16 Tips To Write Killer Email Subjects For Sale
In order to be successful in email marketing, there is one aspect you need to consider. In fact, without that one aspect, your campaign is guaranteed.
This is the subject of the e-mail.
If the subject doesn’t force people to open your email, it doesn’t matter how good your copy or offer is.
Therefore, it is important to take the time to learn how to write killer email subject lines.
What’s the smart subject of your sales email?
While there is no right or wrong way to type a subject, there are a few tips you can use to increase your current open rates.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Let them be descriptive
A study by Backlinko found that the optimal subject line for an email is 36 to 50 characters long. In fact, this length exceeded the short subject lines (1-15 characters) by 32.7%.
However, be careful with subject lines longer than 70 characters as open rates begin to drop above that length.
If the subject line is too short, your recipients probably won’t open the email as it is difficult to enter specific text under 15 characters. Given that you are writing the subject of your sales email, you cannot afford to be vague.
For example, imagine receiving these topics in your inbox:
- Content strategy
- Quick question
- Marketing lesson
These short descriptions don’t give you a compelling reason to click, so they’re likely to work poorly. On the other hand, short topics can be too detailed and reveal too much too quickly.
For example, you probably wouldn’t open these emails because they are clearly trying to sell something:
- 15 minutes of connection?
- Marketing course
- Coaching services
However, these longer topics are descriptive but not dead proof that you are going to sell something:
- How to “redeem your time”
- Sam Smith recommended me …
- I immediately lowered my FB advertising costs by 30% – here’s how
The only exception to writing shorter and slightly obscure topics is if your audience is already actively engaged with you.
For example, these three email topics, written by copywriter Justin Goff, work well because it has a small but very active email list:
- Hang with me?
- Big news
Therefore, since the list is already actively involved and invested in its content, short topics can be effective.
2. Use the appropriate online label
Using the right label is essential, especially if you are concerned about potential customers.
Therefore, avoid uppercase letters and don’t add too many exclamation points.
The only scenario where all limits might be appropriate is to use it to underline a term.
For example, this is the last e-mail in Ramit Sethi’s sequence that sold his dream job course.
Emojis are also becoming more and more popular in the e-mail marketing space, although they also require appropriate etiquette.
The Search Engine Journal released a report after A / B testing of emoji on email subject lines and found that seven out of ten emoji campaigns received more abuse reports.
This can be devastating to deliverability, so keep an eye out for this data if you choose to use emoticons.
In addition, the opening rates for emoji themes were actually lower than for those without emoticons.
3. Avoid making false promises
Avoid making exaggerated statements unless you can really justify them.
For example, if you choose to use any of these topics, your email must substantiate the claims:
The $ 25,000 bonus should be more than a free ebook and coaching session. Likewise, if you have a million dollar lesson, you should have a case study to use it to show that your tip really did deliver the million dollar increase in your offerings.
Nevertheless, case studies and data stories are a great way to attract people. In addition, any of the emails that followed these topics were able to justify the value. Include your own versions in your emails, but don’t exaggerate any claims.
4. Run A / B tests
You can always improve email subjects, so keep testing them – increasing your open rate by 1% can dramatically improve email performance.
When you start testing, change only one variable at a time so you know which one was successful.
For example, a good test of two different topics might look like this:
How I Increased Conversions By 60%
How to increase conversions by 60%
Virtually all email marketing services now offer A / B testing tools. If you don’t want to pay for the service, Mailchimp allows you to have a free account for a limited number of subscribers, so you can start testing today.
5. Share your audience
Delivering relevant content to your audience is essential to running a successful email marketing campaign. Therefore, to make sure that the content you send has the right issues, use email segmentation.
Email segmentation allows you to send specific content to specific leads based on the actions they have taken from previous emails and on your website. This is invaluable as each visitor to your site has different needs.
For example, if you are selling an SEO course, you may find that some of your buyers are new to SEO, while others may be agency owners looking for training material.
In this case, even though both sides are looking for the same course, their needs are very different and would be better suited to two different positions.
People new to SEO are likely to respond better to messages that show how the student went from an SEO beginner to six digits a year.
However, the CEO would probably prefer to see a case study showing how the course has enabled an SEO novice to double traffic / conversions in a matter of months and how it has impacted the growth of the business.
6. Arouse curiosity
Curiosity is an extremely powerful tool for increasing your open rate.
While unclear topics will cause open rates to drop, creating stories and omitting key information will cause open rates to skyrocket.
