What’s the most important part of any email? The subject line. That’s because this one short string of letters and numbers has 85% of the persuasion power that will either get people to open your message or send them rushing toward the delete button.
You can write the best email content known to humankind, but if no one opens your email to read it, what good will it do? That’s why professional copywriters (including me) spend a great deal of time brainstorming subject lines, revising, editing, and testing before they choose the one (or two) to use in their messages.
I’m an admitted data geek when it comes to marketing. That’s why I love combing through all the stats year after year to determine which subject lines have worked well for me. Now it’s time to share my findings with you!
Here are the email subject lines that performed the best for me over the past 12 months.
Examples of Business Subject Lines
- This is why rebels succeed
The use of the word “this” means readers have to guess at the reason rebels succeed. You can edit this subject line to include whatever suits your business purposes by removing the word “rebels” and inserting a type of person / personality that fits your niche.
- Amazon Hack: Convert for your competitors’ non-indexed keywords
People are hack crazy! Technically, a hack means taking a thing that was intended to perform a certain task and using it to do something totally unintentional. In this case, the email was showing sellers how to use a neat little trick to bring more sales.
- It’s time to get uncomplicated
The use of the word “uncomplicated” here was by design. This email highlighted a digital product created to help online business people unclutter their daily to-do lists and get more productive. If your subscribers struggle with something and use specific words to describe their situation (or how they would like their situation to change), speak your customers’ language and repeat those words.
- Are forbidden keywords hurting your titles?
In this niche, the term “forbidden keywords” is a common phrase that refers to words that will be blocked. Adding them to certain types of titles can have hazardous results. Playing on the fear of being Amazon-slapped drove opens and clicks way up in this email.
- Avoid Amazon Review Warnings: How To Get Amazon Reviews Legally
Similar to #4 above, the fear of being called out by Amazon and punished for illegal review tactics caused readers to want this information. The opens and clicks proved the email subject line was spot-on!
- My best blogging advice
Remove “blogging” and insert an area where you have exceptional advice to offer and you’ll likely see your subscribers respond with high opens and clicks. This email subject line is simple, clean, to the point, and extends the promise of help.
- I’m blown away that you’re so brave
If that email subject line showed up in your inbox, what would your first reaction be? “Me? Brave? How so? What did I do that was brave?” Exactly! The curiosity factor linked with this subject line was enough to land it in the top 15 for the year.
- Email marketing simplified… no big list required
People like easy. If you can take something most people struggle with and uncomplicate it, you’ll win friends and sales. Customize this email subject line to fit your niche by removing “email marketing” and swapping out “big list” for any other thing people commonly think they need to have to succeed with this task.
- Passive income success even if you tried before & failed
Have you ever really wanted to do something, but tried with no joy? This subject line keys in on that emotion. Replace “passive income” with something that your audience really wants to do well and give them the tools to master it. Then reassure them that they can do it even if they didn’t do well last time.
- [Gone in 5 Hours] 3 steps to making as much as you want, 1 day at a time
Last-chance emails rock! I’ve had dozens of instances where I’ve sold more with a single last-change email than with the previous two or three emails that went out days before. Most of us get so much email during a day that we overcompensate by skimming more than we should. When a last-chance email shows up, it yanks us back into our normal timeframe.
- Amazon Review Request Mistakes That May Get You Arrested (And What To Do Instead)
Your average person has no desire whatsoever to get punished in any way. Penalties, suspensions, and the like are scary things. Tell a reader he or she might get arrested (if that is actually the case) and they’ll sit up and read. Offer them a way out of the icky situation and they’ll be grateful.
- Amazon ASINs That Violate Product Title Guidelines Will Be Suppressed Starting July 22, 2019
Current events are big draws when it comes to blogging. This announcement (that related to Amazon FBA sellers) notified them of an upcoming policy change that might leave them in a hard spot if they didn’t change their titles fast.
- Amazon Stops Wholesale Purchase Orders: Vendor Express To Be Closed
Similar to #12 above, this was also a top news story that deserved attention.
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- Your Special Invitation to __________________
Have a Facebook or LinkedIn group? Hosting a private webinar? Meeting in person at a local coffee shop? Extending a special invitation makes people feel privileged and they are likely to take you up on it.
- ________: I’ve scored a sweet gift/deal for you
Looking for ways to earn passive income through affiliate marketing? Target a segment of your list and offer them something free or deeply discounted (using your affiliate link). Gratitude and cash will come your way!
What Is The Best Email Subject Line Length?
While I have gone longer, I find business email subject lines of approximately 65 characters or fewer work well. This is because they tend to fit into most of the space available on all devices from smartphones to desktop computers, and Gmail to Outlook.
When I choose to extend the email subject line length, I make certain to put the most enticing part up front. For instance, in #10 (77 characters) I purposely added [Gone in 3 Hours] to the front to bump up the urgency. If I had put these words at the end, chances are good only a few readers would have seen them.
In #11, it was important that the readers knew this pertained to Amazon review request mistakes and not general ecommerce review requests.
I never recommend that you blindly take the advice of others. Test your own subject line length options with your own list to find out what they respond best to.
Which Email Subject Line Capitalization Gets More Opens?
This is also a test-worthy subject because email subject line capitalization will bring various results when used on different lists. For my list, it appears from numerous tests that one uppercase letter (at the beginning) with the remaining characters in lowercase works best.
But try it for yourself. Popular email subject line capitalization options include:
- Sentence Case – First letter of the subject line initial-capped with the remainder in lowercase.
- All Lowercase – No capitalization at all. Everything is lowercase.
- All Uppercase – Not recommended. It’s hard to read and can also set off spam filters.
- Initial-cap Each Word – This can work well, but it looks more like a book or article title, so many people expect that. If they find a promotional email, they may be annoyed.
Testing Email Subject Lines
I do email subject line tests with almost every email I send. While some are better than others, most email software these days offers split testing (A/B testing) options.
- Active Campaign – I have used Active Campaign for about 2 years and love it! Not only do they offer advanced email sending and tracking options, they also have A/B and multivariant testing for subject lines and body content.
- AWeber – What I used before I switched to Active Campaign. A good starter option with basic testing solutions.
Are you using some other email software? Ask about their split testing capabilities.
Going forward, brainstorm, test, and track your email subject lines, so you know which types work best for your list. The boost to your opens and clicks is worth the little bit of extra effort.
Want more help with writing short copy like subject lines, blog post titles, headlines, social posts, calls-to-action and more? Pick up my Short Copy Success Secrets course today and save 28% with code SCBLOG.
Have questions about email subject lines? Talk to me below!