Bonus Material: Checklist to Build Perfect Email Subject Lines (+ Examples)
Crafting subject lines for your email that deliver drastically better open rates is crucial to your professional success. And it’s a lot like a home improvement project.
My wife and I went looking for a new oven/range recently.
Our old one wasn’t exactly “adding value.”
Every single manufacturer gives away huge discounts in January to make way for newer models.
Think people will be willing to pay a little more out of pocket for this house moving from old and rusty to stainless steel? You bet.
JUST ONE PROBLEM: They need to be INSIDE to see the kitchen.
You need curb appeal to get people driving by to take a second look and eventually walk through the door.
Same goes for your emails. People need to open your emails to read, and gain value from what’s inside.
Of the people I send emails to, only 75% actually read them. (If it’s a cold email that drops to about 30%)
The top 3 reasons people aren’t reading your email:
- Your subject line doesn’t seem CASUAL so they don’t know, like, or trust you.
- It doesn’t make them CURIOUS.
- Or maybe your subject line doesn’t look IMPORTANT or URGENT.
So, how do I come up with a great subject line?
Whether it’s for a cold email, or for somebody you know personally…subject lines are the most important factor in getting people in the front door to see your awesome content.
For subject line ideas I start by looking at what other digital marketing experts have sent me.
Melyssa Griffin is a Pinterest expert.
Her subject lines have tons of personality and EMPHASIS.
Using casual copywriting techniques and adding big bold words? Classic.
Takeaways: Add your own personality and use EMPHASIS!!! when necessary.
Noah Kagan, Founder of AppSumo and Sumo.com is an online marketing expert that was on the ground-floor at Mint, Facebook, and other high-profile startups.
Let’s see how his subject lines stack up.
Almost all of Noah’s email subject lines are 3-5 words.
he also uses a casual trick by making the first letter of the subject line lowercase.
(?See what I did there?)
(Also, Noah asks great questions. That’s how I happened to meet him back in 2017. He’s genuinely a curious and helpful guy – he sat down by me and just started asking me questions at HIS conference. cool guy.)
One of his subject lines is “can I call you tomorrow?”
Takeaways: Keep your subject lines short and sweet. 3-5 words, max. Also, try going all lower-case, and maybe also try asking a short question to bring their guard down.
Neville Medhora, creator of the Kopywriting Kourse is a well known copywriter.
Neville tends to use 1-2 word subject lines, and uses all lowercase almost exclusively.
His newsletter is extremely casual, and that’s how people generally talk.
Takeaways: Less is more. Casual is king.
Bryan Harris, Creator of GrowthTools is an online business growth expert.
He likes to use lots of numbers in his email subject lines.
His subject lines also tend to be in the 4-6 word range.
(So actually on the higher end)
Numbers in headlines and subject lines are proven to generate much higher open rates, so this is a great tactic.
Takeaways: Add relevant numbers, the current year, and dollar amounts for higher open rates.
The very best subject lines that I’ve used have been short (2-3 words) and use “open loops.”
I use this technique for personal emails, work emails, and marketing emails.
What’s an open loop?
Let’s use BlueBuffalo as an example, and pretend we’re making an email around 3 new categories or brands…
Subject Line #1 (DO THIS): “3 new ways your dog can enjoy BlueBuffalo”
Subject Line #2: (DON’T DO THIS): “BlueBuffalo launches 3 new brands of dog food”
In the first example we left a subtle question in the readers mind:
“What are the 3 new ways?! TELL ME!”
This builds curiosity. Remember our goal is to get them to click and open our email.
We also added in some numbers and kept it casual.
Now for the bad example.
In the second example, we…
- Just told the reader EVERYTHING they need to know.
- Made it boring and “PR” sounding..
Think they’ll open email number 2?
Why would they? You just sent them a boring email and already told them everything they need to know.
Here is a recap of everything we learned to write the best email subject lines possible.
- Keep subject lines short (2-4 words)
- Use EMPHASIS when needed
- Add some personality! ?
- use all lower case occasionally to make it look urgent
- Ask a quick question?
- Add relevant 1-2 numbers when possible.
- Personalize it based on what you know about them.
- Keep it casual…
I’m sure there are tons of other techniques out there that I wasn’t able to cover. But this should give you a great start if you’ve never considered the importance of subject lines in your emails.