Email marketing is a big deal.
After all, it has an average ROI of 4200% – higher than most other marketing channels.
But what if your subscribers aren’t opening your emails?
Spending all that time, money and effort crafting the perfect copy in your emails – wasted.
So what can you do?
The truth is that the easiest way to get more people opening your emails, is to write a more compelling email subject line.
In this post, you’ll learn just how important email subject lines are, how to craft compelling subject lines, words to use (and avoid), as well as a swipe file of email subject line ideas to try out.
You’ll also find a bunch of tools to help you improve your subject lines towards the end of this post.
Sounds good? Let’s dive in!
Why your email subject lines matter
Are subject lines really a big deal?
They are and here’s why:
If someone doesn’t like your subject line, they won’t open your email.
According to Invesp, 47% of email recipients open emails merely based on the subject line:
That’s almost half of your email list that will judge the content of your emails by the one small sentence that first appears in their inbox.
Even the length of your subject line matters.
The same study by Invesp stated that 21% of people prefer subject lines between 6-10 words – while the least popular was 21-25 words:
Especially if you’re trying to sell your own products, do affiliate marketing, or market your services – you need to have a thriving email list and a well-oiled sales funnel.
Your sales funnel doesn’t stand a chance if no one opens the emails. So when creating a sales funnel, you’ll want to spend a decent chunk of time on those subject lines.
There’s no way to get around it.
The good news?
It’s much easier than you think.
Think about your own inbox.
What types of emails peak your attention immediately, and which ones do you dump in the trash before even opening?
I bet the ones you open follow a certain pattern.
There are a bunch of concepts that you can follow to ensure your subject lines are clickable all of the time.
Tips to crafting subject lines that get clicked every single time
Every industry will have varying tactics that work better for that particular industry, but in general – there are certain rules of thumb you’ll want to use as a jumping off point.
Email marketing is part art, and part science.
It’s an aspect of your business you should carefully plan and execute.
If you want to lower the number of unsubscribes and see your open rate rise, there are strategies that you can use.
The number one tactic to remember when crafting your subject lines is your audience.
I know, it always comes back to your audience.
Not only do you want to tailor your subject lines to be relevant to your target audience, but you may want to add their first name in some of your subject lines if possible.
Personalizing emails have been proven to be an effective strategy you shouldn’t ignore. Personalizing your emails can actually improve your open rates by a whopping 50%!
Constant Contact highlighted an email where someone used their first name, and as you can see – it sticks out and gives a more personal vibe:
Personalizing emails may be an extremely valuable strategy – but there are loads of other tactics you can use to encourage your subscribers into opening your emails.
Tips to crafting the perfect subject line:
- Provoke curiosity.
- Convey urgency (especially when selling a product or service).
- Personalize your subject lines (and your emails).
- A/B test different subject lines to see what works better for your particular audience.
- Ask questions in your subject lines.
- Don’t over do the emojis.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal. Let them get to know you. This helps to humanize your business, which makes you more relatable.
- Incite emotions (positive or negative).
- Don’t overdue CAPS
- Watch the punctuation. One exclamation mark is great – but more than that may land you in hot water. AKA, the spam filter!
- Never mislead your readers with clickbait titles. Make sure your subject line aligns with the context of your email.
Open rates are tricky as it is. Especially with larger email lists.
So putting in that little bit of extra effort can help your emails stand out.
Words to use in your email list, and words to avoid for better results
You want to stay out of your subscriber’s SPAM filter at any cost.
To achieve that – there are particular words you’ll want to utilize in your subject lines.
And other words, you’ll want to avoid using.
And some, you’ll want to ensure you never use.
As we mentioned, you want to use compelling subject lines that draw readers in without much effort.
The absolute last thing you want to do is end up in their SPAM folder, and throw all your hard work out the window.
The easiest way to do this is to ask your subscribers to whitelist you in your email sign up sequence.
If you haven’t created some sort of email sign up sequence (otherwise known as welcome sequence or autoresponder sequence) – you’ll want to jump on that bandwagon, stat.
So, what words should you try to avoid?
We’d be here all day if we covered them all. But here are some of the most common words that are said to be a surefire way to end up in your subscriber’s SPAM folder.
Words to avoid if possible in your subject lines:
- “100% satisfied”
- “Claim your free”
- “Don’t delete”
- “Early bird”
- “No hidden costs”
- “Not spam”
- “Won’t believe”
The list goes on and on.
But the truth is, I’ve seen many emails that have made it through the SPAM filter that say something urgent about a paid product, like “expire”.
Here’s an example SUMO used of an email from Melyssa Griffin:
As you can see, she used a few big “no-no’s” in her email, but still had success. She used “expire”, and she used all CAPS. But she also asked a question first. Which I think helped in this situation.
Also, because her readers have opened several of her emails already – she’s built a relationship with them first. Making it less likely she’ll ever land in their SPAM folder.
So my take is it really depends if you already have a standing relationship with that email address, and other factors come into play. What works or doesn’t work for one, may work amazingly for someone else.
