Five Subject Line Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Email Open Rates

Five Subject Line Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Email Open Rates

By: Aaron Lee
April 18, 2017

Five Subject Line Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Email Open RatesPicture this.

You’ve just created a masterpiece. You stayed up all night making sure it was absolutely perfect. You sit at your computer just staring at the screen in awe of what your mind has just accomplished. You have just put together an email so powerful, so inspiring, that anyone who reads it will drop their jaw in amazement.

Your finger starts to tremble as you slowly move your cursor toward the send button. You pause for a brief second as you admire your work once more, almost as if you’re not sure if you’re dreaming. It’s that good. You finally press your finger down on the mouse button and in the blink of an eye it’s sent across the world to your thousands of subscribers.


No one’s opening it… How could this be? You scramble for answers as the corner of your eye catches the subject line. “Check it out!”—so generic and overdone. Therein lies the fatal flaw. All that time wasted creating the perfect email no one will ever see.

It’s important for businesses and marketers to be aware the subject line is just as important as what’s in the message itself, even more so, according to some. If this sounds like a nightmare scenario to you it’s best to keep reading. We’re about to go over some of the top strategies that marketers use to get as many clicks as possible.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that email abuse is real. Many marketers use tactics that are flash in pan and subscribers can see through that. The key is the maintain trust with your subscribers. The email itself should be relevant to the customers’ needs. Do not send emails to people who have not subscribed to your list. They likely don’t want what you are selling, and you’ll only annoy them. With that being said, here are some strategies to try.

The Strategies to Increase Your Email Open Rates

  1. Deadlines

People have a natural tendency to not want to miss out on things, and deadlines make them feel like will if they don’t take action. A helpful piece of advice, if you decide to go this route, is to use a countdown. This doesn’t mean to spam every hour on a one day deadline, but if the deadline is a few days away it would be acceptable to remind your reader every 24 hours or so.


  • Save 50% on All Orders from Now Until Friday
  • For 24 hours only!

Here’s a good example of an email I opened recently with this example.Five Subject Line Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Email Open Rates

  1. Create a Feeling of Exclusivity

People love to be “in the know,” or on an insider or exclusive list.

That is one reason Appsumo is such a success. They have all the insider and exclusive deals. There are many ways to use it. For example, you can do a limited giveaway where you only giveaway to your list. You might be surprised at how quickly your emails are opened.


  • Here’s your private invite “(Customer’s Name)”
  • Get my free gift to you “(Customer’s Name)“
  • Get your exclusive access today!

The goal here is to make people feel special, and this type of subject line is perfect for achieving that.

  1. Be Funny

When people scroll through their inbox they get so used to subject lines screaming at them to buy something that they learn to ignore it.

Be clever. Make them laugh. Even if you are trying to sell them something there’s a bigger chance they’ll appreciate the effort and give you a click just to see what you have to say. It doesn’t have to be a joke or a laugh out loud type of thing, just enough to give a little grin. I’ve found that making people laugh with a subject line can be highly effective.


  • Jack and Jill Bought Our Water Instead. Everyone’s Crown is Just Fine.
  1. Use One Word – Or two.

Just keep it short. This is not a tactic that should be used exclusively but it can definitely provide results if used correctly. Think about the average person skimming through their inbox and all the long subject lines trying to compete for their attention. A single word stands out by default. Inside a wall of text appears a virtually blank space, that draws the eye directly to your email.


  • Tires (this would be for someone dealing with automotive equipment. Any subscribers in need of tires will be more inclined to click)
  • About weekends
  • I’m happy!

Five Subject Line Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Email Open Rates

  1. Controversy and Scandals

This is one that really only needs to be implied, you don’t need to actually say anything risqué. Anything that relates to politics or celebrities is sure to get curiosity levels to maximum heights. Lots of people crave the next piece of juicy gossip and will likely click your email to see if that’s what you have in store.


  • Couples who post too much on social media always break up
  • Why we love to watch reality TV
  • Problem’s rich people have

Five Subject Line Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Email Open Rates

Final Words

These are just a few of the ways to catch your reader’s attention and hopefully a click will follow. Be creative and try to stay away from anything that people might be tired of seeing, like “Click Now!” No one will open that. One thing that should be said is that your subject line should be relevant to what’s actually inside. Don’t trick your subscribers into clicking, because if they don’t see what they came for they won’t click your links or buy your products anyway and you’ll just end up losing their trust. Always try to keep it fresh and entertaining and, most importantly, just be yourself.