Imagine this: you put all your efforts into composing an email and send it to your customers. Your recipient glances at the subject and, not amused enough, unceremoniously marks it as spam. The absolute horror.
If you want to prevent your brand from ever being tossed to the scrapyard of emails that is the spam folder, we encourage you to build a strong subject line. In this post, we’ll show you how.
How Email Subject Lines Affect Your Open Rates in 2021
According to statistics, 47% of email recipients open an email depending on the subject line. 69% of recipients label an email as spam based on the subject line. Conversely, emails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.
From these facts, we can see that your subject line has a large influence on whether your email is opened or not.
Elements of a Good Email Subject Line
What makes a good subject line? This question is probably as old as email marketing itself. According to experts, a good email subject line:
Satisfies An Interest
These subject lines mention a benefit the customer will get from opening your email. Whether that’s self-growth, learning how to earn more, or improving a skill, the reader sees a potential gain.
It’s a known fact that cliffhangers are a sure way to capture the audience’s attention. Movies and series have learned to profit off of this, and so have successful businesses.
Offers Free Stuff
Who doesn’t love a good sale or a free product? Stats show that emails with ‘free’ in the subject line are 10% more likely to be opened than those that don’t.
It has been found that subject lines that speak to a sense of urgency get a 22% higher open rate.
Also, humans inherently fear being left out from stuff. Today, 69% of millennials have that fear of missing out (FOMO). Companies that bank on that in their subject lines get more engagement from their customers.
By showing customers the team behind the brand, you’ll be gaining their trust. And that’s always great for business.
Sharing information about your industry will establish your brand and increase trust from your customers. When they trust you more, they’ll be more likely to open your emails.
Shows Social Proof
It’s human nature that we do stuff when we know others are doing it too. Mentioning how many people are making use of a product or how successful they’ve been by using it, will draw people towards opening your mail to find out more—and even subscribe to your business.
Tells a Story
Placing a captivating beginning sentence of your story in the subject line can ignite the interest of your readers.
Types of Winning Subject Lines
Let’s take a look at some types of email subject lines that are a surefire way of increasing your open rates.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Subject Lines
It has been found that 60% of people make purchases because of the fear of missing out. Not just that, but a majority of people have reported that they’ve had FOMO at some point. Keeping this statistic in mind, you can draw in your customers by making a subject line that employs this fear.
You can do this by hinting at a limited product or implying a time constraint. Let’s demonstrate this through some examples:
- “Just a few hours left to save!”
- “Only a few hours left to get 50% off!”
- “It’s raining discounts at The Wonderful Winter sale”
- “Don’t miss out on ___!”
- “Grab this before it’s gone…”
- “Subscriber Exclusive: Grab the Best Deals for [Product Name]”
- “[WEEKEND ONLY] Get this NOW before it’s gone…”
- “Last Call to Shop It All”
There’s a reason teaser trailers work so well. You’re already hyped for the movie and they end up making you even more excited. Successful marketers realize this technique and employ it in their emails.
Here are some samples:
- “The BIG secret everyone in [Industry Name] knew (except me)”
- “The one that got away is BACK!”
- “Something HUGE is coming!”
- “Here’s all you wanna know about ___ but were too afraid to ask”
- “You’ve been invited.”
- “The Countdown Begins….”
- “You’re doing it all wrong.”
- “Here’s how to ___”
- “Our Secret Ingredient to ____”
Sales Email Subject Lines
Who doesn’t love a good sale? Loads of people flock to the stores when they remotely sniff out a sale. And you can draw them in using these subject lines:
- “X% off on your favorite [product]!”
- “[FLASH SALE] Get X% off on ____”
- “Get priority access”
- “Best [product name] under [price]”
- “Grab the latest [product name] for less than [price]”
- “Complimentary ____ on all purchases”
- “Flash Sale Alert”
- “Did someone say Sale”
- “Happiness Begins with [Sale]”
- “SALE | Get X% Off”
Funny Subject Lines
Your readers have hard, stressful lives. If your subject line can get them to laugh, they’re most definitely going to end up opening your email.
Here are some examples that you can use:
- “[Lack of something] Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”
- “May the [Blog Topic] Force Be With You”
- “Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Son)”
- “These Deals will make you lick your phone”
- “You’ll want to avoid these 20 people on Thanksgiving”
- “NEW! Vacation on Mars”
- “I like [positive result] and I Cannot Lie”
- “Best places to get a Beer RN”
Cold Email Subject Lines
Sometimes, you need something from a recipient whom you don’t even know. Add some personalization and a feeling of urgency to your cold email to make them more likely to give it the time of day.
Here’s a few examples that’ll show you how to do this:
- “Hello [name], [question]?”
- “[Mutual connection] recommended that I get in touch”
- “I found you through [referral]”
- “Let’s talk about [topic]”
- “Can I help you with [goal]?”
- “Hey [name], look at this”
- “Hey [name], I need your guidance”
- “Are you free to talk on [date]?”
Vanity Subject Lines
Everybody wants to be accepted and admired. Appeal to people’s sense of vanity to get them to open your emails.
