Regardless of how many blog posts you’ve read or copywriting courses you’ve taken, you’ll find the same tidbit of truth in all of them: The email subject line is THE most important piece of any email campaign.
Why? Because that little string of letters and numbers is the only thing that will convince a subscriber to open the message. If they never make it past your subject line, everything else is a lost cause.
How do you get really good at writing email subject lines? Practice and tracking. This blog post delves into the tracking part because we will look at the most successful email subject lines from the campaigns I’ve sent throughout 2021 to see which ones performed the best.
These are based on open rates. Click rates are not a factor with subject lines because the reader hasn’t seen the content of the email nor had the opportunity to click any links yet.
Email Subject Line Examples
- Create printables for this hot market in 5 minutes
There are a couple of phrases in this email subject line that push a reader’s buttons. The reference to a hot market is one because it communicates a sense of urgency while indicating a secret for success. The addition of “5 minutes” is appealing because people usually love the ideas of quick wins that won’t take them forever to see results.
- [Gift for You] 5 Advanced Affiliate Marketing Techniques
Anytime you use the word “gift” you’ll get higher open rates. That’s a no-brainer because people love something free.
- Your Etsy store is not really yours (seriously)
Making people question something they think they know is a great way to engage your audience. After subscribers read the email subject line (probably twice), they’ll likely think “Then whose shop is it?” That question begs to be answered so the email gets read and the links get clicked.
- Click… click… create Etsy mockups
The gist of this subject line is that you can quickly and easily create Etsy mockups. Just a couple of clicks and you’re done!
- Repurposing for revenue
When your audience realizes they can stop creating everything from scratch and make money doing it, emails get opened for sure because they want to know more.
- Want more Google love for your blog? Here’s how…
Bloggers need traffic in order to grow and succeed. One of the best ways to get that is with high Google rankings. With a promise to show them how to achieve that goal, this subject line got rewarded with a high percentage of opens.
- Get more repeat purchases from your customers
Want to not only sell something once, but also get repeat sales from the same customers? Heck, yeah! That takes most of the work out of boosting your income. Giving people what they want is a sure win with one of the best email subject lines.
- PRO TIP: Promote what you already have
Tips are hot! They fall into the “secret” category of juicy little tidbits not everyone has access to. So, when you say you have a hot tip or expert tip or pro tip, curiosity gets the better of them and people want to know what it is.
- The easy way to add graphics to your blog posts
Take something hard and make it easy and you’ve got instant opens, for sure!
- She showed me up, big time
Ooo! What’s this all about? Who showed me up? How did she do it? Was there a fight?! This email subject line example begs to be opened because it generates a lot of fascination.
- Struggling to get low content & printables created?
Why, yes, I am struggling with that. Pick a problem most people in your audience have and turn it into a question. Your email subject line will be a big winner. NOTE: The content of your email needs to follow through with the goods or your subscribers will be disappointed.
- Create stunning ebooks/guides in 5 minutes [without writing a word]
Here’s a different take on solving a problem. In this version, it isn’t a question, but a promise that piques interest.
- [FINAL NOTICE] $29.99 instead of $99
Last-call emails usually get high open rates. This one highlights the significant discount that’s about to disappear. A call of “final notice” lets readers know there will be no more warnings before the sale is over.
- 22+ ways to earn passive income
How would you like to do a little work upfront, then get steady income over and over again? This is the premise of passive income. It eludes most people. Although they want it, they can’t seem to nail down ways to make it happen. Give the reader 22+ ways to earn it and your open rates will soar!
Email Subject Line Best Practices
Depending on who you ask, email subject line best practices vary greatly. In my opinion, you’re better off to track the performance of your own emails with your own list to get precise data on what works.
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Salesforce thinks you should keep your subject lines at 50 characters or fewer. But this is a business-to-business outfit. Perhaps that’s true for B2B, but because I’m in the B2C arena, I don’t mind breaking that subject line best practice to experiment with longer subjects.
Active Campaign offers tips and a free subject line generator. According to this email list host, email subject line best practices rely heavily on building curiosity and solving problems. I agree 100%! Maybe that’s why I love using Active Campaign. While there are certainly other ways to write email subject lines that work, these are two of my faves.
What are my own personal email subject line best practices? The average character count for the 14 subject lines above is 46. I do aim for around 50-ish when possible. However, if using fewer characters is going to ruin the message I’m trying to get across, I go longer without any hesitation.
Why 50 characters? Mobile phones. According to the US Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk, 66% of all email in the U.S. is opened on smartphones. With screens that are narrower, fewer characters are visible.
You can always add a preheader (most email hosts allow for that option), which gives you a second line of text. But I encourage you to test and track your own results to see what works for your own list.
SIDETRACK: Want to know how to find out the best times to send emails to your exact list?
This quick video shows you.
Testing Email Subject Lines
How do you test your email subject lines? Here’s my favorite way.
Write the first subject line (the control). Then choose a totally opposite method for writing the email subject line you’ll test against (the variation).
If you decide to write the first subject line (the control) as a question, like this:
- Want to increase your passive income 24%?
Then take an opposite approach with the variation by not asking a question. That could mean:
- Being Direct – Increase your passive income by 24%
- Cliffhanger – This will increase your passive income by 24%
Or other methods. My How To Guide: Easy Email Split Testing quick training shows you what you need to know to get started with testing every part of your emails for the best results.
Track your results then – about every quarter – look through the data you collected and jot down the ones that performed the best. There’s no better source to tell you what works for your list than your list.
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Have questions about subject lines? Talk to me below!
Recommended Learning & Tools
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