Even experienced email marketers agonize over subject lines—polishing, editing, tweaking, and perfecting 50-character phrases until they're just right. After all, a single word can make the difference between a subscriber's indifference and interest.

So how do you get recipients to open your messages? In this post at Mass Transmit, Anthony Schneider outlines eight rules for creating better subject lines.

Here are some highlights:

Avoid words that trigger spam filters. It wouldn't surprise you if the word sex sent your message straight to the spam folder. But seemingly innocuous words like free, video, and sample might also prevent your email from reaching a subscriber's inbox.

Keep it short and sweet. There are good reasons to keep the subject line's length between 38 and 47 characters. People scan their inboxes quickly; an overlong subject line might tax their patience and earn an instant delete. Or they might be checking email on a mobile device that renders your subject line meaningless when it's cut short.

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