Look at these samples for inspiration:
- “You’ll look amazing in these [product name]”
- “Don’t miss out on this trend”
- “Here’s what the celebrities are wearing”
- “Age-defying beauty tips and tricks”
- “Gift Inspiration for someone with great taste”
- “Look Fashionable in our [product name]”
- “Treat Yourself SALE”
Follow-Up Email Subject Lines
You’ve just had an interaction with your client and you need to follow up with the next steps he needs to take.
Here are a few sample subject lines that do this:
- “Next Steps to Take”
- “Here’s what to do next”
- “Before you choose…”
- “Hey [name], I’d love your feedback on our conversation today”
- “Here are the links I promised to send you”
- “Here’s how you can solve the problem”
- “Some factors to help you decide”
Greed Subject Lines
Who can say no to an amazing deal? We might not admit it, but we all want more and more of the thing we like, even if we won’t necessarily put it to use right away.
Draw your customers in with this tactic. Here are a few examples:
- “Here’s the Secret to [positive result]”
- “These jeans will fit you like a glove”
- “This [product] will [get rid of a problem]”
- “Must-haves for …..”
- “Grab these must-have [product] now”
- “Abundant [product] for an amazing price”
- “You won’t want to miss this product”
- “Congrats: Free Unlimited Access throughout January!”
Transactional Email Subject Lines
Transactional Emails include password resets and emails related to your purchases.
- “[name], here’s your PIN”
- “Reset your Password”
- “[Account name] Account Password Reset”
- “Order [order number] Confirmed”
- “Your [company name] Order Confirmation”
- “A Shipment from Order [order number] is on the way”
- “Forgot your password?”
People are inherently lazy. Given an easy route, they’ll take it. Offer your readers a shortcut to achieving their goals or tasks and they’ll be thanking you for days.
Here are some samples.
- “Ten proven ways to increase open rates by 30%”
- “50 tips on how to get more visitors to your site”
- “600 premium webpage templates for half the price”
- “300 blog post ideas”
- “20 tips to master [skill]”
- “How to email a busy person [with 20 templates]”
- “A [skill] tutorial in 30 minutes or less”
- “Sunday Shopping is a tap away with this app!”
What is an issue that readers from your industry face regularly? Be aware of these pain points and market your products as solutions to those problems. Here are some examples that do just this:
- “Caught up with [pain point]? Let us help you”
- “Here are some solutions for that [pain point]”
- “Treat your guests without emptying your wallet”
- “Learn to code with 15 minutes a day”
- “Here’s how you can get more kitchen space”
- “Here’s how to childproof your house”
- “Don’t spend your time on useless tasks”
Retargeting Subject Lines
Sometimes, your customer will fill their shopping cart and then abandon it without buying anything. You don’t wanna lose a sale, so you can call them back by sending them a reminder. You can even pair this reminder with some incentive.
Here are a few examples that demonstrate this:
- “Forgetting something? Here’s 15% off on your next purchase”
- “Are you still there?”
- “The Sale closes tonight”
- “Here’s a coupon for your next purchase”
- “Did you miss out on ….?”
- “Hey [name]. We noticed your cart is still full…”
- “Get 20% off on your cart”
Personal Subject Lines
By sounding friendly and frank, people will feel more connected to you. You can also personalize emails by where your user is located, their name, or their age group.
Look at these samples for some guidance:
- “<XYZ>, welcome to [business strategy].”
- “Hey [name], we see you’re trying to [goal]”
- “Events this week in [City name]”
- “[Your customer’s team] is in the finals!”
- “I have a feeling YOU will love this!”
- “[name], avail the best [product] offers”
Straightforward Subject Lines
When in doubt, just keep it simple. The truth is, people have thousands of things to do these days. The shorter your subject line, the more likely they are to take out a few seconds, open it and read it.
Here are some examples for you:
- “Yes, this email is about [your goal]”
- “[Brand Name] Newsletter for [month]”
- “Merry Christmas from [Company Name]”
- “Yes, we’re looking for volunteers”
- “You’re Invited to a Webinar on [Topic]”
- “Your [Company Name] order has been dispatched”
Pro Tips on Writing the Best Email Subject Line
- Amanda Augustine from TheLadders says… Write the subject line before anything else, in case you forget to.
- Ryan Gould from Elevation Marketing says… Talk about a benefit readers will get.
- According to the vice president of marketing at Keynote Search Kyle Turk: Be brief. It can raise open rates from 21% to 30%.
- According to Kendra Jones: Making a CTA increased her click-through rate by 18%.
- Dmitri Leonov at SaneBox says: Avoid the Caps Lock. It stresses people out.
- According to Marketing expert Jeff Moriarty from Moriarty’s Gem Art: Personalize your emails.
- Sean Nichols, marketing manager at Site Visibility says: Use A/B Testing to compare two sample subject lines and see which one is better.
With all that effort you put into your brand, getting stuck at the first stage is quite a bummer. If people aren’t opening your emails, they’re not learning about your business. We don’t want that for you.
These expert tips and examples will get you started on directing your readers’ attention towards your brand. You can learn from these sample subject lines and tweak them to make even more of your own. Don’t forget to check out our blog for more helpful marketing techniques and tips!
AUTHOR: Mandy Schmitz is a freelance consultant and project management expert with 10+ years of experience working internationally for big brands in fintech, consumer goods, and more. Join her on Changeaholic.com to learn how to optimize your business operations and find the latest software reviews.