The subject line is the primary factor that decides if your emails get opened. If your subject is weak, your email campaign is guaranteed to underperform. The subject line will tell the reader whether he should, or shouldn’t, open your email. It tells him whether he should be curious and read your emails, or it will tell him to discard them.
There are countless email campaigns that never reached their full potential because of poorly written subject lines. If you’re wondering why your emails are not getting opened, then you need to check your subjects and see if they are failing you.
For your emails to get opened, they need to include:
Curiosity. People need to be curious about your message. The subject needs to smoothly tease the reader into actually opening the content of the email.
Urgency. The reader, when he sees your subjects, needs to know that the email is important and needs to be opened, right now. You need to plant the seeds of urgency in your subjects or your emails will seem non-essential to the reader.
Practicality/Usefulness. Readers do not like getting their time wasted. Before they give you the time investment of actually opening and reading your emails, they need to know that your company or your product will help them solve a problem or issue.
That’s the essence of a successful subject line. It hits on the pressure points for your readers, because you are creating a need for them to open your emails.
How many times has an email hit your inbox, but you just didn’t open it? You may have even opted into a specific email list; you probably opened the first few emails, even. But eventually, you stopped opening the emails. How many times have you unsubscribed from an email list?
It was probably because the subject line didn’t arouse any curiosity or urgency. The subject line didn’t really communicate any potential upside for the immediate future—the ROI for the time that you would spend reading the email seemed bleakly low.
Killer subject line templates to use today
Email copywriting is both an art and a science. It’s an art because you need to know what words to use to effectively arouse interest for your readers. It’s a science because you will need to rigorously test what works for your audience.
This is why most experienced copywriters will have a fully-stocked swipe file that they can pull from. A swipe file is a basically an arsenal of examples from other marketing or copywriting campaigns. It can contain headlines, subheadings, bullet points, paragraphs, and subject lines. And from that, you can use the past examples and tweak them to match your campaigns.
We’re going to look at some powerful subject lines that successfully convey curiosity, urgency, or usefulness.
- Do you want a simpler way to decorate your event?
- Struggling to decide what flowers to buy for Mother’s Day?
- Can’t find stylish flowers for your wedding?
Those subject lines ask a question that needs to be answered in the email. The subject lines identify a situation or setback that your prospects may be experiencing, and it succinctly suggests that your email will provide the solution.
Those subject lines hit on curiosity and overall usefulness for the customer. The use of the question mark sparks the curiosity, while the actual question hints that the email can solve a very specific problem.
- Last day to save BIG on Mother’s Day flowers
- The 30% off Valentine’s Day Roses Special is closing in 1 HOUR
- Act now to get the final discount of holiday floral arrangements
These subject lines are designed to spike urgency. Language like “last day”/“30% off”/ “final discount” /“act now ”/“1 HOUR” communicates that whatever you are selling is finite and will run out if the reader doesn’t capitalize on it.
Urgency is effective because no one likes the feeling of being left out. Urgency needs to be used wisely. You shouldn’t overdo it because it would seem disingenuous to your readers. To use it effectively is to use it sparingly.
- The Top 5 Flowers that Mothers Love on Mother’s Day
- 7 Exciting Ways to Decorate Your Wedding
- 3 Easy Steps for Choosing Your Anniversary Flowers
Using a number in your subject is one of the best ways to directly show how useful your content will be. People don’t like to spend time reading something that can potentially be worthless to them. Using a number in a subject conveys that you are being direct, and that your email’s content can be easily skimmed or read quickly. This means that your email will seem more useful to more people, because you are addressing a problem that they may have in a way that is easy to read.
What this means for you
Weak subject lines will almost guarantee that your campaigns will perform poorly. Start using some of the examples from this blog post and scour the web (and your email inbox) to cull great headlines and subjects that you can adapt and tweak to your own campaigns.
As always, test these subjects relentlessly until you find something that works. We hope that these subject line tips will significantly increase your open rates.