How to Write Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

4 tips for increasing open rates

email subject lines

Your email subject lines can literally make or break your email marketing campaigns. Just like the headlines in your blog posts or articles must grab people’s attention, your emails must stand out from all the others in your subscriber’s inbox and give them a reason to click on it.

In fact, the difference between a successful email marketing campaign that brings in sales and one where your emails remain unopened (or in spam filters), is directly related to your subject lines. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your subject lines:

4 Tips for Writing Email Subject Lines

[clickToTweet tweet=”Personalisation – it is not about first/last name. It’s about relevant content – Dan Jak” quote=”Personalisation – it is not about first/last name. It’s about relevant content – Dan Jak”]

Clarity – When you are trying to write email subject lines that will grab people’s attention, you may be tempted to use wordplay and creativity in order to increase open rates – be careful! History has shown that convoluted or confusing subject lines will often backfire, leaving you scrambling to apologize to your subscribers and repair the damage that’s been done.

Remember that your readers have email coming in from many other email marketers and sources. They don’t have time to sort through who has something of true value to offer and who are being dishonest or using questionable strategies to get their attention. Misuse their time and trust, and you’ll lose them forever.

People want to zero in on information that is straightforward and to the point. When it comes to email subject lines, clarity wins over fanciness and flowery language every single time.

For example, if you were promoting a gift website to a new email list, a subject line that says…

“10 Ideas for Valentine Day’s Gifts for Her That You’d Never Think Of”

…is more likely to get a response than one that says, “10 Gifts For Her”. There is always room for creativity but it shouldn’t overrule clarity.

[clickToTweet tweet=”An email without clarity is like an annoying mime: Just say what you want or get out the way!” quote=”An email without clarity is like an annoying mime: Just say what you want or get out the way!”]

Share Stories & Connect – People respond to stories that are based on real life experiences rather than those that are full of facts, statistics and data. Catch their attention with subject lines that incorporate personalized elements.

For example, if you are selling an e-book on relationships, consider a direct subject line that illustrates real life couples in everyday situations, such as:

Keeping Your Relationship Alive: How 10 Couples Spice It Up

This type of subject line would ultimately work better than only saying, “How To Keep Your Relationship Alive”.

Ask A Question – Another way to spice up your email subject lines and boost open rates is to write it as though you are asking a question. For example…

“Valentine’s Day Traditions: Yay or Nay?”

…is far more catchy than “A Look at Valentine’s Day Traditions” when you want to suggest alternative traditions and open up a line of communication.

Questions help to engage your readers and involve them in the process of building a solid relationship, while making them feel as part of a group or community.

Create Urgency – Another strategy is to create urgency so that a reader is motivated to open your page and take the action you have suggested. Rather than say, “10 Ways To Make Money Online” consider…

“For 24 Hours Only Download: ’10 Simple Ways To Make Money Online!'”

You may have never even considered using provocative or controversial email subject lines. However, once you’ve taken a peek behind the curtain and have witnessed just how incredibly effective they are, you’ll be running circles in your mind trying to come up with as many fresh, creative and compelling subject lines as you can think of.

[clickToTweet tweet=”How to write a good email: 1. Write your email 2. Delete most of it 3. Send – Dan Mun” quote=”How to write a good email: 1. Write your email 2. Delete most of it 3. Send – Dan Mun”]

Final Thoughts

email subject linesWriting email subject lines that get opened is not about being cute or using fancy language. It’s more about using words that your reader connects with and that arouse their curiosity.

Always be clear in your email subject lines as to what the message is about. Your readers do not have the time to try and guess what you mean. Besides, they’ve got too many emails in their inbox to sort through as it is.

Share a story like, “How I Connected With My Readers and Increased Open Rates”. Your readers want you to connect with them and to become part of the story…so let them!

Asking questions and creating a sense of urgency also work well in your email subject lines. People want to be engaged in the process nowadays, and asking questions is a great way to do this.

But more than anything else: know your readers, what they need, what they want, and use their language in your subject lines. Doing so will help you build rapport and trust with your subscribers.

God bless,


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