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The Best Email Subject Lines: 9 Ways to Write Them Better and Increase Open Rates

Best email subject lines to increase open rates

You have prepared an email with strong content. It has a benefit, a cool promotion, or a good deal. But will your subscribers know about it? They get 40-50 (or even more) emails every day, and they’re running out of time:

  • Some emails they delete without looking
  • Others they put aside for later and forget
  • Others they read at once

If you want your email to be in the third group, you must motivate them to open it. You can give it in the subject line of the email. This article will help with that. This article will discuss 9 ways to write subject lines better and increase open rates.

Introduction to Email Marketing

introduction to email marketing

Some people think the subject line is the most important part of an email. This isn’t true. There are other parts of emails: the sender and the preheader. They, too, play an important role in whether or not the recipient will open your email. You need to work with each field to make the recipient want to open your email.

When you fill in the “sender name” field, there are two principles you should follow:

  • If addressing on your behalf, write your first and last name
  • If you’re addressing on a company’s behalf, write the company’s name

Some people add the name of the company and the title of the person communicating with subscribers. The explanation is, “People prefer to communicate with people rather than a faceless company.” It makes sense, but all that may not fit in the field. 

After opening an email, it is also important to have quality content inside. Bad content hurts the company’s credibility and negatively affects future open rates. Essay Writer PRO writing services can help a lot if you are a newbie in email marketing or your company doesn’t have a profound copywriter.

9 ways to write subject lines better and increase open rates

9 ways to write subject lines better and increase open rates


The purpose of the subject line is to tell the email’s content, make it stand out, intrigue, or provoke. Here are collected 9 techniques of writing subject lines that will help you:

  • Format
  • Order
  • Audience
  • Relevance
  • Intrigue
  • Question
  • Humor
  • Allusion
  • Provocation

We will consider each of them in this article.

1. Format

The technique’s essence is to show how the content is presented: guide, instruction, test, survey, practice, video, etc. This way of writing the subject line increases the value of the email: the reader sees that inside is not an ordinary article but, for example, a practice (read, implement, and get results). This technique is especially valuable for customer education campaigns where emails notify about new pieces of content.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • HR niche: “Step-by-step instructions: how to attract to work during the holidays.”
  • Email marketing niche: “[Getting Started] Email marketing for your store: How to set up a mailing list in MailChimp.”
  • Lead generation niche: “[Video] The advantages of own lead generation department.”
  • Automotive niche: “How to choose windshield wipers? Video!”
  • Content marketing niche: “[Infographic] 7 tools for repeat sales”
  • Business niche: “Practice: Improving the sales funnel.”

Subject line statistics: 33% of email recipients open emails because of catchy subject lines.

2. Order

The essence of this subject line writing technique is to show that the information in the email is structured. This technique also increases the value of the email: the order hints to the subscriber that the author has done a lot of work, selecting several good ways (tips, tricks) from among the many available.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Sports niche: “10 reasons to buy a scooter”
  • Photography training niche: “5 good reasons to join the new intensive”
  • Accounting niche: “4 typical cash register irregularities: easy ways to fix”
  • Pantyhose niche: “The rules of the autumn dress code.”
  • Business niche: “The top 3 mistakes made by US marketers.”
  • Sex-shop niche: “Recipes for autumn moping.”
  • HR niche: “Difficult salary questions that need your answers.”
  • Content marketing: “The 5 best ways to come up with an idea for super content.”

Using this technique, you don’t necessarily have to use numbers to write subject lines. For example, let’s compare two headlines, “Ways to increase conversion” and “5 ways to increase conversion”. Both are written according to this technique. But the second will have a higher open rate.

3. Audience

The essence of this subject line writing technique is to show to whom the email is addressed: executives, marketers, girls, moms, couples, etc. By specifying the audience, you personalize the message, which motivates the subscriber to open the email.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Website builder niche: “In confidence to Wix users: SEO secrets seminar.”
  • Clothing online store niche: “VIP event for bachelors and friends.”
  • Home appliances niche: “All for children at our online store! Useful gifts for moms and kids!”
  • Hairdressers training niche: “Addressed to all hairdressers who can not live without creativity.”

