8 Powerful Email Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates

email subject lines

For email, the subject line accounts for 80% of the importance of your message. After all, if your reader doesn’t click through to your email after reading it, they will never see your full message. So whether you run an eCommerce company, SaaS company, blog, or other type of business or organization, you need to improve your subject lines so that more readers open your emails.

See also: Top 10 Best Tips For Writing Effective Email Content

Here are 8 powerful types of email subject lines that can lead to higher open rates, based on years of scientific psychology research and marketing experts’ findings:

1. Self Interest

This is the go-to subject line, and you should use it often. It should be direct and speak to your audience’s own selfish desires. There is nothing your prospect cares more about than their own self-interest.

The most straight forward and clear method for writing an email subject line is to communicate how opening the email will benefit the reader.

  • How will the content of your email get them something they want?
  • Or, how will it protect them against something they don’t want?

2. Curiosity

You have no-doubt seen and clicked on “clickbait” subject lines before. Many of these irresistible subject lines rely on the natural curiosity of people. If you imply that more juicy information is available just beyond on the next page, then your recipients will be more likely to click.

A well-crafted, curiosity-driven email subject line will often get outstanding open rates.

That said, a curiosity based email subject line will often fail miserably. Where possible, combine one of these other elements (e.g., News or Self Interest tactics) with curiosity.

3. Urgency / Take-Away

These subject lines communicate to your reader that they must act immediately in order to benefit from what you have. It is a pressure technique, so use it only when you really have limited time or availability for your offer. Speaking of offers …

4. Offer

Everyone likes getting things for free. If you directly make an offer to your list, then they will have higher open rates. Persuade them that you have something worth the effort of reading your email, and they will thank you for it.

5. Gratitude

One of the most powerful ways to increase your open rates is to say “thank you” to your list. Send them a birthday gift, a holiday promotion, or simply an email without any kind of offer or sale. People love to be appreciated.

6. News

Everyone wants to stay informed about what is going on in their community or the world at large. Leverage this tendency by providing relevant information in your subject line and promising more details in the email itself.

You can pull great open rates by communicating that your email contains something that is new to the reader. Combining a News based subject line with Curiosity or Self Interest can work well.

7. Story

Tell a story whenever you can. If your audience feels like they will be rewarded with drama, intrigue, or an interesting moral, they will read on. Be careful not to leave them hanging forever – every story should come to a conclusion eventually.

An email subject line that tells the beginning of a story can be effective. The subject line will need to create curiosity to get opened.

  • How can your email be wrapped in a story?

8. Social Proof

Everyone responds to social proof. We are hardwired to believe a statement if many other people have claimed to believe it as well. This goes the same for your brand – people trust what others trust. So highlight success stories, include testimonials, case studies, or any data that validates your acceptance by other people.

People make decisions, in part, by observing the decisions other people have made. Effective email subject lines often provide social proof that other people have made the choice you would like your reader to make.

  • Have an impressive number of people who’ve already made the same choice you’d like the reader to make?

Conclusion

In the copywriting world, headlines are all the rage. In the email marketing world, the subject line is the headline. And because your list will never see your body content if they aren’t persuaded by your subject line, you must ensure you use these powerful examples above to increase your open rates.

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