Regardless if you’re new to the game or if email marketing is old hat to you, the first thing you’re going to want to focus on is crafting a compelling subject line. Because, if you can’t get your subscribers to open your emails, it really doesn’t matter how good the actual email is.

Recent 2020 benchmarks paint a solid picture for open rates for various industries. On average, however, only 17.8% of emails are getting opened. And can you guess what the number one factor that comes into play when we look at why emails are opened or not?

Yep, compelling subject lines.

So, it’s great to spend a lot of time crafting an overarching email campaign and writing engaging, data-driven copy for each segment of the campaign, but if you just then slap a subject line on it at the end, you’ve probably wasted all your hard work.

Crafting email subject lines takes time and you really do need to do some split testing to see which ones work for your audience and industry.

Before you get too carried away though, here are five tips to get you started.

Keep It Short

We are getting more and more time-poor – it’s the very nature of living our best lives. We want things and we want them fast.

The same goes for our email inboxes.

We want to scan our inbox and make quick decisions as to whether the email contains information that solves one of our problems.

So, consider this when you write your subject line. You’re going to want your readers to be able to see the entire subject line, and easily. Try to get your point across in 50 characters or less.

Also, consider checking out hos your subject lines look on your own devices – laptops, desktops, tablets, and other smart devices. If you know what device your audience prefers, then write your subject line to fit neatly and snuggly on the one line, specific for that device.

Another great idea for learning to write compelling subject lines is to keep a swipe file of subject lines that grabbed your attention when they landed in your email inbox. Even if the emails are on a very different topic, you can adapt them for your own needs.

Avoid “Spammy” Words

You don’t have to be a pro email marketer to know that there are words that trigger spam filters.

A quick Google will get you a lot of stats and the words themselves, so do yourself a favour and download the latest copy and keep it handy when you’re writing your email subject lines.

Typical email spam trigger words include “sale”, “discount”, “coupon”, “free”, “limited time offer,” and even “reminder”. They are overused and even if they don’t trigger a spam filter and actually make it to your reader’s inbox, the data tells us that readers will likely ignore the emails.

Instead, a neat hack is to go back to that swipe file of emails that you’re saving. See which subject lines go the best open rates and then try to analyse why they worked well for your market. Not everything will work well in every niche. Find the types of subject lines that get your readers to open your emails and tweak from there.

It is an ongoing process, but one that is worth your time and effort.

Personalise It

Personalising your email subject lines is a tried and tested strategy for a reason. You may have a personal preference for or against, but it still works very well for many niches and industries.

The key is to not overdo it and to keep those personalised fields up your sleeve for when you need them to open the email. Or for the email that you’ve flagged as the most important in your overarching email campaign.

Depending on what data you collect when your readers sign up, you can personalise other things, such as their location. Sometimes seeing those other tiny attempts to personalise an email work very well.

Give it try and see if it works for you.

Pique Their Curiosity

We are all nosy and it’s hard to ignore subject lines that sound intriguing or only tell part of the story. Using “…” at the end of your subject line will also work.

Remember that this has nothing to do with click-bait. This is to do with creating intrigue and compelling your reader to click on your email and find out more. Click-bait is about offering your reader something interesting that aligns with their problem, but not actually delivering on that promise. The difference is costly and can turn some audiences away.

The Idea Behind Crafting Compelling Subject Lines is Simple

It really is about getting those on your list to open the email to find out what the heck you’re talking about or how the story ends.

The overarching part of your email strategy is just as important and your subject lines should align to the purpose of why you’re emailing your list. We don’t just email for the sake of it.

Are you confident with your strategy? Is your campaign delivering opens as well as click-throughs with an end goal of conversions?

If you’re looking for more, consider our on demand Email Marketing Masterclass where you’ll learn how to educate and inform, promote and convert, and nurture and retain your audience. Includes a bonus Nurture Sequence Workbook.


GET OUR PROVEN ‘FILL-IN-THE-BLANK’ RECIPES FOR CREATING HEADLINES YOUR READERS CAN’T HELP BUT CLICK RIGHT HERE because your marketing results will skyrocket when you’re writing the right words!