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  • Writer's pictureChristy

The Art of the Subject Line

Now that we’ve determined email marking is still the most productive use of your marketing spend, and we’ve discussed some ways to grow your list as well as some do’s and don’ts of a good campaign, it’s time to talk about the MOST IMPORTANT element to a successful marketing email:

The subject line.

Most people spend all their time on the body of their email and write the subject line as an afterthought. But if you think about it, the subject line is the make-or-break for your email getting past first base. As much or more time should be spent choosing just the right words to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more.

In this post, we'll talk about the secret sauce for crafting a great subject line that will keep your emails from being trashed before they are even opened.

1. Make them personal

The average open rate for marketing emails is around 20%. But if you personalize your subject line, the stats show that your open rate goes up by 50%! Using the recipient’s name is best, but even adding their location or other demographic info can increase the likelihood of the email being opened.

Here are some examples from my inbox:

  • “Christy, here’s what your neighbors have been up to!” (Angi)

  • “Christy: Your May trend report is here.” (DSW)

  • “It’s been awhile, Christy! Let’s catch up.” (David’s Bridal)

2. Pique their curiosity

Curiosity-inducing subject lines can entice recipients to open the email to find out more. Examples:

  • “How MrBeast Gets Millions of Views, and What Marketers Can Learn From Him” (Hubspot)

  • “How to create a cozy family room.” (Pottery Barn)

  • “Hot Diggity Dog! Keep your pet cool this spring with these tips. 🐶” (PetFlow)

  • “We think you might like these…” (XFinity)

3 wooden blocks are stacked on top of each other reading "tell me more"

3. Tap into their FOMO

No one wants to miss out on a great deal. Urgency-driven subject lines encourage recipients to take immediate action. Examples:

  • “LAST CHANCE: Make your tropical escape with fares from $99 one way!” (Alaska Airlines)

  • “[YOUR DEAL] 10% Off Ends Wednesday! ” (Big 5 Sporting Goods)

  • “Don’t miss these sharp savings on Wusthof cutlery - up to 50% off + free shipping” (Williams Sonoma)

4. Add a touch of peer pressure

Social proof subject lines draw on the human urge to keep up with our neighbors. They also add credibility and build trust. Examples:

  • “Neighbors trust these Windsor home service pros” (NextDoor)

  • “See why travelers are loving Hoi An, Vietnam.” Trip Advisor

  • “Hop on these spring trends! 🌼” (Michaels)

5. Make them smile (and maybe even laugh)

A little humor can go a long way toward standing out in a recipient's inbox and creating a positive association with your brand. Examples:

  • “Don't open this email if you don't like savings.” (Red Robin)

  • “Yummm with a side of savings ” (Red Robin)

  • “[take the deal] ⏰$5 off $25” Big 5

6. SHOW (and tell)

Pictures in the subject line are all the rage these days, have you noticed?


I hope this inspires you to spend the time writing irresistible subject lines your readers won’t be able to scroll past.

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