- Subject: Email secret used by VShred and Agora that prints money
- Template: The (industry) secret used by (major brands) printing money
- Subject: Eight – letter word that makes my business MUCH easier (and more profitable)
- Template: a word beginning with X that made mine (day, job, campaign, etc) MUCH easier (and more profitable)
- Subject: The secret to getting paid $ 50,000 to write a sales letter
- Template: The Secret to Earning $ 50,000 on (Lead Job)
- Subject Line: My investors think I’m crazy
- Template: (Professional Relationship) I Think I’m Crazy
- Subject: What millionaires know about money that most people don’t
- Template: What (idols) know about (desire) that most people don’t
Note that in each example, the copy builds up the drama (prints money, cries with joy) and omits one key part (THIS, 8-letter word, email secret).
If you need more inspiration, check out the BuzzFeed titles. They cracked the code to write attractive headlines, and many of them can be used as email templates.
When writing these headlines, keep in mind that while clickbait can be effective at generating open rates, it won’t increase your sales if it doesn’t work. Therefore, remember to always deliver what you say you will do.
7. Use the data
While curiosity often resonates better with perspectives that respond emotionally, data is a great way to appeal to prospects who respond to logical suggestions, so it should be the foundation in any care sequence.
A CoSchedule study of 155 million emails also found that subject lines containing numbers had a click-through rate 206% higher than email subject lines without numbers.
Here are some great data-driven email topics:
- Subject: This investment brought me an 11 times return on investment
- Template: This investment brought me (X) ROI
- Subject: How do I save 20 hours each WEEK
- Template: How I Save X Hours Each WEEK
- Subject Line: How I Get 30-50% Conversion Rates from My Additional Products
- Template: How To Get X% Conversion Rate In My (Product)
- Subject: How I lost $ 2 million in Facebook Ads (floats)
- Template: How I lost (amount) on (experiment) (real numbers)
- Subject : These 5 tactics led to my exit for $ 150 million
- Formula : These 5 tactics led to my (an impressive feat that your audience cares about)
If you’re creating a grooming sequence, storytelling is a great way to attract people to your brand. Plus, potential customers won’t forget you because storytelling is 22 times more memorable.
Therefore, give viewers a story trailer on the topic:
- Subject: How I Turned Failure of Product Search into Success
- Template: How I turned failure (audience goal) into success
- Subject Line: 8 months ago did not know what copywriting is … now he makes $ 12,000 a month (middle article)
- Template: X months ago did not know what (industry) is … now he earns X a month (story inside)
- Topic: From “unemployed” to a six-digit dream job
- Template: from (present pain) to (ideal scenario)
- Subject Line: How I Made My First Thousand Dollars With Local SEO
- Template: How I Earned My First Thousand Dollars Thanks (Product)
9. Avoiding pain
Offering a solution to avoid pain or omission is one of the most effective and basic copywriting tactics.
For example, the idea of losing your home evokes a much stronger emotion than the idea of buying a home.
Therefore, by writing a topic that focuses on pain avoidance, you can take advantage of heightened emotions and make your copy much more attractive (assuming you have a great solution to their pain).
Here are some examples that focus on pain avoidance to dramatically increase your open rate:
- Subject Line: How I Lost $ 50,000 in Facebook Ads in a Week
- Template: How did I lose (object of value) on (platform / industry) at (time)
- Subject: 93% of marketers DO NOT CAUSE this ROI
- Template: X% of (target audience) FAIL for this (purpose)
- Subject: What nobody tells you about starting a business
- Template: what nobody tells you about (destination / journey / product)
- Subject: A fatal flaw in email marketing
- Template: fatal defect (product / service / industry)
- Subject: The mistake that led to the bankruptcy of Pier 1
- Template: error that caused (pain point)
Perhaps the most important part of writing pain avoidance topics is that you need to know your audience on a personal level.
You should not only understand what they want, but also why they want it.
For example, if you are selling a weight loss product, your customers may not be concerned with what the weight says. Instead, they may want to lose weight to go to the beach with their family.
10. Pain solution
While avoidance is a great way to grab your audience’s attention, you can also take a problem-solving approach.
Therefore, rather than stimulating fear, the pain reliever approach aims to stimulate pleasure. These solutions should include words like “easy”, “simple”, and “quick” as they distract perspective from pain.
Here are some of the best pain resolution topics:
- Subject: Get rid of back pain with this simple solution
- Template: Fix your (problem) with X
- Topic: How to earn 2-3 times more money without extra work
- Template: How to (achieve) 2-3 times as much (goal) without extra work
- Topic: Antidote to procrastination
- Template: Antidote to (pain point)
- Subject: How to get more leads on Facebook for FREE
- Template: How To Get More (Thirst) FOR FREE
- Subject: How I Doubled My Traffic By Creating Less Content
- Template: How (I achieved my goal) (working less)
11. Mention the influencer
Mentioning an influencer is a great way to increase your open rate. It shows the perspective that you have similar idols and makes you seem more familiar.