Subject line statistics: A/B testing of their subject lines led Skandium to increase their CTR by 26.96%.

4. Relevance

The essence of this subject line writing technique is to tie the content of the email to reality. In such a way, the subscriber will see that now or today is the right time to read the email. He or she will understand that reading it a little later, tomorrow or in a week will be too late. With the help of relevance, the value of the email increases: a person thinks first about pressing problems and then about eternal topics.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Online store niche: “1000 gift ideas for March 8 (sent on February 27)”
  • Travel niche: “How and where to relax in the homeland? (Sent on December 3)”
  • Accessories niche: “3 ways to spend an unforgettable summer (sent on July 1)”
  • Email marketing niche: “4 new email templates on Halloween eve: time to create newsletters (Sent October 27)”
  • Content marketing niche: “Lead generation in crisis (sent on August 17).”
  • Design niche: “How to update your home for summer and get ready for the holiday season: 12 best ideas (sent May 26)”

Subject line statistics: the average open rate for newsletters across all industries is 21.33%.

5. Intrigue

The essence of this subject line writing technique is to engage the subscriber’s curiosity. To satisfy it, he or she will open the email.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Clothing online store niche: “It seems that you forgot something interesting.”
  • Business development niche: “Trading business with no money (almost).”
  • Weight loss niche: “Til Schweiger makes spaghetti bolognese this way…”

In the last subject line example, the author deliberately put an ellipsis. In such a way, he hints: you want to know how Til Schweiger makes spaghetti bolognese, and you must open the email.

6. Question

The technique works just like intrigue. The main thing is that the subscriber wants to know the answer to the question you ask in the subject line.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Travel niche: “Where to have fun in the winter?”
  • Early development games niche: “What to give the baby on holiday?”
  • Weight loss niche: “Why do you want sweets so bad?”
  • Home appliances niche: “What to do if you wet your smartphone?”
  • Freelance niche: “Why will you never have problems with orders?”

Subject line statistics: emails with “Newsletter” in subject lines decrease their chances of being opened by 18.7%. 

7. Humor

The essence of the technique is to cheer up the subscriber. A person likes someone who cheers him up, so the likelihood that he will open the email increases.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • E-books niche: “Our e-books store is 3 years old, and you’ll get a gift even if you don’t open the email!”
  • Preschool children’s goods niche: “That kind of minus is warming: -25% on Nike and Adidas winter clothing”
  • Entertainment niche: “The 5 creepiest places in the USA – visit them all and get a heart attack as a gift!”

Use this technique with caution because people perceive humor differently – what’s funny to you may seem offensive to a subscriber.

8. Allusion

The essence of the technique is attracting attention with a subject line that recalls proverbs, established expressions, and names of TV shows, movies, books, songs, and phrases. With the help of allusion, the email’s subject is both highlighted and intriguing.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Entrepreneur niche: “I want ideas from you.”
  • Cosmetics niche: “One is good, but six is better.”
  • Retail niche: “Tea is not a lot! 3rd pack for $1.”
  • Cookware niche: “Buy more – pay less! Profitable New Year presents.”

Often with the help of allusion, it is possible to attract attention rather than to show what the email is about. Because of this, some subscribers may think: since it is unclear what the email is about, I will not waste my time on it. So further, in the header or preheader, hint at the content of the email.

9. Provocation

The trick is to tell your subscriber something out of the ordinary that will make them angry or happy but not indifferent. So you stand out from the crowd.

Examples of subject lines written using this technique:

  • Science niche: “7 scientifically proven ways to make everyone hate you”
  • Literature niche: “Reading books is a useless occupation.”
  • Swimwear niche: “I just want to cover my ass.”

Be careful with provocations. If a subscriber realizes you used this trick just to sell something, he or she may blacklist or unsubscribe.


If you’ve read carefully up to this point, you’ve noticed a pattern: you must always test to find the most effective email subject line. There are no one-size-fits-all methods because subscriber bases are different: what worked for one base is not necessarily what will work for another. And vice versa. 

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