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5 Simple Rules for Creating Email Subject Lines that Increase Open Rates

Creating a high performing email can be a tricky task, and it is important to consider every part of the email, starting with the first thing your subscribers see – the subject line. With a few simple words you can pique your readers interest or lose it, just like that.

Below are 5 simple rules to help you write a great subject line that piques the interest of your audience and results in more opens and conversions.

  1. Ask a Question

Since it is human nature to try and answer questions, using a question in your subject line is a good way to engage your reader. And the best subject lines will resonate with the reader and their experiences while also causing them to want to learn more about the subject.

Example Question Subject Lines:

  • Do you need your daily cup of coffee?
  • Did someone say FREE?

Subject lines like these work to gain the readers attention since they can relate to these. For example, they may click through on the first one to find out more about the similar experiences others may have and what the implications of that behavior is. For the second one, I mean – who doesn’t like free stuff?

  1. Sense of Urgency/FOMO

A sense of urgency is a powerful driver of human behavior. When something is either going to be gone soon or in short supply, as humans we begin to feel FOMO or Fear of Missing Out and we are then compelled to learn more and act immediately.

Adding a limitation to the time or availability compels the reader to open the email and act before it is too late. Some examples of this are:

  • 15% Cash Back Expires Soon!
  • The Biggest Sale of the Season is Almost Over!
  • Hurry! Limited Seats Available

Using a sense of urgency in the subject line is not as simple as it seems, you need to back this up with a good offer inside of the email. If the reader does not have any intention of purchasing from you, they’re not going to care that the biggest sale of the season is almost over. It is important to make sure the offer you are presenting Is worthwhile to the reader, otherwise the limitation of time or availability will be irrelevant to them.

  1. The ‘How to’

The “How to” subject line rule works well as it forces you to describe the content of the email clearly right off the bat.

  • How to Get More Leads
  • How to Build a Stronger Digital Advertising Plan

When reading these subject lines, the reader will know exactly what to expect from the content inside the email. The key to success from this subject line rule is focusing on the benefit. When the “How to” content resonates with the reader, they will be sure to open to learn what they can do differently to gain more leads, build a stronger digital advertising plan, or whatever it may be.

  1. Add a Number

It is important to convey a message in your subject line that relates to the content of the email, and whenever possible include numbers! Much like the ‘How to’ method – adding numbers your subject line helps to make it more specific, and immediately lets the reader know what to expect when opening the email.

  • 5 Techniques to Attract & Engage Leads Through Your Ad Copy
  • 7 Tips to Stay on Track While Working from Home

When it comes to the success of this rule, it is all based off the number chosen. If you are suggesting the effort needed for steps or processes, then using a lower number will work batter as it suggests a quick and easy process. On the other hand, if you are providing value, how to get more leads for instance, then a higher number will work better as it increases the readers perception of the value of the content.

  1. Make an Announcement

Have an important announcement to make? Make it! And let it be known in the subject line. Using words like “new” or “introducing” in your email’s subject line gives a feeling of a breaking announcement that they have not heard yet.

  • $39 NEW Comfort Jeans
  • Introducing our new Fall Collection
  • Introducing [a new product]

Subject lines like the examples above help let the reader know that your email contains new information that they are not yet aware of and encourages them to open the email to learn more.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the subject line is the first thing your readers will see, in just a few words you can grab their attention or lose it. There are multiple ways to write interesting, compelling subject lines based around just these few rules that are provided above. Take some time and A/B test different styles to find out what works best for your audience, and don’t forget to personalize it! If you’re struggling with your email strategy, talk to Nowspeed. Our team of experts will help you design and implement a Marketing Automation Lead Nurture system that works.

Let’s start accelerating your success.






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