For example, if you’re a basketball fan and someone sends you an email mentioning Michael Jordan, you’ll likely be more likely to open it in an inbox full of general messages.
But if you mention influencer, make sure it’s someone from your space and not a casual celebrity.
Here are some classic ways to mention an influencer without the nasty drop of a name.
- Subject Line: Dan Kennedy’s great lesson …
- Template: a brilliant lesson (influential) …
- Subject: The copy of Stefan Georgi was a failure … then IT happened
- Template: (talent) (influencer) was a failure … then IT happened
- Subject: Michael Jordan Trait that you DON’T want
- Template: A trait (influencer) that you DON’T want
- Subject Line: I stuck to Oprah’s morning routine for a week …
- Template: I followed (habit) (influencer) for (timeframe) …
- Subject: How Neil Patel Revived A Dying Facebook Traffic
- Template: how (influential) (audience goal achieved)
12. Add personalization
About 80% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand that supports personalized offers, so it’s no surprise that personalizing your email subject line will help increase open rates as well as other key metrics.
These personalization templates (especially the first two below that show the interconnection) should be the topics you should be guided by when it comes to cold emails.
For nursing sequences, personalize your messages with a specific domain such as customer name or company name, as research shows that this can increase your open rate by up to 50% across industries.
You can also personalize the topic based on the action that the potential customer has taken on your site (see point 4).
- Subject: Great talks at SXSW
- Template: Great Conversation for (Event)
- Subject: Judy recommended me to contact …
- Template: (Interconnection) recommended Contact …
- Subject Line: Copyblogger Content Plan for Quarter 1
- Template: (brand) ‘s (your service) plan for quarter X
- Subject: Megan, take a look at these case studies on email subjects
- Template: (name), take a look at (very specific point of interest)
Note: This one is usually based on the action they took on your site.
- Subject Line: Megan, meet Jeff
- Template: (Name) meet (someone from your company)
13. Ask a question
Science has proven that people love to talk about themselves. Research by Scientific American shows that talking about yourself illuminates the same areas of the brain as eating good food or even taking drugs.
Therefore, focusing the conversation on the reader rather than yourself can help you develop deeper relationships with them and keep them more engaged.
So start by asking a question about yourself on the topic.
Here are some good templates:
- Topic: Are you Person # 1 or Person # 2?
- Template: Are you (option 1) or (option 2)?
- Subject Line: Do you have a special snowflake team?
- Template: Do you have a (target audience vise)?
- Subject Line: What is a rich life for you?
- Template: What does achieving your goal mean for you?
- Subject: How would your life change if you lost 10 kg?
- Template: How would your life change if you had (achieved the goal)?
- Subject: Why are you managing your money like you’re 20?
- Template: Why (do you do vices or avoid them)?
14. Create urgency
One of the best ways to stimulate sales with email is to be urgently in the subject line.
The 2018 study also demonstrated the power of urgency, with subjects consistently choosing to perform irrelevant tasks with the illusion of extinction over more important tasks.
While too much urgency too early in the sales phase can seem like spam and even put people off, it’s an effective way to end the grooming sequence and get people to take action.
- Subject: The free account that you forgot to report is deleted
- Template: Free (offer) is removed
- Subject: You have until 23:59 TODAY to register for Dream Job
- Template: You have until (timestamp) (DAY) to register with (product / service)
- Subject: $ 14,591 in one day – here’s how (The earning ends tonight)
- Template: (Target Audience) One Day – Here’s How (Product / Service) Closes Tonight)
- Feature: Seats are filling up extremely fast… only 21 seats left
- Template: (Holes) are filling very fast … only X slots left
- Subject: Closing Time (“Access All 2020” plan has disappeared)
- Template: closing time (no “Access to all (of course)”)
16. Give me something controversial
If you’ve been following an expert for a while and the topic contradicts everything they’ve ever said, you’re probably tempted to click to see more.
It’s the same tactic that TV producers and magazine editors use to get people’s attention.
Here are some examples:
- Subject: SEO is dead
- Template: (The practice you teach) is dead
- Subject: Why I regret investing in live events
- Template: Why I regret investing in (product / service you offer)
- Subject Line: Why don’t I create weekly content anymore …
- Template: Why not anymore (I provide services) …
- Subject Line: We’re removing our email list
- Template: removing (revenue driver)
Note: the offer was ultimately about signing up for instant messaging updates.
Of course, most of these topics ultimately address an industry problem and then explain how your product / service solves it.
So, which of these email topics will you try first?