How to Create Email Subject Lines that Skyrocket Your Open Rates

One of the things I’m proudest of my business for is how engaged people are with it. After all, my goal is to help as many people as I can run their lives and their businesses on their terms, and you can’t do that without first creating a great connection with people.

One way that this shows up is in the really high open rates I get with my email list — nearly 15% above the industry average! Now there’s a lot that goes into this. I always focus on providing great content and services, and I really practice what I preach with the ‘give, give, give, ask’ principle.

But another important part of this is my email subject lines. This may seem like a really tiny thing to think about, but here’s the thing: people get loads of emails every day, so even if you spend a lot of time creating great email content, if the subject line isn’t appealing — and I mean strongly, instantly appealing — then it’s going to go to waste.

To keep that from happening, you’ve got to put some serious thought into your email subject lines. To get the best results:

Pique their curiosity.

Did you know that people get a natural rush of the hormones associated with addiction when their curiosity is piqued and satisfied? That’s an incredibly powerful way to get them engaged with your emails, so see if you can create a little bit of a mystery with your subject lines. Good ways to do this include using unusual word combinations, telling the beginning of a story, or asking people if they’re making a particular type of mistake.

Promise results (and follow through!)

People don’t owe you their attention; you need to give them a reason to open your emails. One really good way to do this is to promise concrete results, like the answer to a problem. You’ve got to follow through though. If you do a bait and switch, using a provocative subject line followed up by lacklustre content, people will tune out really quickly.

Make it personal.

People respond much better to ‘you’-based language than ‘me’ or ‘we’ statements, so think of ways that you can make your email subject lines about the person reading them. With most mail providers, you can actually insert the person’s name into the subject line, which can be very effective as long as you don’t overuse it.

If you wouldn’t open it, don’t send it.

We all know what spammy email subject lines look like — so when you’re writing yours, take a step back from it and ask yourself if you would open it if it landed in your inbox. If you can’t honestly answer yes, then it’s back to the drawing board.

Test and tweak.

There’s no way to be 100% sure what subject lines are going to resonate best with your audience before you send them out. But you can test the response you get to different subject lines and use that data when creating new ones.

Most mailing software has the option for an A/B test, which means that you can send out the same email with different subject lines to different segments of your list, so try doing this a few times and see what types of subject lines work best with your audience.

Your turn — be honest, how much time do you spend on your email subject lines? And what tips and tricks to you have for the rest of us?