spam. Besides, ensure that recipients feel unique and exclusive by using the right phrasing in email subject lines. For example, “For Our Beloved Event Attendees Only” is a compelling way to show appreciation for your event attendees. Reputable email marketing platform Campaign Monitor will help you measure the success of your personalized subject lines, and see what happens when your email recipients feel they aren't just a number for your business.

2. Add Emojis

Have you heard of the Picture Superiority Effect? It’s the scholarly way of saying that a picture speaks a thousand words. Research has shown that images are more immediately recognized and quickly recalled than words. For example, when we read or listen to content, after three days we will be able to recall only 10 percent of it, whereas visual content stays in our mind in more detail and for much longer. To this end, you should incorporate emojis in your email subject lines to convey emotions and your brand’s personality instantly. If you include emojis, it's best to start with one to ensure it's visible, even if the subject line gets truncated. However, be mindful of cultural differences within your audience and how different emojis might be interpreted differently depending on the recipient’s cultural background. Last but not least, don’t overdo it with emojis; one per subject line should be adequate to supplement your words.

3. Be Honest

If you want recipients to engage with your emails and add your contact to their favorites, keep the email subject line and body in tune. In practice, this means that what you promise in the subject line should be delivered in the email body. For example, don’t tempt recipients to open your email with a subject line that offers a huge discount, only for recipients to find out in the email body that this isn’t so. Tricking recipients into opening your emails won’t bring long-term benefits to your business, and your audience will quickly grasp your unethical tactics. Keep (and increase) subscribers by maintaining your email marketing reputation as an honest brand that delivers the same value it promises in the subject line.

4. Use an Online Subject Line Assistant

Online email subject line and spam checker tools can help you check whether you are aligned with the best practices of email subject line composition. Our recommendation is to use these helpers as a last resort, and only after you have created the best possible subject line in your opinion. Then, you will be able to perfect it rather than expecting the tool to do the job for you. Online subject line assistants give you information about the correct word and character count, punctuation marks, and tone and voice of your subject line. Balloon isn't affiliated with a particular checker, but MailNinja and are excellent free options. If you have other tried and tested recommendations, please let us know!  

5. Get Creative With Language

Playing around with the endless language possibilities and thinking diversely will put you on top of your game as an email subject line writer. Don’t hesitate to use new words, tweak syntax creatively, and test different ways of delivering the same message. This will help you stand out from the competition and avoid getting recipients weary of repetitiveness. However, you want to remain loyal to your brand’s tone and voice, so bear this in mind when experimenting with the use of language.

Email Subject Line Tips for Your Online Event

When composing an email subject line, get into recipients' shoes, and most likely, you will get it right. In other words, give recipients a good reason to want to open your email — either because it's relevant to their interests, awakens their curiosity, or offers something they need.

1. Give Urgency to Your Event

Include in your email subject line a short deadline for ticket sales (e.g., early-bird tickets) or announce a limited quantity of tickets (e.g., VIP) to create a sense of urgency and scarcity that may lead to more email open rates and bigger ticket sales. You will be surprised how many people live with the fear of missing out and grab the opportunity to purchase as and when it’s presented to them. However, be wary not to spread panic among recipients unnecessarily or about an occasion that doesn’t really call for immediate action because next time they see an urgent call for action from you, they will take it lightly.

2. Be mysterious to Attract Attendees

It sounds like dating advice, but the suggestion works for virtual event planning and marketing. Let us clarify. Not revealing all that will occur at your event or a specific session in the subject line, but teasing recipients with a hint will tickle their natural curiosity and make them open the email. Again, in the email body, you can keep the mystery flowing by communicating that there will be a surprise guest speaker, for example, or an entertainment activity about which you can’t say more.

3. Talk About Sponsored Offers

Use email subject lines to announce an offer (aka a free or discounted service or product) to event attendees or attendees-to-be. If they are already within your target group, meaning that they are interested in your industry, recipients will appreciate a sample or a free trial of a new product. This is an excellent email subject line idea to engage sponsors in the event’s promotion and inviting them to be the ones in charge of the offers.  

4. Ask Recipients to Take Action

Email subject lines like Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons aim at inciting a particular action. So, you can begin an email subject line with an active verb (e.g., Activate, Discover, Upgrade, etc.) to motivate recipients to open the email and follow the email body’s guidance for the next step. For example, if your event will host a meditation virtual happy hour for which you want participants to register in advance, your subject line might read: “Meditate online with a top mindfulness expert.” However, note that some active verbs in the subject line such as Earn, Save, Order Now, Read Now are detected by email spam filters and may send the email directly to recipients’ email spam folders.

5. Ask an Intriguing Question

Consider asking a question that strikes a chord with recipients to boost critical thinking among recipients and aspirations to engage with you and your product. For example, an email subject line with a question may look like this: “Why aren’t you generating enough revenue from your virtual event?” This is a very relevant question and a burning issue among event organizers. Hence, you awaken recipients’ curiosity and eagerness to find out the answer in the email body.

6. Announce a New Video or Other Content

Use the email subject line to inform recipients about a new video with a keynote speaker, a presentation of a sponsor’s newly launched product, a podcast with an industry expert, or a blog in the form of a guide. Anything that you believe is valuable for and relevant to event attendees and offers a solution, knowledge, or inspiration for growth can be announced in the email subject line to increase recipients’ engagement.

Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

Before, during, and after the event, you will have to send several emails on different occasions to stay connected with attendees and attendees-to-be and to attract new audiences. Hence, it’s important for your email marketing strategy to consist of catchy email subject lines, occasionally funny (if your brand’s voice and tone permit), but always professional and respectful. Here are some suggestions if you get stuck in the process of composing your next virtual event’s email subject lines.

1. Event Invitation Email Subject Lines

  • Make a reservation for [Event Name] today
  • [Recipient’s Name], book your place at [Event Name]
  • Registration for [Event Name] is now open
  • Subscribe to [Event Name] until [Date]

2. Event Announcement Email Subject Lines

  • Live Performance: Join [Artist’s Name] in his/her first virtual show
  • Apply to win your free ticket for 5 [Event Name]’s VIP sessions
  • Have you secured your backstage pass?
  • Meet our keynote speakers — New behind the scenes Video!  

3. Event Reminder Email Subject Lines

  • Don't miss [Event Name]! Reserve your ticket before it's too late
  • [Event Name] registration is almost full — Reserve your place now!
  • Haven't gotten your [Event Name] tickets yet? You have 24 hours left
  • Hurry up! [Event Name] ticket sales are open for 2 more days

4. Thank You Email Subject Lines

  • Thanks, [Name], for attending [Event Name]!
  • We loved seeing you at our event!
  • We are grateful for showing up!
  • Thank you for your support — See you next year!

5. Follow Up Email Subject Lines

  • Have a few minutes? Let us know what you think about [Event Name]
  • We hope we did well, but we would rather hear it from you
  • Help us improve! Please give us your honest feedback in this short survey
  • How was your time with us?

Email subject lines are directly linked to your event's ROI. At Balloon, we follow the best emailing practices for maximum deliverability, ensuring our emails get delivered and land in attendees' inboxes. If you need our help, chat with our team on Balloon’s homepage, or contact us via email.