How to Write Catchy Email Subject Lines That Grab Attention

20% open rates. 10% click-through rates. 5% conversion rates. What do all of these have in common? They all mean nothing and are impossible to achieve if you can’t get your users to open your emails. So in order to get them to open, we need to spend some time crafting your catchy email subject lines in a way that they want to open.

Below we’ll go over 5 steps to get more email opens. It’s proven to be effective, and like using the force, it can be used for both good or evil.

We recommend you use it only for good…

Because nobody likes an evil email marketer.

Add these subject lines to your email sequence.

1. Brainstorming

Spend about 10 minutes per email brainstorming your possible email subject lines.

If you are sending 4 emails, even with the new math, that’s 40 mins of work coming up with subject lines.

Not 4 minutes… Not 40 seconds… 40 minutes. Got it?


Here are a few other things to consider at this stage of the process.

Consider what is happening in the world and try to find a tie-in that fits with your email (some popular topics might include: pop culture, bitcoin, movies, TV shows, etc.)

PRO TIP: You can use Google Trends to see what is trending and come up with a list of 10-20 words and phrases that will work for your subject line.

2. Research

Use tools like Buzzsumo and AMI to gauge what is getting shared and what evokes meaning for people. Both tools are free and extremely valuable.

Next, look at websites and other emails from people in your space or niche and see what tactics they are using.

You can also do a search for your keywords or phrases on Reddit and find out what’s popular. It’s likely you’ll discover something here that’s fun, creative, innovative and that you hadn’t considered for an angle.

Don’t forget to look at your own data and sending history to see what your list engages with.

After all, past performance is usually a very good indicator of future success.

3. Write The Subject Line

Based on your research you should have a good feel as to where your subject line is headed, so now it’s time to write it. Remember to tell them what’s inside not sell them on what’s inside. You don’t want to give away everything. Give them a reason to open. Tease them.

This is where you’ll want to use the tactics and techniques of all the great marketers out there.

Create urgency, scarcity, curiosity, or fear.

Ask a question, tell a joke, use personalization. Engage them and they will engage with you.

4. Test Deliverability

Here at Brandetize, we utilize tools like SendForensics and Litmus to ensure our emails don’t get marked as spam or end up in the junk folder.

SendForensics will give you insight as to how the email clients might treat your mail – as in delivered or not delivered.

Guess which bucket you want to fall in?

You can’t get your email opened if it doesn’t get delivered.

Be sure to send tests to your own email client (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) to see how your email will look in the inbox – does your emoji work? Does your snippet and preview text look ok? These are critical factors that can make the difference between a 5% open rate and a 20% open rate.

5. Send it!

We like to use the 10/10/80 Championship Method when sending emails.

This is where you send the email as a 50/50 A/B split test to 20% of your list – 10% get version A, 10% get version B, whichever wins — and it won’t be the one you want to win — goes to the remaining 80% of the list.

With this last step and the 4 previous ones that came before it, you should be well on your way to 20% opens, which means more readers, more clicks and more money.

Share your best email subject lines in the comments!

Kevin is Brandetize’s Email Specialist. He spends his mornings writing killer email copy and his afternoons consist of optimizing funnels while staring at excel searching for outliers and anomalies until his eyes dry out. Kevin’s evenings are mainly a combination of sports, investing, meditating and keeping his French Bulldog, Aix, entertained.