Get Higher Open Rates with 22 of the Best Email Subject Lines
By Kelly Forst July 23, 2020
Never struggle to write email subject lines again with these catchy subject line formulas.
If you’ve ever sat down to write an email, you’ve probably asked yourself: “what if no one opens my email?”
Not a fun feeling, right? Especially if you’re worried that the success of your email rides entirely on your subject line. It’s basically the thing that will make subscribers want to open your message.
Thankfully, there are formulas to help make writing the best email subject lines as easy as pie.
These 22 subject line formulas will help you write catchy subject lines that make subscribers eager to open your emails in no time.
Descriptive subject line formulas
The best email subject lines give your subscribers instant value. How? Tell your subscribers exactly what they can expect from your email using just your subject line.
[Number] ways/strategies to [desired end goal]
Example: 10 ways to get more email subscribers
[Desired end goal] without ever [negative feeling]
Example: Lose weight without ever feeling hungry
How to [desired end goal] even if [barrier to accomplish desired end goal]
Example: How to design a website even if you don’t have coding skills
[Action verb] with/by [lead magnet]
Example: Kickstart your business with our Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing
[Desired end goal] with/by only [plan/strategy to reach desired outcome]
Example: Get a job by only networking on LinkedIn
Want more [desirable outcome] and less [undesirable outcome]?
Example: Want more time and less stress?
Short subject line formulas
Want to stand out in the inbox? Then a shorter subject line may be the best strategy.
On average, there are about 44 characters in an email subject line. Plus, mobile devices tend to cut subject lines off around 33-43 characters. If you want to make sure your subject line is fully visible — no matter how or when your subscriber receives your message — the best email subject lines may be short.
Get rid of [pain point] forever
Example: Get rid of sleepless nights forever.
[Action/plan/method]. Here’s why/how
Example: A/B test your videos. Here’s how
Example 1: New guide!
Example 2: New arrival: check it out
[Number] recommended [product] for you
Example: 7 Recommended homes for you
Personalized subject line formulas
Plus, don’t overlook the power of personalization. Personalized email subject lines have been shown to boost open rates by 50%. That’s because email subscribers want messages that feel personal and tailored to them.
Ready for [event/season/life event], [first name]?
Example: Ready for Summer, Kelly?
[First name], your free [product] is waiting for you
Example: Kelly, your free gift is waiting for you
Hey, [first name], we have an offer for you…
Hey, Kelly, we have an offer just for you…
Subject line examples with emojis
Only 6.9% of emails contain emojis. That means an emoji could help your message stand out in a crowded inbox — as long as it’s relevant and used with a purpose.
In fact, one study found that — when used correctly — email messages that contain emojis in subject lines are opened 66% more than those without.
Sounds promising, right? As with anything in marketing, you’ll want to test emojis in your subject lines to see if they resonate with your audience. You might be surprised.
Here are some subject line examples that use emojis effectively.
Don’t forget about preheaders
Email preheaders are a powerful tool to increase email open rates. Not only do well-written preheaders give your subscribers more context for the email message, but creative preheaders can help give your email more personality.
Subject line: [Ask a question]
Preheader: Here’s how
Subject line: Want to make more sales without spending hours prospecting?
Preheader: Here’s how
Subject line: [Product] is almost sold out
Preheader: Get it before it’s gone
Subject line: Protein cupcakes are almost sold out!
Preheader: Get ‘em before they’re gone.
Subject line: [Case study] did [desired end goal]
Preheader: And you can, too!
Subject line: This entrepreneur launched a business in 1 week
Preheader: And you can, too!
E-Commerce subject line inspiration
Drive more sales by trying out email subject lines that educate your audience about your product and promotions.
It’s/They’re here! [New product], just for you
Example headline: It’s here! New book releases, just for you
Buy 1 [product], get 1 free
Example: Buy 1 skirt, get 1 free
Last chance to save [discount] on [product]
Example: Last chance to save 30% off flights
Your [discount/offer] ends [time period]
Example: Your 25% discount ends at midnight
The one word subject line strategy
It’s hard to call a one word subject line a formula. But, yes, you can send subject lines with just one word. Nothing incites curiosity quite like a vague, but relevant, subject line.
Let’s look at a one word subject line example:
Thanks to genius use of pre-header text, we know there’s a big clearance sale. But this simple, one word subject line makes the reader interested. Don’t you want to see what all the fuss is about?
This strategy is useful if your goal is to drive traffic back to your website, too. In fact, one entrepreneur increased his website traffic by 83% using a one word email subject line that hinted at the email contents.
Now that’s impressive.
Writing effective subject lines is an art and a science.
These email subject line formulas are meant to inspire you and help you think about your approach to writing. But don’t be afraid to experiment and try out some creative writing of your own.
Our best advice? Get creative! Try out different subject lines and test them to see what works for your audience.
And if you need more guidance, remember these 7 rules for writing the world’s best subject lines.
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