Email Subject Lines That Increase Open Rates Like Crazy

People are swamped with email messages every day. In fact, according to Wordstream, nearly 105 billion emails are sent each day, a number that’s expected to reach 246 billion before 2020. With so much marketing flooding email boxes on a daily basis, what do you think the odds of your email being ignored are?

The key to better open rates is creating irresistible subject lines

“Your subject line is your first (and maybe your last) impression on users. In many ways, your email subject line is more important than your email body.”   Source: Wordstream

Below you’ll find 10 types of top performing subject lines, with examples of each.

10 Top Performing Email Subject Lines

1. Missing Out – According to Optinmonster, subject lines that incorporate words implying time sensitivity (urgent, breaking news, important, or alert) have been proven to increase email open rates.

Example: “Uh-0h, your subscription expires tomorrow!” or “Your points turn in to pumpkins at midnight!”

2. Curiosity –   Us humans have a natural inclination for closure. Leaving your subject line open-ended is a great way to get subscribers to open your emails and resolve the “cliffhanger.”

Example: “Whatever you do, don’t open this Email!” or “7 bizarre money habits making stay-at-home moms rich!”

3. Funny – Make your subscribers laugh and they’ll have a hard time not opening your emails!

Example: “Licking your phone never tasted so good.” (OpenTable) or “Look what you did, you little jerk!” (The Hustle)

4. Vanity – Part of human nature is the desire to be liked and accepted by others. That’s why some of the best subject lines appeal to subscribers’ vanity.

Example: “Defy age with products the celebs are wearing!” or “Go from ‘NOT’ to ‘HOT’ in our new arrivals!”

5. Greed – For most people, it’s hard to pass up a great deal… even when they don’t necessarily need the item at the time. That’s why discounts and special offers work really well in subject lines.

Example: “This is one limited-time offer you can’t pass up.” or “Get 25% off on your favorite spring essentials!”

6. Laziness – As humans, we all have a tendency to be idle or lazy at times. We want shortcuts to get us out of hard and/or lingering workloads. No wonder emails that offer easy solutions that save time and energy are so popular!

Example: “Sell your retail inventory 10x faster with these 5 expert tips!” or “Steal our best content generating secrets to create a blog post in 10 minutes flat!”

7. Pain Points – When you truly understand your target audience, you also know what their pain points are. You can then use those pain points as an effective means of prompting subscribers to open your emails by promising a solution to their problems.

Example: “Feed the whole gang without breaking the bank!” or “Your worst skincare issues solved with these five easy fixes!”

8. Retarget – When subscribers fail to complete an action or a step in the sales process (they abandon their cart, or fail to purchase after a free trial), you can send them an effective retargeting email to overcome objections. You might even want to give them a little incentive to take the desired action.

Example: “Hey, did forget something? Here’s 20% off.” or “Good news! The price just dropped for something in your cart”

9. Personal – Including your subscribe’rs name is just one method of personalizing your email subject lines. You can also use content that suggests familiarity or friendship or share something personal.

Example: “Happy Birthday, Tim—Surprise Inside!” or “Will you do us a quick favor?”

10. Simple & Straightforward – If you’re not sure what type of subject line to use, go with a simple and straightforward one. While it may seem boring, a no-nonsense subject line can actually be a high converter. Just make sure that the email provides your subscribers with value. Consistently sending emails that provide value will train your subscribers to open your emails, whether it’s “boring” or not.

Example: “Rain Retail Sales & Marketing Newsletter.” or “Yep, this is a fundraising email.”

The Takeaway

We live in a day and age when consumers are being inundated with marketing messages, a great many of which end up in their email boxes  But you can make your emails stand out from the clutter and noise by crafting irresistible subject lines.

According to MailChimp, the most effective email subject lines are brief, descriptive, and include a compelling reason for the user to click ‘open’.

Use the 10 tips above to create captivating subject lines that will make the difference between your emails ending up in the delete folder and being opened by potential loyal subscribers.

Also published on Medium.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.