How to Create the Perfect Subject Line That Will Boost Your Open Rates

Subject lines can make or break your email marketing success. Often it is not the design or offers itself that decides whether your email campaigns receive the success you are looking for. Since most subscribers at first only see the subject line and preheader, most of the time it is the subject line that decides if people are

  • Going to open your email
  • Going to ignore your email
  • Going to delete your email


Despite being so crucial to the email campaign success, do you wonder why email marketers don’t pay much attention to the subject lines? Well, the answer is simple – creating good email campaigns is a difficult task, there are too many things to consider from design, to offer, to copy, there’s a lot to pay attention to. That’s why subject lines sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve.

But no matter how good your email is it’s the subject line that will determine whether your emails will get opened or rot in your recipients’ inboxes. So with that in mind, here are few ways to create enticing subject lines:

1. Use power words

There’s a saying that goes “Words have power use them wisely,” and it’s directly applicable to your subject lines. Given below are some words backed up by research that can influence the open rates of your email campaigns:

  • special
  • now in
  • on orders over
  • sale starts
  • latest
  • wonderful
  • back in stock
  • get your

These words are worth trying out but don’t forget to A/B test as each audience is different.

2. Opt for data-driven segmentation

People like clicking on subject lines that are tailor-made just for them. Given below is an example from my inbox:

I received this one from Hotwire Deals after I searched hotels in Paris on their site. The moment I received this email I opened it as the subject line was targeted directly at me.

So how do you create these? Well, segmentation is the key! The more you segment your email list, the more you can send tailored subject lines.

If you don’t know where to start here’re few common ways to segment your email list:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Preferences
  • Behavioral data
  • Buying habits


3. Embrace personalization

You must have heard this number of times that personalizing the email subject lines is an excellent strategy for improving opens. And yes no matter how old this tactic is – it still works.

At Betaout, we conducted a study: We sent over 1000 emails, half with the personalized subject line and another half with a non-personalized one. The personalized one had a 24% higher open rate.

A common way to personalize subject lines is by using your subscribers’ first names in it.  But, if you don’t want to use your contacts names in the subject lines, you can use conversational words like “you” and “your” instead to make your subscribers feel special. Given below are some examples from my inbox to show you how:


Also, you can use your subscribers’ location to personalize your subject lines. For example, if it’s raining in a particular location you can send a subject line like: Pouring outside? Get 20% off on all rain gear today!

4. Crop your subject lines

If you want to capture the attention of your recipients, make your subject lines short and crisp. Why? Because, 67% of emails are opened on mobiles, and most mobile devices only display 4-7 words of the subject line. So no matter how good your subject lines are if they are long they will get truncated.

There has been a study on the optimal length of subject lines, and according to it when subject lines are 61-70 characters long, they tend to get read.

5. Use headline analyzer tools to test your subject lines

Like great titles, great subject lines need work too. Writing four to five subject lines and choosing from them can be the key to subject line success. To pick one you can use tools like:

  • Touchstone
  • CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
  • Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer

If you need help with creating your subject lines you can try this process:

  1. Start with a basic one (The one which clearly explains what’s in it for the recipient)
  2. Make it succinct
  3. Add exclusivity to it
  4. Use emojis and symbols
  5. Use data; it’s often overlooked
  6. Make it personal

And finally, check it in a headline analyzer to analyze your performance.

6. Delve into your inbox, check competitors emails, and use Google

To get more opens, you need to give a creative twist to your subject lines but what if your creative well has run dry? Well, to help get the wheels turning you can go to your inbox and scan it for some inspiration – see what catches your eye and try to find out why it did? Once you understand the reason behind it, you can use the same tricks when creating your subject lines.

Check your competitors’ email campaigns see what type of subject lines they’re using; test them, if the score is good you can take inspiration from them too.

If after checking your inbox and competitors email campaigns you find yourself scrambling to come up with some good subject line ideas you can turn to search engines for some more inspiration. Just type “best subject lines for e-commerce” and check the results that come up. You can use these subject lines for your emails but don’t forget to tweak them a little to add novelty.

7. Target the right audience

Even the most carefully calibrated subject lines will not increase your opens if they’re landing in the wrong inboxes. In email marketing, the list is everything. So, make sure your email list is clean and updated; as an email list expires at a rate of 25% per year. Also, try to know your audience their interests and preferences as no matter how catchy your subject line is, but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience, it won’t get opened.

These seven strategies are just a couple of ways that you can use to improve your subject lines results. Start trying them out today, and I guarantee you will notice a positive change in your opens.

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