best practices

5 best practices for crafting the perfect subject line

best practices

cured’s subject line best practices drive better open rates and increase engagement with emails

5 best practices for crafting the perfect subject line

An impactful subject line catches your recipients' attention, driving open rates and increasing engagement with your health organization's content and offerings. The subject line is the text displayed after the ‘from name’ and before the ‘preview text’.

Healthcare marketers are familiar with the complexity and challenges of breaking through the noise to consistently and effectively connect with patients. Our team of experts developed subject line best practices for marketers that result in higher open rates and proven success over time.

1. Keep it brief

While subject lines should be detailed, you shouldn’t overload them with information. Leave the heavy lifting for the email copy itself. To quickly hook recipients shorter is often better. We suggest 50 characters or less.

Scenario: Sending a monthly newsletter to patients and nonpatients

Subject Line: “What’s been going on at [Insert Health Organization]”

2. Be direct 

Convey essential information while maintaining your brand voice. Avoid trendy phrases or slogans that can land your email messages in the SPAM folder. Be direct with your communications, and call attention to your specific offerings and value.  

Scenario: A patient has an upcoming appointment with your Healthcare Organization

Subject Line: “Your upcoming appointment with [Insert Healthcare Organization]”

3. Emojis work… in the right context

The use of emojis in subject lines can be a useful tool to build intrigue and encourage engagement with your message. Use them in lighter, less serious messages, and avoid them when the email calls for a more serious tone.

Scenario: Sharing healthy eating tips and tricks for this winter

Subject Line: “Eat healthy this Winter with these tips and tricks 🍎❄️”

4. Punctuation matters.

Punctuation can help emphasize a point or set a tone for your email interaction. Cured recommends that you should be intentional with your use of punctuation - it should support the theme and goal of your email.

Scenario: A message to employees to sign up for their health benefits through your Healthcare Organization

Subject Line: “Rest Easy. [Insert Healthcare Organization] has your back.”

5. Know your audience

Healthcare marketing emails span a wide range of use cases. Some of your campaigns may include a wide audience, while others may only include patients of your cardiology department. While the goal across all sends is to get the recipient to open the email, the subject line tone should vary depending on your recipient’s relationship to your health system. 

Scenario A: Sending a pre-appointment checklist email to patients of your cardiology center

Subject Line: “Tips for your upcoming appointment”

Scenario B: Sending an email to potential patients of your cardiology center

Subject Line: “Have you thought about your heart health lately?”

Other Considerations

As you implement these best practices to craft subject lines, here are others items you should consider: 

Track, measure, and improve

Subject lines directly impact open rates. Monitoring open rates will give you an idea of the effectiveness of various subject lines and adjustments. 

A/B testing is a helpful tactic for improving your subject line effectiveness. Try two different subject line versions for the same email send and take note of which one performs best. More information on how to leverage A/B testing can be found here.


HIPAA rules and regulations do not permit any protected health information (PHI) in the subject line, including a patient's first name. If you plan on using personalization in your email message, include them in the body of the email, not the subject line.

Ready to learn more? Talk to a Cured expert. 

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