How to Write Email Subject Lines That Get Clicks (with Templates)
Ashley is a content writer and brand developer. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from the bizarre world of on-camera acting to the practice courts of NBA basketball players to the virtual meetings of inbound marketers. Today she specializes in building memorable brand voices online, with a focus on the travel & tourism, e-commerce and tech industries.
Hey, get some Viagra today!
Have you ever come across a similar subject line in your Inbox? We have, and it's not fun. It's actually a downright nuisance.
Obviously, the above is an extreme example, but the reality is, no one likes receiving emails that feel like people are shouting, "Buy now!"
Which is why taking the time to write a compelling subject line is a must. Think about how many hours your team spends ideating, creating, and formatting quality content. Without the right subject line, all of that effort is for naught. But what's a business owner to do, besides writing "Read me... Please?"
Think of yourself as a news editor: It's your job to craft compelling headlines for articles. Sometimes you may choose to invoke curiosity. Sometimes you may want to entertain. And other times you may decide to let the facts speak for themselves—both are appropriate strategies for writing email subject lines.
In this article, we'll share some of our favorite templates for writing click-worthy subject lines for both campaign and follow-up emails. As you read through, think about how you might personalize these ideas for your own business.
How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines
1. Hey <name>, I've been thinking...
OK, anytime you end a sentence with ellipses, it invokes curiosity. This seems to be because the brain is hardwired to seek completion. Whatever the case, it leads the reader to think, "What? What have you been thinking?" This is a great technique for sharing a new idea, announcing a project, or starting a discussion around a relevant topic.
2. 20 percent of ____ are getting results with ____
Here you're simultaneously sharing a fact, emphasizing a benefit, and providing a mini case-study. If you've got some fascinating data buried within your email content, pull that baby out and lead with it.
3. I've decided something.
Short, simple, and curiosity-invoking. This subject line is great for when you have an important announcement to share or are going to be discussing something that "goes against the grain" of commonly held assumptions.
4. What do you think about ____?
Have you noticed most people LOVE to share their opinions (about everything)? Asking a question is a simple way to let prospects know you care what they think.
5. i'm writing in all lowercase letters.
Since most people use capitalization in their subject lines, writing without it is an easy way to differentiate. The only way to know for sure it works? Do some A/B testing with the same subject line and measure performance.
6. 7 Ways to Increase Your Site Traffic Now
People like lists. We're not sure exactly why, but they do. Just be sure to use this one sparingly. Overuse can feel a bit on the spammy side.
7. A [result] for [company name]
Here's a fun one: Pair a specific result you've helped a past client achieve with the name of the prospect. Then, begin your email by stating this is a benefit you achieved for company x and that you would like to help your prospect achieve the same. For example:
Subject: An ROI of $20,000 for Cisco Inc.
Body Intro: OK, we haven't gotten you there yet. But that's exactly the return company x saw after working with us for only 3 months.
8. Can I help you?
What better way to let prospects know there's a real person on the other end of those emails than to directly ask if they need help. As more and more companies use autoresponder campaigns, recipients are becoming less sure they will actually get a real response if they hit reply.
9. Wow. Did you see this?
Another great subject line for invoking curiosity. Just be sure you have something worthy of the click-through.
10. The hunt for the government's oldest computer
Have you ever heard of Digg? It's a search database that keeps track of what's currently most popular on the Internet. I got the above subject line from a trending article after searching their database for the word "computer." If you're in the computer or software business, you can feel confident the above would generate substantial click-throughs. The reason being? It's already proven popular! Just be sure to reference the news item when introducing your content.
11. Idea for [insert relevant topic]
"Can I pick your brain?" It's a common question posed to experts in areas we're curious about. What would your customers love to get ideas about from you?
12. What our customers are saying
This one is good for prospects toward the end of the Buyer's Journey, the ones who are in the decision stage of deciding whom to work with. A great way to introduce case study content.
13. Hey <name>, we've got a surprise for you
Who doesn't love getting awesome surprises? This is an ideal subject line for introducing a nice piece of premium content (i.e. a guide, an ebook, or something "wow worthy").
14. Do you know how easy it is?
Use this when you want to remind prospects how they can set up a free consultation or interact with you.
15. Have you thought about partnering with [company name]?
Most likely, they have (if they're on your list). Why not address the elephant in the room? Use this subject line when you want to remind prospects of what you can offer them.
16. Say what?
Short sentences draw attention. Just be sure to use language that is consistent with your brand.
17. It's like Oregon Trail + Craft Beer
If you know your target audience REALLY well, feel free to reference their interests in subject lines. Just make sure you're creatively tying the cultural reference into your overall message. Otherwise, readers might feel a bit lost.
18. I want you to know something.
Another effective subject line for invoking curiosity and reminding prospects you can be reached with the click of a button!
You say it best when you say nothing at all... Nope, I'm not talking about the country song. After analyzing more than 6 million emails, Sidekick found messages with blank subject lines were opened 8 percent more often than those with subject lines. Again, it's that curiosity thing!
20. ANNOUNCEMENT: [insert timely news]
Sometimes, you just need to let the news do the talking.
21. (please read)
Super simple, but effective. Only recommended for use in "welcome emails" and important announcements.
22. We've got a secret...
Oooh, do tell!
23. _____ recommended we get in touch.
Why do people name-drop? Because it works.
24. Hey <name>, here are the next steps.
Can be used as a post-consultation follow-up or as part of an email autoresponder sequence.
25. Did you find what you were looking for?
If you're tracking initial Website visits, click-throughs, or any other engagement metrics, you may want to follow-up with this subject line. It's direct, helpful, and provides an opportunity for personal engagement.
26. 15 minutes [date]
A great way to set an appointment with a busy person. They'll appreciate the brevity and will be more inclined to set something up.
27. I found you through [name]
Never underestimate the power of familiarity. According to LeadGenius, this subject line generated an 87 percent open rate.
28. Hey <name>, think you might be interested
Follow-up by suggesting a conversation or sharing a relevant resource.
29. Hey <name>, I love what you're doing.
Good for starting conversations with potential partners and prospects you find interesting.
30. Thanks for reading this.
A bold move... A bold move.
As you can see, there are many options for creating compelling subject lines. Experiment with this list and let us know what works for you.