Write Killer Subject Lines to Massively Increase Open Rates

Email marketing is a great tool to use and getting people to open your emails is the name of the game. If no one reads the emails, you won’t benefit from this marketing strategy at all. Increase open rates and get more views using these simple tips to stand out in the sea of emails people are bombarded with every day.

Use a Familiar Name and Email Address

Gone are the days of using “no-reply” email addresses. Many customers distrust brands who use this type of address and send them directly to spam. Make sure that the email address the emails are sent from is professional, yet familiar. Set up the email account to show a name along with the email address to further the concept that the emails are coming from a real person, not just a mindless robot, said Word Guru.

Add an Emoji or Number

Most emails are opened on mobile devices, and customers like the informality that emojis offer. They also break up the monotony of the other subject lines that you are competing within an inbox, making your subject line stand out that much more.

Numbers included in blog post titles have been shown to increase viewership at incredible rates, and the same has been shown to be effective for email subject lines as well. Something as simple as saying the number of points that will be covered is sufficient. Putting a number of hours or days an offer is available into the subject line increases the sense of urgency, as well.

Keep it Short

Shorter subject lines have been shown to increase open rates. Less than eight words is the general rule of thumb, but three to five words is optimal. Keeping it short and sweet intrigues customers by providing just enough information to make them curious, but not enough to see entirely what the email will be about. That should be saved for the first line within the email itself.

Create Urgency

Get people to open your emails by creating a sense of urgency to encourage them to click now. This could be a flash sale that is ending soon or a discount that is only available for a limited time. It could even be a free offer, like an email course, download, book, or special gift, that will expire soon.

However, remember to use subject lines like this sparingly. If used too often, customers will realize that the sense of urgency does not necessarily exist, as a new sale will come along soon. This would not be a good situation, as the company would no longer be able to use these subject lines at all.

Generate Curiosity

Generate curiosity by using a vague subject line or asking a question. Be careful not to make the subject line too ambiguous, however, as this could cause a reader to ignore it completely. Asking a question is a great route to go, as it generates interest as to what answer will be proposed to the subject.

Use Humor

Making customers smile or even laugh is a great way to encourage them to open an email. Reading an inbox full of emails can be tedious. Breaking up the usual routine with a pun or witty opener can often be enough to stand out. Injecting humor and personality into the email itself is a great idea as well, as it will capture a reader's attention and encourage them to read to the end.


When you can tailor each email to a person's specific needs and wants, they are much more likely to respond and feel as if they are being targeted as an individual, rather than just a faceless email. You should also work to create copy that makes customers feel as if they are unique, and a priority.

Personalizing content is so important when it comes to creating spectacular email campaigns that engage and convert subscribers, so it should not be taken lightly. Using segmenting to create different campaigns for different types of people is a great way to provide the personalization needed to increase both open rates and engagement rates. The more personalized the emails are, the more subscribers will look forward to opening your emails.

Segment, Segment, Segment

Segment email lists so that emails are sent to those who are most interested. Some great methods to segment emails include:

  • Past Purchases

  • Buying Cycles

  • Purchase Frequency

  • Opt-In Place

  • Content Interest

  • Engagement

  • Change of Behavior

  • Page Views

  • Call-to-Action Clicks

  • Event Attendance

As you can see, there are loads of different ways to segment email lists. Targeting different parts of your list with varying email campaigns is a sure way to make each email more personalized to the customers' interests, purchasing patterns, engagement level, and personalities.

Send at Prime Times

Sending emails very early in the morning or very late at night is often not a good strategy for optimizing open rates. Think about who your audience is and when they are most likely to check their email. For office workers, during the lunch hour or late afternoon is often a good time to send emails out to ensure you are at the top of their inbox when they go to check their email.

Other target audiences may check emails at different times of the day. Parents are probably most likely to check their emails during nap time or after the kids have gone to bed, while people who work from home might be checking their emails mid-morning. Do some research and put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes to discover the best time to send emails.

Write Your Killer Subject Lines

Using these simple and practical tips, it becomes effortless to stand out in a person's inbox. Utilize these to create delightful subject lines that will captivate your audience and encourage them to open every email you send. Be sure to take these strategies into account and use different techniques for different segments of your email list.

David Bozin