Subject lines that’ll increase your open rate

Ever wonder how gyms keep running? No, it’s not the twenty health enthusiasts who go weekly, it’s the salesmen who sell contracts to the hundred others that go once a month!

Some people just have the ability to persuade others… and some email marketers seem to have a natural talent to compel recipients to open their email just from creative use of their subject line.

Don’t believe me? Check out these subject lines that just begged us to click on them!

Now, the ultimate question: how can you apply this emarketing wizardry to your own email marketing campaign?

Well, the fortunate truth is that you don’t have to be the Richard Branson of the email world to have subject lines that’ll be irresistible to click – each of these subject lines follow a particular design and incorporate similar elements that make them succeed.

Let’s take a look at the five traits of an interesting subject line – personality, curiosity, response inspiration, exclusivity and expressionism!

Trait 1: Assume a Personal Stance

The majority of intriguing subject lines assume a personal stance.

While this includes using personalization, it doesn’t stop there!

These subject lines typically assume that you’ve had personal or business contact with the company or sender before. They accomplish this by using your name, referencing an action (real or implied), using informal language, or thanking you for something, to name a few.

So, for an email introducing a new product or service, the following subject line wouldn’t get many opens: “New Series of Kettles.” However, when we apply just the first trait of interesting subject lines, we get something much more appealing: “We couldn’t have done it without you, Mark!”

Not only does this imply previous action, uses a personal name and expresses gratitude, but it also piques curiosity begging the reader to ask, “what on earth did I do?”

The answer to this question could be that thanks to the recipient’s loyal patronage to the company, the brand is able to launch a new series of products.

Which leads us to our next trait.

Trait 2: Pique Curiosity

The point of a subject line is to give the reader a taste of what they can find in the email – but in email marketing, it’s the weight lifting spotter that’ll get your email to turn that click through into a conversion!

Ask yourself: Why would a reader open an email that doesn’t interest them? The simple truth is, they won’t; and the best way to build that interest is to spark their curiosity!

Great subject lines always get their reader to ask questions – even if the question itself is not in the subject line. For instance, take the example subject line I gave above, “We couldn’t have done it without you, Mark!” This subject line is begging the question of ‘what’ without even asking recipient directly.

Check out these examples of the best words to use in a subject line.

Alternatively, you could be more blunt about it and simply ask a question like, “How did you do that?” This subject line actually gets the recipient thinking two questions: how and what.

Questions also have a great way of facilitating our third trait…

Trait 3: The Ability to Inspire a Response

Do this even if you don’t monitor actual responses at all.

Naturally, when we feel we need to respond to something we engage with the material first before sending out our response. This is exactly what an email marketer wants recipients to do – engage with their material (email)!

If an email is able to evoke a feeling of need within the recipient, they’ll find a way to resolve that need – usually through interacting with or at least reading through your email.

You can encourage response by phrasing your questions or statements towards one person and expecting a response. Make it sound like it’s completely natural for your recipient to respond or use ‘action words’ such as act, download or participate to get your reader to act.

For example, “Download this and Change Your Perception” or “Is This What You Really Think?” of these sound like the sender expects the reader to respond or act. Incidentally, they all do a great job at sparking curiosity as well, which is another plus!

You have to know what you’re doing right in order to improve, so tracking these responses by using reports is just as important as getting the responses.

Trait 4: Imply Exclusivity and Scarcity

Everybody has an inherent desire to be unique. Scarce and exclusive objects help satisfy this human desire – which means that a scarce or exclusive product is valued much higher than objects that aren’t!

Using words such as ‘exclusive’, ‘one-time’ or ‘limited’ are just a few ways to get across that your product or offering is something valuable.

If readers see value, they’ll turn into value for your company.

Trait 5: Expressions and Emotional Reactions

The more you identify with your target market and convince them that you’re not simply a machine looking to take their money, the better off you’ll be.

A fantastic way to convince someone that you’re human is simpler than you thought: act like one!

Display strong emotions in your subject line that people can relate to. Disbelief, happiness, excitement or even sadness can work to your advantage, as long as you bring it down to a personal level, rather than trying to impose it on your recipients.

For example, focus on raising a question that has strong emotional ties, like “I can’t believe I’m doing this…” This raises the obvious question of what, and has a strong emotional tie to it – that of disbelief, which is something all of us can relate to.

On the positive side of the spectrum, you can use something simple, for instance, “This is what gets me up every morning.” Here, you’re implying a question as well as offering value to your reader in the form of exclusivity (as it’s implied that only you know this little fact that starts your day).

Spin It!

Remember – after the subject line and snippet, your email content has to be consistent! It’s easy to tie in your subject line with your content anyway you like.

Maybe offering amazing deals on car washes gets you up every morning, or you can’t believe that you’re about to slash 10% off on all winter clothes – by then your subject line will have done its job and it will be up to your content itself to convert!

In addition, you could always use A/B split tests to find the subject line that has the best response!

These are SharpSpring Mail +’s 5 top traits of Subject lines that get you to open – but there’s many more! Can you think of any more? Let us know, we’re waiting to hear from you!

  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.