Secrets of the Best Subject Lines to Increase Your Open Rates

What email subject lines get you to open and click? Do you look for subject lines with your name in them? What about the funny ones, or the ones that make you feel like you’d be missing out if you didn’t read them? The exciting thing about subject lines is that there’s lots of room for creativity. Sure, we’ll provide some quick guidelines to get you started on the right path, but we’ll also encourage you to break the rules — because many of the very best subject lines do just that.

With that being said, here are a few subject line tips that will help you increase your open rates:

#1 Make It Mobile-Friendly

We need to pay attention to these tiny computers more than ever these days, especially when it comes to email. So when you’re writing up your list of subject line options, keep them down to 50 characters or less.

#2 Make People Feel Like They’re Missing Out

Fear of missing out is more real than ever. It’s the reason we have to check our social networks every hour on the hour and why we can’t just leave our phones in our pockets when we receive a notification. The same goes for email.  Chances are, if you see an email that says you’re missing out on something, you’re clicking.

Example from Hyatt Gold Passport:

Don’t miss out on 5,000 Bonus Points

#3 Create a Sense of Urgency

Related to emails that make you feel like you’re missing out are emails that make you feel like you better take action now, or else. These types of subject lines work best for looming deadlines and expiring offers.

Example from West Elm:

Step on it! 30% off RUGS…

#4 Choose Clarity Over Cleverness

According to this article in Yahoo Business, a clear subject line “gets 541% more clicks than one that’s clever.”  So when in doubt, just be clear and get it sent out.

Example from iTunes:

U2’s New Album: A Gift to You

#5 Call Your Customers By Name

When it comes to email, we expect messages that are tailored to us and our interests. So when a subject line calls you (or in this case, your pets) out by name, it makes you feel like you’re about to get just that.

Example from 1800PetMeds:

How is Otis doing? Are you happy with the results of Heartgard Plus?

#6 Have Great Timing

It’s the subject line that arrives just in time for happy hour or just as your gym membership is about to run out. It all about delivering the right message to the right people at the right time, and few things are more powerful than that.

Example from:

Happy Hump Day! Here’s 10% Off*

#7 Break The Rules

Now that we’ve laid down the groundwork for creating the best subject lines, we’re ready to breaks some rules— like the ones that say you can’t be funny or conversational or vague, unless you are also clear. Sure, this rule makes sense, but there are always exceptions. So, always keep an open mind.

Example from Barack Obama:


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