How to Write Killer Email Subject Lines

The average person receives 121 emails every day. That means that if you’re sending emails for your business, you need to make sure that your email subject lines are damn good. Otherwise, no one will open your email and you’ll sell no products.

Let’s talk about how you can get your user’s attention when they’re in their inbox, and get them to open your email.

First, though, I’d like to discuss a few important numbers and email metrics for you. 20% open rates. 10% click-through rates. 5% conversion rates. What do all of these have in common?

The answer is simple…

All of these metrics 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 subject lines in a way that they want to open.

How to Write Killer Email Subject Lines

This is our “5 Steps to Get More Opens” process. It’s proven to be effective, and similar to “the force”, it can be used for both good or evil…

I urge you to only use it for good. Because nobody likes an evil email marketer.

1. Brainstorming

Spend about 10 minutes per email brainstorming your possible subject lines. So if you are sending out a sequence of 4 emails, that’s 40 minutes of time spent coming up with subject lines.

Not 4 minutes… Not 40 seconds… 40 minutes.

Got it? Good!

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

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

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 of 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 an angle that you hadn’t considered.

Don’t forget to look at your own data and sending history to see what your list engages with. Afterall, past performance is usually a very good indicator of future success.

3. Write Your 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, don’t 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 Your Email Subject Lines

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?

Yes, grasshopper, 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, Mail, etc.) to see how your email will look in the inbox. Does your emoji work? Does your snippet/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. This is where you send the email as a 50/50 A/B split test to 20% of your list. 10% of the total list gets version A, 10% get version B. The winning variation (it’s usually not the one you would’ve thought) then goes out to the remaining 80% of the list.

With these 5 step, you should be well on your way to higher open rates, which means more readers, more clicks, more sales, and more money.

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Do you have any other good tips for writing great email subject lines? Leave them in the comments below.

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.