3 Steps To Creating The Best Email Marketing Subject Lines

3 Steps To Creating The Best Email Marketing Subject Lines

by KC Chow Agency

At a glance, email marketing may look easy. Just send a couple emails regularly, and you’re good to go.

But a good marketer knows that is not the case. Email marketing is more than just spewing out emails and hoping that it converts to sales. The best approach to fully understand email marketing is to think like a customer.

Imagine being in your customer’s shoes for a bit.

If you were to receive a promotional email from a familiar brand, what would make you open the email? The sender, the subject line, or the preview?

There’s actually no wrong answer here, as they all factor into a reader’s conscious decision to open an email or not. However, studies have shown that around 47% of subscribers open an email based on the subject line alone. That figure is significant enough to make email marketers realize how important an email subject line is.

In this article, we’ll walk you through on important parts of the email marketing process – specifically how we craft email campaign subject lines that get us as much as 50% open rates across various types of campaigns.

Plus, browse through various creative samples that can help you come up with your very own catchy email marketing subject lines!

Ready? Let’s dive in –

1) It’s All About the Hook

You may have been in the industry long enough to know the acronym AIDA, which stands for Attention-Interest-Desire-Action. It’s a common concept used in marketing, and the subject line is responsible for the “Attention” part of it.

Think of it as “love at first sight.” People who watch rom-coms all know that scene too well; where a pretty lady or a handsome man enters the room and everybody’s jaw just drops.

That is the hook. The first impression, the first glance, the first point of contact.

Since first impressions are highly critical, we want you to understand how it applies to your email marketing subject lines.

Think of your customers (potential and existing) as fishes in the sea, and your email marketing subject line is the hook.

Below are tried and tested components that could make your hook more tantalizing to your readers.


Component 1. Curiosity

Email marketing subject lines succeed on the basis of piquing the interest of subscribers without giving away too much information. Learn the art of creating an air of mystery. Be mysterious, but not vague – there’s a fine line between the two. Make sure that you use the

art of curiosity wisely.

Make sure to spark curiosity in a way that customers are intrigued, not confused. When used incorrectly, this strategy may also wear off easily on your audience. Best to alternately use this with other email marketing subject line strategies below.


Component 2. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

Aaah, the good ol’ Fear of Missing Out card. This is a good card to play from the deck of email marketing subject lines deck. FOMO is truly a powerful psychological weapon and when used at the right moment, it can propel your business to a whole new level.

Placement of FOMO is also very critical. For example, if you are running a 3-email campaign, you can’t use scarcity or FOMO for the 2nd email. The FOMO strategy is best used on the last email that serves as the final reminder.


Component 3. Social Proof

Social proof is another strong strategy that you can play with to reel in clients. Humans have an innate psychological trait that makes us rely on what other people have to say, greatly affecting our decision, stance, or opinion. This is the reason why social proof holds such a strong position in marketing, regardless of the media used.

In short, nobody wants to spend money on a bad or “meh” product. Let your clients know that people love your product or service, and let your email subject line do the talking.

You can explore or use other email marketing subject line strategies but the above mentioned are our top 3 types of email marketing subject lines that effectively hooked our target audience.

2) Mind Your Words

Ever since we were kids, we were taught to be careful with what we say. Fast forward to “adulting” stage and ta-daah – that concept is still highly applicable.

In terms of email marketing, using the right words, or specifically keywords, play a vital role in making or breaking your campaign. Inbox service providers’ spam filters are stricter than ever, and with the addition of other inbox tabs such as the promotions tab (yes I’m looking at you GMail), it only gets worse. Getting your email placed anywhere else other than the main inbox is a death sentence for that campaign (SPAM folder, we’re looking at you, too).

Whether you’re still a newbie or a veteran in email marketing, we’d like to remind you to avoid email curse words and symbols in your subject line like the plague:

A simple Google search on “Email Curse Words 2021” will lead you to a huge list of words to avoid including in your email marketing subject lines.

3) Snip, Snip, Snip

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short and Simple. Works for authors, journalists, advertisers. And guess what? It also works for email marketing subject lines!

Simpler is better. When it comes to writing your email marketing subject lines, it’s best to think like a minimalist.

After you’ve written your subject line(s), take a look at it again and see how you can shorten it.


More than 60% of subscribers now open their emails via mobile devices. And based on the market trend, that number will keep on growing. As mobile screens have a smaller screen estate than desktop or laptop computers, email clients in these devices usually cut off subject lines if they are more than 33-43 characters.

As much as possible, try to shorten your email marketing subject lines to make sure that a.) your target audience will read it, b.) you get your message across, and c.) you get clicks that convert.

Email Marketing Subject Lines: Bonus Tips

Because we’re feeling extra generous, we’re not stopping here!

Here are a few more email marketing subject line tips that could help you out with your email campaigns’ subject lines.

Tip 1: Personalization goes a long way. Use the first name tag if it can fit! People love hearing (or in this case, seeing) their name. It’s a sweet and personalized gesture that can actually go a long way.

Tip 2: Feel free to work on some A/B testing. There are various factors to test on – adding emojis might work for your audiences, however do not over do it, because your emails will easily trigger the promotional tabs filter. Plus, putting in too much emojis might also make your email subject line look spammy.

Tip 3: Adding numbers on subject lines makes it stand out. Write down numbers in number form, not in alphabetical. Tease the visuals of your audience, make them think for a second – that’s a short and simple way to catch their attention.

Tip 4: Send a “test” email to yourself. As they say, you are your biggest fan and critic so why not send a test email to your own email address in order to see if the subject and preview lines are fully visible. While you’re at it, double-check your content as well, both on your phone and on your PC.

Finally, The Best Part… Swipes!

Here are some samples of email marketing subject lines. Feel free to swipe them!

The Warning Subject Line

[Example 1] – (Name), warning about your job search

[Example 2] – (Name), a warning about this new product launch

[Example 3] – (Name), a warning about this strategy session


The Secret Subject Line

[Example 1] – (Name), top 5 secrets to increase your landing page conversion

[Example 2] – (Name), discover my secret to getting 5 hot leads per day

[Example 3] – (Name), the secrets to a happy marriage


The Quickest Way Subject Line

[Example 1] – (Name), the quickest way to get back your Ex

[Example 2] – (Name), the quickest way to become a stylish man

[Example 3] – (Name), the quickest way to lose belly fat


The Fear Subject Line

[Example 1] – (Name), your competition knows this, do you?

[Example 2] – (Name), you might be consuming these harmful substances

[Example 3] – (Name), What if you lost your job tomorrow?


The Hate Subject Line

[Example 1] – (Name), I hate it when someone tells me this excuse

[Example 2] – (Name), I hate it when I don’t see you getting results

[Example 3] – (Name), I hate it when I need to tell you the truth


You can easily tweak these subject lines and make them relevant to your content and target audience.

At the end of the day, creating email marketing subject lines doesn’t have to be stressful or nerve-wracking.

Be creative, have fun, and don’t forget to play around with these email marketing subject line strategies!

If you are looking to take your current email marketing to the next level, schedule a free consultation with us today!

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