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The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates

The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles To Increase Your Open Rates

How many unread emails do you have in your inbox – 300? 800? Or, if you’re like me and participate in countless mailing lists, then maybe 2644? And that’s after a bit of spring cleaning of Gmail!

We receive a massive amount of emails every day, and many of them go unopened. People are overwhelmed by the large volume of messages – more than at any other time in history! But we don’t have any more time to process these messages. But we don’t have more time to absorb these messages. The opportunities of your email being ignored are pretty high – unless, of course, you have a mind-blowing Subject Line.

Your Subject Line is the initial (and possibly last) impression you make on your subscribers. In many ways, the Subject Line of your email is more important than the body of your email. After all, a fabulous newsletter is worthless if it never sees the light of day.

There are a couple of various schools of thought when creating a slam dunk Subject Line. We’ll cover nine different types of Effective Email Subject Lines, with examples sprinkled in, because more open rates mean more online sales.

 

1. Simple, No-Nonsense Email Subject Lines

There’s a lot to be said for minimalism – users require you to be concise and transparent in your Subject Lines because time is always an asset.

MailChimp performed an Email Subject Line research study and found that brief, descriptive Subject Lines are better than cheesy bait. Some people may be angry at the accusation that humor and creativity should take a back seat to create good Email Subject Lines, especially as many marketing experts think otherwise.

It’s worth noting that this straightforward approach is most applicable to notification emails, where the user already has a connection with what you’re delivering.

Examples of these Subject Lines involve updates or notifications related to the user’s social media activity, order status, etc. These emails have a specific purpose, so their Subject Lines should also be specific.

 

2. Funny Email Subject Lines

A humorous Subject Line can stand out in the dry, dull emails that surround it. However, humor is a sensitive thing – it’s active in terms of exclusivity, which isn’t always a good thing if you’re trying to appeal to the masses. However, if you recognize your audience well and your email is targeted, a well-placed joke can get your email opened up and earn you important reputation points on your bandwagon.

Some examples of funny Email Subject Lines:

  • Please Touch Me! Corporate fun through multi-touch
  • Defending Against the Dark Arts: ESAPI
  • Do gamers dream of HTML5 sheep?
  • Lean Startup: The baby gets (fed) back – Putting the lean in learning

The phrase ‘touch me’ is a laugh most readers will understand, but the cleverness of the other funny Email Subject Lines may be lost on some users who haven’t been to Hogwarts or taken the Walter Kampf empathy test.

However, if you can recite every line of Sir Mix a Lot’s Baby Gets Back word for word, as some of us have, you’ll love this “lean startup” Subject Line.

 

3. Controversial/Shocking Email Subject Lines

Controversy (sometimes) sells, and it certainly attracts attention. Using shock, controversy, or insult in your Subject Line requires you to proceed with caution. You may be turned on but at the cost of your customers.

This strategy requires you to have confidence in your understanding of your audience’s tastes and perceptions. It’s a gamble, but the rewards can be considerable – would you be perfunctory with the following Subject Line? Not likely.

  • Everybody’s gay: social media as social action
  • Why is your 5-year-old is more digitally savvy than most CMOs
  • Your marketing sucks. Why do you need local thinking?

 

4. Single-Word Subject Lines

An Effective Email Subject Line strategy involves going ultra-simple with a one-word Subject Line. Let’s look at the Promotions tab in my Gmail. The Promotions tab is scheduled for a major makeover – Google has started displaying promotional emails with an image-oriented design inspired by Pinterest. If this new setup sticks, images will replace the Subject Line as the critical element of emails.

Until then, we still require to worry about the state of the Promotions tab. It’s full of clutter, with pile after pile of unopened emails. Which one stands out the most?

 

5. Email Subject Lines with Numbers & Lists

Many factors that make up a good blog post title will also make a good Email Subject Line. Incorporating numbers into your Subject Line will attract attention because our brains are naturally drawn to numbers. That’s why top 10 lists are so successful – lists are more accessible for our brains to process, and, as well as offering the promise of a quick and easy read, they create curiosity.

Numbers and list-style Email Subject Lines stand out for the same reason as single-word Subject Lines or unusual punctuation – visual jabs.

The best objective is to make your Email Subject Lines stand out visually. How you do this is up to you!

 

6. Personalized Subject Lines

Including personalization techniques in Email Subject Lines is another way to boost open rates. By personalization, I don’t mean including the user’s name in the Subject Line – this has become so common that many users see these emails as spam.

Instead, attempt location-specific offers and language or interest targeting – LivingSocial and Groupon are old hands at this, sending emails with topics that promote offers in your area.

