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10 best email subject lines to boost your open rates

email subject lines

How many times have you logged into your email only to see it’s overloaded with businesses trying to get your attention? When that happens, like most of us, you probably go on a deleting rampage. As a business owner, one of your goals is to make sure your customers want to open (and read) your emails. You don’t want to be one of those automatically deleted newsletters. So how can you guarantee you get your subscribers’ attention?

Let’s back up for a second. Email marketing, as a marketing strategy, is one of the best ways to get right in your customers’ personal space and with Wix Email Marketing you can send and share emails in minutes (learn how to connect your email to your Wix website). But you have to remember that your business is one of many others with the same access to that special spot, and you only have one chance to draw them in. The key to getting more reads?

A powerful subject line.

What is an email subject line?

When you’re learning about what email marketing is, one of the first things you need to know about is the email subject line. It’s the first line of text that your readers see when they receive an email, their first impression. Your subject line is a brief yet powerful opportunity to communicate the purpose of your email. Typically 50-70 characters long, it’s used to summarize the content of your email and entice the recipient to open it.

Why is a good email subject line important? 

A good subject line is an important email marketing tool because it’s the first thing that recipients see. It is their first impression of your email, and it can make or break whether they open it or not.

Here are some reasons why a good email subject line is important:

  • It boosts open rates. With so many emails flooding inboxes every day, it can be difficult for your email to stand out. A good subject line will help your email get noticed and increase the chances of it being opened. In general, emails with good subject lines have a higher average open rate than emails with bad subject lines. 

  • It sets expectations. The subject line should give recipients a good idea of what the email is about. This will help them decide whether or not to open it.

  • It encourages engagement. With the right subject line, recipients are more likely to read the entire email and engage with it. If the subject line indicates that the offer is time-sensitive or that the information is important, your readers will be more likely to take action immediately.

  • It helps you track your results. You can use email marketing software to track how many people open your emails. This information can help you determine which subject lines are most effective and improve your email marketing campaigns.

10 types of subject lines worth trying

Poorly written (or lazy) subject lines are one of the most common email mistakes. And while a basic formula might not work all the time, it's worth heeding these guidelines. To help you out, we've also gathered 10 types of subject lines that are sure to grab your readers’ attention. Check out the examples below.

01. The reminder: "Only 24 hours left to get 50% off on our summer sandals"

Time is money, and that is why you should include urgency when drafting your emails. Sometimes you need to make sure that your clients know that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is indeed a real thing.

the reminder email subject line

02. The funny one: "What underwear should you wear on No Pants Day?"

If you’re able to put a smile on their faces, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get them to click. Try to be whimsical with your content and don’t be scared to make fun of yourself and your brand. Don’t roast and humiliate your business, but try to spice up your text with a bit of humor. Doing so will give you that approachable angle that is needed when trying to invade that personal email space.

03. The command: "Eat this today and you’ll get a six pack!"

Commands work well in email subject lines because they tell the recipient exactly what you want them to do. This can be a very effective way to get their attention and make them more likely to open your email.

For example, a subject line like "Click here to claim your free gift" is much more likely to be opened than a subject line like "New product announcement." The first subject line tells people exactly what they need to do, while the second subject line is more vague and may not be as attention-grabbing.

Determine what your readers are curious to find out and start with a command that will force them to click on to find the answer. 

04. The beneficial one: "Learn how to get paid for your creative ideas"

“Why should I click on your email and not delete it right away?” – this is the question your readers will most likely have when reading your subject line. With plenty of emails waiting to be read, how can you stand out? By promising readers some kind of added value in the content that awaits them inside the email, they’ll have a strong incentive to open it. Find a subject that can benefit them, because at the end of the day, it will also benefit you and your business.

email subject lines example

05. The teaser: "The perfect gift for when you meet your date’s parents"

A teaser subject line is a type of subject line that creates a sense of mystery or intrigue. It leaves the recipient wanting more information, which can increase the chances that they will open the email. 

You only have a few words to make a good impression. The best strategy is to tease your readers ever so slightly to intrigue them to read on. You need to let them know that something bigger and better is waiting for them if they do in fact click.

06. The ego: "The amazing marketing technique that can only fit quality businesses"

There are few things that really get to people’s hearts like a good compliment. If you’re not overdoing it, a solid compliment can lure readers to open an email. Flattery is considered an important technique in marketing. By making your subscribers feel special and unique, you can increase the chances that they’ll want to open the email you just sent them. Offer a compliment to generate an interest in what you have to offer…that just happens to be a click away.

07. The personal one: "Carol, the blue buttoned shirt you wanted is up for sale!"

“Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. This quote by Dale Carnegie is more than eighty years old and is still relevant to this day. When you hit them on a personal level, you’re guaranteed to move up to the next level. Gather all the information you have on your potential customers and don’t be afraid to use it. Target them and do your best to be more personal to boost engagement with content that they’ll find interesting. 

example email subject lines

08. The emotional one: "These puppies want you to love them!"

Have you ever met someone who said no to seeing cute puppies? Try to find the soft spots your target audience has and hit them hard. Babies, puppies, kittens and other cute beings tend to trigger a nurturing urge in humans. The promise to provide potential customers with that warm, fuzzy feeling can be used to your advantage to get more of your sent emails opened.

09. The reverse psychology one: "Don’t open this email if you’re not into free snacks"

As a kid, I was told “no” too many times. This usually resulted in me doing it anyway. Use that reverse psychology to your own advantage and present readers with an enticing line that will influence them to do the opposite of what you’re asking them to do (which is exactly what you were wishing for).

email subject lines examples

10. The FOMO one: "Check out who made it to the top of your class"

As we established earlier, the Fear of Missing Out is real and critical. As a society, we feel obligated to be competitive and always look over our shoulders to see how well our friends are doing. Create a subject line that sparks their curiosity, so your readers feel the need to find out what they’re missing out on.

How do you create the best email subject line?

The formula to follow in order to create a successful subject line is:

Number or question + adjective + keywords + promise

For example:

  • 10 amazing flip-flops that’ll make you shine this summer.

  • How to choose amazing flip-flops that’ll land you your dream job.

A few do’s

There are email marketing tips and best practices to keep in mind with your subject line:

  • Mind the length: Keep it short and sweet, so it will fit all kinds of screens, from smartphones to tablets. The same is true for the best email signature examples.

  • Change and modify: Spice it up and experiment. You need to keep your content fresh and your target audience interested.

  • Add emojis: They have proved to increase opening rates and they save space.

  • Test things out: Always analyze how your email marketing campaign performed.  This way, you can learn what worked and what didn’t.

A few don’ts

There are also email mistakes to avoid, specifically with subject lines: 

  • DO NOT WRITE IN CAPS: This will create the wrong kind of unnecessary urgency that will trigger readers to click delete instead.

  • Avoid false promises: Do not lie. If you think of a clever subject line, but you can’t deliver what you’re promising, then don’t use it.

  • Don’t overuse punctuation!!!???: One question mark will serve your purpose.

Email subject lines FAQ

What is a good email subject line?

A good email subject line is clear, concise and attention-grabbing. It should give the recipient a good idea of what the email is about and make them want to open it.

What subject lines get the most opens?

What are some examples of good email subject lines?

What are some mistakes to avoid in email subject lines?

How can I test different subject lines?

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