And while it takes time to grow a list full of people who love your content and can’t wait to rip open your emails – it also gives you hope.
More and more people will begin to see your emails if you keep sending them, consistently.
You’re probably eager to hear what kinds of words you should be including in your subject lines.
You should aim to always throw in as many power words as you can (the same with in your emails and other content).
Well we’ve established that there aren’t exactly “right” or “wrong” words per say, some words can give you that extra turbo-boost you need.
Words that are effective in subject lines:
- “Today only”, or “this week only”.
- “Looking for”
- “Get your”
- “Last day”
Generally you want to include as many strong adjectives and power words as possible.
Open up your online thesaurus and start looking for new and creative ways to get your point across.
A list of the best email subject lines you can use
We’ve put together a bunch of email subject line templates you can use below:
1) “Turn your [common problem your audience has] into [their desired outcome]”
2) “You’re not going to believe this..”
3) “X tactics for combating [a challenge or pain point they have]”
4) “Swipe my [free product]”
5) “Tips to help you what that [problem] you’re having.”
6) “How to make [X amount of money] in [number of days]”
7) “Here’s the exact [roadmap/blueprint] I used to [ something you achieved]”
8) “You’re missing out on [X]”
9) “You don’t want to miss [ X ]”
10) “Still struggling to [make sales, get subscribers, start your business, etc], do this instead.”
11) “Only one week left to grab your [X]”
12) “Here is that [info/freebie] I promised you.”
13) “The reason no one (buy/comments/reads ,etc) your (products/blog,etc )”
14) “Learn how to [ something your audience/customers wants to learn] quickly and easily”
15) “Here’s why you haven’t hit [ an income goal ] yet”
16) “How to [get/earn] your first [ 1000 subscribers, $1000]”
17) “2 reasons your [customers, audience] isn’t buying”
18) “I never wanted to have to this..”
19) “Some practical thoughts of [controversial topic]”
20) “Sneaky mistakes that are ruining your [business, motivation, productivity,etc]”
21) “You’re missing out on [something your audience wouldn’t want to miss out on] by doing this”
22) “Must-have resources to fix [a pain point your audience has] quickly”
23) “Don’t forget to grab your freebie!”
24) “# [blog post, sales funnel, weight-loss,etc] ideas”
25) “Stop wasting your money on [something relevant to your audience]”
26) “I need your help”
27) “# of mistakes you’re making right now in your business”
28) “How can I help?”
29) “Don’t open this email”
30) “Is there still no [something your audience wants] coming your way? Let’s fix that”
31) “Don’t get caught committing these shocking [something your audience may be but shouldn’t be doing]”
32) “Tired of feeling like [X]?”
33) “Hey, did you forget something?” (This can be used mainly for customers who abandoned their cart)
34) “If you have a website, you absolutely need this”
35) “Here’s your [freebie, something you promised, etc] as promised”
36) “[First name of subscriber]” (You can add anything short after this, but by using their name, you’re personalizing the email and making it much more relatable.)
37) “Your [coupon, gift card, etc] is about to expire!”
38) “Feeling [emotion]? We can help”
39) “Where is the love?” (If your subscriber hasn’t been opening your emails)
40) “Is it time to say goodbye?” (Another option if your subscriber has gone cold)
41) “The balls in your court” (Can be used in a sales email)
42) “This opinion may not be your typical [blogging, business, health, etc] advice”
43) “You won’t believe this”
44) “Do you like free stuff?”
45) “ You wouldn’t believe what just happened”
46) “I promise it is worth it”
47) “Only open if [something relevant to your audience]”
48) “You don’t want to miss this!”
49) “URGENT, you have only 24 hours left to [buy this, watch this, etc]”
50) “My [strong adjective] secrets finally revealed”
51) “I’ve got some bad news for you.”
As we’ve seen, a variety of different tactics work in subject lines. But what’s crucial to remember is: your audience.
My audience will be different than your audience, and yours will be different than another bloggers or entrepreneurs.
Even if you’re in the same niche as someone else, it doesn’t automatically translate to you having the same ideal readers.
Why does this even matter, when we’re talking about email subject lines?
Because, your target audience or target customer will carry over onto all of your platforms. Your website, your blog, your social media profiles, and your email list.
Email has been around for a long time.
And with the number of email accounts in use continuing to grow, I think it’s safe to say email marketing isn’t going anywhere.
No matter what your goals are with email marketing – you absolutely need your emails to be opened; otherwise you don’t stand a chance at capturing leads and conversions.
And all of these things begin with having killer email subject lines.
If no one is feeling your subject lines – they’re not going to venture into the email. (Even if it’s a darn good email!).
So focusing on crafting subject lines that incite curiosity, urgency, or intrigue your audience, should be your first step with your email marketing strategy.
Just don’t forget that the email marketing service you use can also have an impact on whether or not your emails are opened. You’ll also get higher open rates when you use double confirmation, but if you want to stick with single confirmation, email verification services like Clearout.io can help.