Email to Target: varying the subject line

Hopefully your campaign targets will get lots of messages from your supporters. Variation and personalisation will give them added impact and help get the target’s attention. Here are four ways of making sure that your emails arrive in the target’s inbox with a range of different subject lines.

1/ Multiple versions

Send different segments of your list/different audiences to different versions of the form, with different subject line (and message copy if you like).

This can be a good solution if you have another reason to have different versions of the action, for example if you want to use different copy for different audiences, or want to vary the imagery to match the ad or email that brought them to the action. You can use the 'counter source' field on the progress bar to link different versions together and display a cumulative total.

2/ Ask the supporter to write their own subject line

Add a field so the supporter can write their own subject line, and add it to the message as a token. More about tokens here.

On the form step, add a text field, and give it a clear form key eg ‘subjectline’. Make sure you add a title and description to explain how it will be used, and make it a required field, otherwise emails will be sent with no subject line if someone leaves it blank.


On the message step, add a token for that new field. Submission field tokens look like this


(replace formkey with the form key that you gave your field, in this case, subjectline.)

A question like this will put some people off, so you’ll want to balance the benefits of variation against the possible impact on your conversion rate.

3/ Ask the supporter to pick a subject line

Another option is to ask the supporter to make a choice, but they don’t need to make something up themselves. We've set up a test form here so you can try it out.

To do this, drag in a ‘select list’ form field, and give it a form key like ‘subjectselect’. Again, you’ll need to make sure to add a title and description that make it clear how the supporter’s answer will be used, and make it a required field.


On the ‘options’ tab, edit the values for the different options to the subject line choices you’d like to offer.

If you want, you can enable the 'Other' option, which will allow your supporter to write in their own subject line if they wish.

Close the form field and click save and return to make sure your changes are saved.


Then, on the ‘message’ step, add the token to the subject line for the message to the target. In this case, it would be [submission:values:subjectselect].


Make sure to test all the different options - you can use test mode to make sure the messages go to you while you’re testing.

4/ Add different subject lines using conditionals triggered by a hidden field pre-populated from a mailing link

This approach uses a few advanced techniques, so we’d advise reading over the sections on conditional fields and form pre-population first.

To do this you'll need to add two fields to your form

1/ A field to hold the subject line, this can be set up in the same way as in option 2, above.
2/ A hidden field (in the example below called Segment for Subject line, form key subjectsegment), which will be populated via a piece of code in the link that the user follows to reach this page.


Add the token to the subject line of your message on the message step, as in the previous examples.

Then set up conditions for as many different subject lines as you want. Click on webform > conditionals to find the interface for this. If you want four different subject lines, set up four different conditions, triggered by the values 1-4 in the hidden field.


You can try this out on this test page on our demo installation - just change the number at the end to trigger the different conditions and subject lines.

If you would prefer that the user doesn’t see the suggested subject line, and it just appears in the draft message, you can hide the subject line field. To do this, just add the text ‘hide’ to the Wrapper CSS class configuration field on the form field.


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