How to Write Better Email Subject Lines

Pat Hightower is the vice president of business development at the Hightower Agency. Hightower has over 25 years of experience in the business sector, with a strong background in sales management and has served as a member of the board of directors for the Hightower Agency for 19 years.

 The Hightower Agency was established in 1990 as a full-service advertising agency specializing in truck driver recruiting. Headquartered in Madison, Mississippi, with offices in Garrison, Iowa and St. Louis, Missouri, Hightower has been twice recognized as a "Fast 40" company by the Mississippi Business Journal. Learn more about their recruitment advertising services at www.hightoweragency.com.



If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an email newsletter, you know two things instantly happen: 1) you see the subject line, then two seconds later, 2) you decide whether it's intriguing or of enough value to open it.

If your subscriber's first impression is dull, then they won’t take the time to open your email. Unfortunately, generic and irrelevant subject lines will result in low open rates and high unsubscribes. 

So how do you come up with creative subjects to ensure your emails are successful in your driver recruitment strategy?

Remember These Do’s and Don’ts

Even if your subscribers sign up for your emails, there’s no guarantee that they will open your emails once they get them in their inbox. Why? Because there’s no incentive from the subject line to click on that specific email right this instant. To increase email open rates, try these best practices:

  • Avoid these words: free, help, percent off, reminder.
  • Avoid splashy promotional phrases, all capital letters, and exclamation marks.
  • Include localization – if possible, provide localization to your segmented lists, such as including a city name.
  • Avoid repetitive subjects – Using “October Newsletter. November Newsletter.” is highly redundant (and boring). Plus, it doesn’t provide a clear indication of what’s inside your email that’s of interest. For each newsletter, try to have a different, creative, engaging subject line.
  • Keep it to 50 characters or less.
  • Ask yourself “What will the reader learn?” This will help define your decision on what to focus on.

Try These Effective Email Subject Lines

  • Reasons Why – This convinces the reader why they should do something based on a number of reasons. People respond well to lists. Example: "5 Reasons Why Truck Driving is an Awesome Job"
  • Benefits – Emphasize benefits over features. This allows your subscriber to imagine how your content helps them. Example: instead of “10 Healthy Truck Driver Recipes” use “Lose Weight While You’re Driving.”
  • Questions – The structure of a question requires a person to pause and respond. Questions generally pull well because they’re short and entice the reader to find out the answer. Example: “Who Else Wants…?” “Do You Think…?” “How Do You…?”
  • Testimonials – Testimonials help convince a prospective driver to drive for your company because they provide validation and proof. Example: "Why John Trusts Us to Get More Miles"
  • How-To’s – The how-to subject line is more specific because it promises to reveal “how-to” achieve the benefit. They’re fairly easy to brainstorm, too. Example: "How to Make..." "How to Use..." "Learn How To..."
  • Commands – This one directly tells the reader what to do. It always begins with a verb that requires action. Example: "Share Your Story"
  • Urgency – Using urgency in your subject line is a time-honored method of creating anxiety. When carefully used, it can work quite well. Example: "Last Chance To..." "Today Only..."

Incorporate A/B Testing

Use A/B testing to learn more about what your readers are interested in, and what optimizations you can make to increase open rates in the future.

  1. Create one email newsletter.
  2. Brainstorm two subject lines.
  3. Distribute your newsletter to the first half of your list with the first subject line. Immediately after, distribute the same newsletter to the other half of your list with the second subject line.
  4. Later, analyze performance reports to determine which email had the higher open rate.

Split testing is a fantastic way to know more about which subject lines your audience prefers, allowing you to enhance your truck driver recruitment email strategy.

Email newsletters have the opportunity to be chock full of interesting content. It’s a shame to put significant time and effort into compiling and sharing your best content in an email, but then the subject line fails to perform. So use these tips to deliver must-open emails and recruit more drivers! You’ll be rewarded with improved results and a dedicated list of subscribers that look forward to reading your content.

The Hightower Agency is one of the best driver recruitment agencies. As one of the top recruitment agencies in the trucking industry, we offer a wide variety of driver recruiting services. Our driver recruitment consultants can get your company where it needs to be.