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10 Subject Lines Proven to Boost Open Rates

Snaptactix Staff Author

Ever struggled to write an email subject line that gets your messages opened?

Or maybe you’re just not impressed with your current open rate.

Whatever feeling brought you here–you’re not alone. Many marketers struggle to achieve their ideal email open rates…but they know that a smart, compelling subject line is the first step toward fixing that.

The question is: Where do you start?

We’ve gathered a list of 10 subject lines that are proven to boost open rates and get emails read–and we’ve even got an additional resource at the end that can help you when you’re really stumped.

Let’s jump right in.

1. A ‘How to’ subject line

If someone has subscribed to your email list, it’s because they want to hear from you. And in some cases, it’s because they want to learn something from you.

And leveraging the ‘How to’ subject line means you’re making it easy for the reader to discover exactly what he or she will learn by opening (and reading) your email. It’s simple, clear, and ultra-effective. Think about trying subject lines like:

  • How to increase your sales by 10% in one month
  • How to improve your product descriptions in 3 steps
  • How to work less and make more money

Remember to keep a strong focus on the benefit the reader will get by reading your how-to email. Use hard numbers or exciting results to show that it’s worthwhile to both open and read your message.

2. A question subject line

Posing questions in your subject line helps tease out an emotion in your reader–which can be a compelling reason for that person to open your message. It also helps them recall past situations, problems, or pain points that can prime them for a solution.

Take a look at these examples to see what we mean:

  • Are you tired of missing your target sales goal each month?
  • Ever wanted a simpler solution to cleaning up after your dog?

These question-based subject lines remind the reader that they have a problem–and that you can potentially solve it with the contents of your email. It sparks their curiosity and gets them interested in what you have to say.

3. A limited offer subject line

Scarcity is a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a limited time offer or a limited quantity promotion–we know that fear of missing out compels people to act more urgently. So instead of leaving an email offer open-ended, consider making your promotion limited to make people act–and act quickly.

An email subject line in this scenario might look like:

  • FLASH SALE! Get 50% off for two hours only.
  • Limited Time Offer: First 100 orders get free shipping!

See how the urgency light kicks on in these subject line? It creates a slight sense of anxiety that makes the reader think, “Oh man. I better act right now! It’s going to run out!”

4. A curious subject line

If you’ve ever been sucked into an online quiz about “Which (movie/TV show) character are you?” then you know the power of curiosity. Sites like Upworthy use these tactics in their headlines all the time. But the good news is that you can also put them to work to boost your email open rates.

Think about making your readers curious with subject lines that make them need to know what’s within the message body, like:

  • One entrepreneur shares the 3 tactics that made her a millionaire
  • The secret sauce for writing blog content that gets thousands of shares

I don’t know about you, but I certainly would want to know what’s in those emails.

5. A personalized subject line

We’ve talked before about the importance of personalization in email, so it’s no surprise that including a subscriber’s name in the subject line makes it feel more customized and special.

But what’s really interesting is that Campaign Monitor found that including a subscriber’s first name in the subject line boosted open rates by almost 15%. Pretty incredible, right? It might look like this:

  • Sarah, we’ve got a special offer just for you!
  • We miss you, Sarah! He’s 20% off your next purchase.

Bottom line: You need to collect your subscribers’ first names–and then use them in subject lines.

6. A benefit subject line

Sometimes, you just need to tease a benefit to compel your subscribers to open your emails. Tell them exactly what they’ll get out of opening your message, and they’ll be more likely/willing to take action.

The thing to remember here is that you’re touting benefits–not features. Showcase the problem you can solve, the way you’ll help their business, or how you can make life simpler for them (rather than listing the features–no one cares.) Like this:

  • The one product that’ll keep your office clean for 30 days
  • No more searching. Here’s the only book on business growth you’ll ever need.

7. A funny subject line

People get a lot of emails in their inboxes every day–so if you can make them pause and chuckle, you’ll stand out from the noise. Use a pun, rhyme, call on pop culture, or craft a silly line that’s quirky and unusual. It’s easier than it sounds:

  • Love Pokemon Go? The You Better Catch This Deal…
  • Test it, Try it, You Might Like It 🙂

If you’re worried about a funny subject line falling flat, try an A/B test to let the best performer be the one that sends out to the majority of your subscribers.

8. A numbered subject line

Numbers make your email subject lines more concise by giving the reader greater detail (without using words.) Instead of saying, “Our tips for growing your social media following”, you could add clarity by saying, “3 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers.”

Other examples:

  • The 5 Best Blog Posts We Published in 2016
  • The 1 Tactic That Produced 50% of our Annual Revenue

Remember: Use numbers to make your message simpler and more clear.

9. An announcement subject line

Subject lines that announce or introduce something new helps remind your subscribers that they’re getting VIP access to content others aren’t. It makes them feel like insiders–getting an inside look at brand new offerings before anyone else. And exclusivity is a great way to keep your email subscribers interested in what you have to say.

Try this:

  • Introducing: Our Brand New Course on Growing Your Email List
  • VIPs Only: First Look at our 2016 Spring Collection

10. A problem solving subject line

Last, but not least–you can think about writing subject lines that solve a problem for your readers. Again, you’re teasing out a pain point and presenting a quick, easy solution–and your readers will love you for it. It might look like:

  • Tired of Constant Back Pain? Try the Medicated Pain Patch for FREE.
  • No more lost receipts! Scan and toss with the ScanRecorder3000.

Get Additional Subject Line Ideas

Need more help coming up with an effective subject line for your email campaign? You’re in luck. We’ve created a tool with more than 8,834 subject lines that you can pull from by simply typing in a word or phrase related to your email message:

Get Instant Access To 8,834 Proven and Tested Email Marketing Subject Lines!

With the strategies we’ve outlined here and this tool at your side, you’ll never waste another minute trying to craft an open-worthy subject line. Time to get to work!

Cassi Knight

Cassi Knight

Director of Operations at Snaptactix
Cassi specializes and has an extensive background in sales, marketing and management.
Cassi Knight

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