LivingSocial also uses the very Effective but always creepy remarketing tactic of sending me emails about deals I’ve seen but didn’t end up buying. LivingSocial also sends me new offers based on my past purchases.

 

7. Questions & Other Punctuation in Email Subject Lines

Question marks and unusual punctuation provide another way to stand out from the crowd of emails. Exclamation marks can be helpful, but they are overused in Subject Lines and often not very powerful. Instead, try using some interesting symbols or loud punctuation to catch ‘peoples’ eye.

Asking your readers a question rather than a formal statement can immediately engage them. Questions enter into an immediate conversation with the user, making them more likely to be turned on.

 

8. “Missing Out” & Other Scarcity Tactics in Subject Lines

We have a deep, innate fear of being left behind, of Missing Out – a herd mentality that was once a survival instinct, but now it’s just another Subject Line tactic to entice us to buy. Email Subject Lines that threaten scarcity (limited time offer!) Often performing well, this language is also standard practice on squeeze pages.

People will take some pretty chilling action to avoid ‘missing out. Yes, we all have a severe case of FOMO. Throw in some scarcity words, and you might be surprised at what happens to your click-through rate.

 

9. Mysterious Email Subject Lines

 

Email Subject Line Best Practices

When crafting these baits, keep in mind some general best practices for good Email Subject Lines.

  • Write multiple Subject Lines. You should write ten Subject Lines for each email, just as you write ten headlines for each blog post. Then choose the best one.
  • Please keep it to 50 characters or less. It’s generally best practice to keep Subject Lines under 50 characters, and Subject Lines of less than 50 characters have higher open and click-through rates than those of more than 50. If it’s more than 50 characters, you risk getting chopped 0-.
  • Far-fetched. Ample allusions attract people! Try using some catchy Email Subject Lines.
  • More capital letters ≠ , more openness. Covering your Subject Line with capital letters won’t help you. Capital letters are powerful, but they should not be used liberally. Use them carefully and responsibly.
  • Know your audience. The best way to create good Email Subject Lines is to get to know your audience closely and cater to them. This is an essential rule for almost all aspects of online marketing. While it can be a little challenging to use as a Subject Line in a limited field, matching your audience’s interests and demeanor is vital if you want to get consistent open rates.
  • What is your tone of voice? Most excellent Email Subject Lines rely on a conversational tone to engage the reader.
  • Call to action. It’s never a negative suggestion to try a call to action in your Email Subject Line. While many people opt out due to limited character space, a call to action may increase open rates.

Even a simple “Go for it!” can also be a motivational call to action.

  • Use you/your. Although salutation has been phased out, using the wording “you” and “yours” to speak directly to the reader is still considered a best practice.
  • Put yourself in the “From” column. Keep your ‘From’ section professional and consistent with your business Subject Line. This is not the place to be a douche – there is so much spam out there that users want to see that you are a legitimate and trustworthy source. Most commercial emails put their brand name in the “From” field.
  • Always A/B test the Subject Line. I must sound like a broken record – I know, I know, A/B testing blaa, so important, blaa. Well, it is. You should A/B test everything within reach of your keyboard fingers, including Email Subject Lines.
  • Pay attention to the preview. The email preview behind the Subject Line is a valuable piece of property, but many businesses ignore it or let it fill up with spam text.

 

Doing it right:

Many emails have this or similar text because they want to be viewed by those reading on a mobile device in a web browser. Instead, move the ‘view in browser link and other miscellaneous stuff to the bottom of the email so you can make the most of the preview area.

  • See something you like? Steal it! All the world’s greatest artists are thieves – they ‘borrow’ from others and create their work based on existing work. Don’t be afraid to break the mold. If you see great Subject Lines that you think will work for your business, then grab them! Make a few tweaks to them and try them out. Make some adjustments to them and try them on for size. Remember, imitation is flattery, so flatter the best Email Subject Lines.

 

Why Do My Open Rates Suck?

Are you having problems with your open email rates? Working on your Subject Line will help, but there may be other factors at play, too, such as:

  • Is the email viewable? If your email doesn’t review well on a user’s device, they won’t bother to decipher it.
  • Are you a pest? If you email people every day, they may have grown tired of you, and if you keep making yourself a nuisance, they won’t open your emails again.
  • When do you send them? Lots of people don’t check their emails as often as they should at the weekend. See our article on the best time to send email newsletters.
  • The quality of your email list. Is this a reliable, targeted email list? If your list is not of high quality, it may be reflected in your open rates.

Hopefully, we’ve provided you with the details you need to make an Email Subject Line that will dazzle you.

Enjoy the post? Fast track implementation by purchasing our Email Subject Lines template now so you can skyrocket conversions.

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