Have you ever sent out an email only to realize you got no response? Some of your emails didn’t even get opened. It’s probably due to your email subject line not being interesting enough. In today’s day and age, businesses need to keep subscribers’ attention. Marketing campaigns are competing with all kinds of other media outlets so the lack of interest in one area can hurt revenue if proper attention isn’t paid to it.

Email subject lines have been the most prominent way of grabbing a potential or existing customer’s attention, either to get them to open the email or not to spam their inbox. It’s the first thing they see so it has to stand out and represent your brand. It is also crucial to the marketing and sales process because it influences whether your emails get opened or deleted.


What is a Great Open Rate?

Campaign Monitor found that the average percentage of people that open an email is 17.92% in their 2018 study. The retail industry had some of the lowest open rates compared to non-profit organizations, which saw some of the highest.’


What Characterizes an Effective Email Subject Line?

Your primary focus is to come up with compelling subject lines that entice recipients to open and read your emails, and work towards your marketing goals. Here are the ingredients of a great subject line:


Keep it brief.

The purpose of email subject lines is to convey the value of the communication up front in a straightforward manner. Given the high percentage of receivers who will access your emails on mobile devices, this is particularly important because the screen size is smaller and limits the display of the subject line. So consider how much information you can fit into a screen of that size before writing.


Cut to the chase.

Inboxes are crowded. And, let’s admit, we don’t want to waste time rummaging through each one to find if it’s worth it or not. To give your message the best chance of being read, it’s important to make sure that the subject line is engaging and tells people what they can expect to find inside.


Maintain its relevance.

You can use a witty, unique and targeted subject line in your email. However, if it is not carried through in the rest of the email then readers will feel deceived. Your purpose should be reflected in the subject line so that readers know what to expect and can decide whether they want to read more.


Make it unique and win.

There are tons of good businesses and information out there. Most subscribers have gotten an overwhelming number of emails over time and have become desensitized to those that lack any sort of personalization. 

Customers want to know that your company cares about them as individuals and has taken the time to learn about their needs and desires. Using the data you have about your subscribers to personalize your email campaigns will help show recipients that you care and add a friendly touch.


Avoid using spamming techniques.

Would you click on an email containing terms that make you think of spam, all in caps, in the subject line? Not likely, and neither will your readers. Avoid using too many special characters, too much capitalization, and spammy words like “buy,” “money,” or “click” to keep your email from being marked as spam.


10 Email Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates

To provide you with ideas for your own email compositions, below are ten different subject line types and samples:


1. Outline the advantages.

One of the most popular and successful strategies for encouraging customers to read your emails is to include self-interest in the subject line. Your email will be opened far more frequently if your customer perceives an advantage from doing so. For instance, “How to make blog posts that sell” informs your reader that they will learn how to create content that generates sales. This is also a teaser for the following details.


2. Stir up curiosity

What if, for instance, you got an email with the subject “An Evil Facebook Genius“? Would you like more information about the email’s topic?

Curiosity-arousing content increases click-through rates, increases site traffic, and boosts open rates. If you want to get people’s attention, try posing a question in your subject line. In the email, address the query (but don’t provide an answer). You must direct customers to your website if they genuinely want to know the answer.


3. Use FOMO (fear of missing out) to your advantage 

Many clients open emails out of a sense of not wanting to miss out. The open rate is actually 22% higher for subject lines that express urgency. Customers want to take advantage of sales before they end. The words “Going Fast” are prominently displayed on the page of the email below, creating a sense of urgency before the whole of the text is even read.

By informing clients that a bargain won’t be available for long, you can induce FOMO. Using phrases like “going fast” and “just four remain in stock” can help convey a sense of scarcity. Something like “$7 today, $47 tomorrow” could make a good topic line. Not only can these words make your email appear more urgent, but they can also increase the amount of traffic coming from emails to your website.


4. Present an offer

A good deal is something that everyone enjoys. An even better offer is one that includes a free gift. 

There are alternative methods to represent an offer that could work well, even though the term “free” isn’t a surefire way to have your email opened. As an illustration, the phrase “My gift to you” implies that there is something to gain by reading your email.


5. Be personal

The email is more likely to be opened if the subject line is equally personal as the body of the message. Including the reader’s name is a good example: “Hi Sharon, I just found a deal you might be interested in!” Additionally, you can tailor subject lines by using the customer’s location, birthday, and previous purchases.


6. Focus on the pain points

Make sure to let your customers know how you can help them by providing a solution in your email. Your customers are more likely to open your email and read its contents if the subject line suggests a solution to an issue they are experiencing.

Pizza Hut’s “Feed your guests without breaking the bank” and Sephora’s “Your beauty issues, solved” are two instances of companies that use pain points in their subject lines.

Don’t forget that you won’t truly understand your customers’ problems until you have a clear understanding of their motivations. You can figure out what really drives them to purchase if you take the time to develop a clearer picture of their individual needs, wants, and expectations.


7. Provide them with news headlines

News headlines are likely to catch the attention of customers because they like to be informed. For example: “What can you expect from Facebook’s newsfeed new design?” The secret is locating news that is specifically relevant to your service or product.

Find a headline story that your audience will find fascinating. Look for a way to connect the two if they aren’t directly relevant to your industry. Think outside the box. Create a subject line headline that will entice readers to click through to the rest of the email.


8. Put a smile on their faces and use humor

Humorous subject lines are more likely to catch the recipient’s attention, for a couple of reasons. First, everyone loves a good laugh. Second, if you smile when you read the subject line, you’re more likely to open the email and see what else is within. This strategy demands more thought and imagination, but the benefits are worth it

For example, take a look at this Groupon topic line: “Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)” Did you chuckle? Can you relate?   These lines are entertaining and pique interest at the same time.


9. Make a vain appeal

Most people wish to be liked and accepted. It’s in our very nature to care about how we appear to others.

The goal of vanity subject lines can be to make readers feel or appear better about themselves. You might also use the concern that not dressing appropriately will cause you to be teased by your peers. “Don’t wear last year’s styles” was how Guess handled this idea while keeping it straightforward. The slogan “Your butt will look great in these workout pants” from Fabletics adopts a more upbeat tone.


10. Use the power of social proof

People want to fit in with their peers but still have enough room to stand out as an individual. Listening to others’ feedback can help do both. 

There are several ways to use social proof in email subject lines. You can highlight the user base of your product. Use a line to tease, such as “Discover the secret hundreds of individuals already know.” You might also make reference to our tendency to imitate famous people. Sephora, for instance, utilized the phrase “Products the celebrities are wearing.” 



Increase your open rates by using subject lines that are optimized for outcomes. Subject lines and open rates are closely intertwined. When creating your subject lines, bear the following in mind:

  • Demonstrate advantages and make offers.
  • Use your customer’s vanity and desire to conform to others to your advantage.
  • Take advantage of FOMO.
  • Inform them of breaking news or amuse them.
  • Identify problems and propose solutions.


Related Reading: How to Connect With Customers Through Email Marketing



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