How to Develop Persuasive Email Subject Lines

woman interested in winning email subject lines

bySimon Kahiga

An email subject line that people open and click is worth more than an Instagram post that gets lost in people’s feeds.

Yet, entrepreneurs like you and me sometimes struggle to write short catchy subject lines. Your business will boom when you learn how to write catchy subject lines that scream ‘Open me please.’

Let me explain the 7-ingredient recipe for writing winning emails.

Why Email Subject Lines are Critical

How many emails did you send in 2021? It must’ve been many. Now imagine everyone in the world with an email like you sent 319.6 billion emails. That’s according to Statista, which also projects that the world will send an estimated 376.4 billion emails in 2025 alone.

winning email subject lines statistics by statista
The importance of winning email subject lines is increasing

Source: Statista

The increase in the number of emails we’re sending to and from each other shows that email is very important. With that said, the subject line that goes out with each email you send is even more important.

The subject line determines how many people will open your email. It also determines how many people click the links you share in the body of the email. If no one opens your email, then you’ll have a zero click-through rate.

Therefore, if you get your subject line right, you will have high open and click-through rates, and that will in turn generate more sales for your business.

To get the winning email subject line for every email you send, let’s find out the seven strategies you should use.

1. Keep Your Subject Lines Short

Winning email subject lines are short. Mailchimp recommends that an email subject line should have up to sixty characters or 9 words.

Shorten your subject lines until you’re left with a few words that send the message in a short yet precise way.

For example, instead of writing:

Buyers are Looking for Holiday and Fitness Content in Your Blog Articles

Shorten the subject line and make it:

Here’s what Buyers are searching for in YOUR articles

The first subject line has seventy-two characters while the second one has only fifty-three characters. The second subject line also raises curiosity while the first one has already given out the secret sauce.

2. Personalize Your Subject Lines

Call out your recipients by their names, and they’ll be more than glad to open the email and see what you have for them.

Hey you, please come here.

Hey Jane, please come here.

If you were Jane, which of the above would you respond to? It’s definitely the second one where I use your name. In the first sentence, ‘you’ could mean anyone, but the second one is specifically calling out Jane.

People feel special when called by name. So, why not make your customers feel special? It may be the only reason they buy from you.

winning email subject lines showing personalization
Sample of winning email subject lines from my inbox

3. Create a Sense of Urgency

Scarcity sells. Stephen, Jerry, and Akanbi proved this in their research titled, “Effects of supply and demand on ratings of object value.” The three conducted research using cookies to find out how people would value cookies when they were in plenty compared to when they were scarce.

They put ten cookies in one jar and two cookies in the second jar. As it turned out, people valued the two cookies more than they did the ten.

The principle also applies to email marketing. Use words that make people fear missing out on your offer. Because we humans love to have and own what no one else has.

See these examples:

  • 1 day left to enjoy a 50% discount
  • 50% discount: offer expires at midnight
  • Three hours left to claim your gift
  • 3 hours left to buy one and get one free

Your recipients will open these subject lines to see what you’re offering and get it before you change your mind. I like to use this strategy, especially when my clients are running holiday sales or other special offers.

4. Keep Your Message Consistent

Spindrift does a good job of keeping its messaging consistent. They’re transparent in their communication. Hence, you’ll find subject lines like these in their emails:

  • Made by real people
  • Real fruit
  • The best ingredients

Since you already know what your brand stands for, and the values you observe, keep that messaging consistent. Also, don’t tell customers in your email that you’re offering a 10% discount then tell them it’s a 30% discount on social media.

They’ll not trust you, and, you’ll lose customers who value honesty to your competitors.

5. Make the Subject Line Interesting

To write something interesting, start by understanding your customers:

  • What do they like about your brand?
  • What do they expect from brands in your industry?
  • How do they behave?
a group of people discussing winning email subject lines

For example, if your customers love reading the news, include a recent story in your industry in the subject line. Then relate this story to the message of your email.

If you’re in fitness, you include a statistic about the number of people who suffered obesity last year. Then use this statistic to show them why it’s important to keep fit and eat healthy in the body of the email. End the email by asking them to join your fitness class where you also share tips to eat healthy food and avoid obesity, diabetes, and other related diseases.

If you give a statistic in the subject line, give more details about it in the body.

6. Use Action-oriented Words

Action-oriented words tell people what to do. These words excite email recipients, convey a sense of urgency, and encourage them to act instantly.

Here’s an example. Instead of writing a bland subject line like:

Our hottest product for this month

Use action-oriented language to make the subject line:

Get your hands on our hottest product of the month

The words, “get your hands on,” makes a recipient want to get their hands on the product you’re offering.

7. Write a Subject Line You Would Open

winning email subject lines- you got this

Send that subject line if you would click it and wait for the results. If it doesn’t work, test a new subject line and keep testing until you find winning email subject lines strategies that give you high open and click-through rates.

Start Sending Winning Email Subject Lines Now

Now that you have these strategies at your fingertips, it’s time to go out and practice them. Get out that list you’ve stored on your drive and stand sending emails right away.

See my previous post about how to optimize blog posts for SEO in 7 steps

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