5 Email Subject Line Best Practices

The key to unlocking a high open rate for your next email marketing campaign lies within the structure of the subject line. It isn’t uncommon for the average email account to receive over 100 messages over the course of 24 hours. Some accounts receive over 1,000. People are being constantly exposed to information, solicitations, and news that has some level of importance to it. In order to gain attention, the subject must stand out and not get flagged by a spam filter.

That’s why these email subject line best practices were developed. Although no method is 100% perfect, these best practices are proven to increase open rates so that a better brand awareness can be developed so there is value in the relationship for each consumer.

1. Introduce a Value Proposition.

If an email arrives from an unexpected source, then the first urge for that person is to delete it. Many people don’t bother with unsubscribing. They just remove it so that it is out of sight. That’s why the value proposition is a best practice for email subject lines. Think of it like a blog article title. You need to craft something that will tempt a click instead of a delete.

Here are a few examples to get an idea of this.

1. The 6 Best Ways You Can Create Better Emails
2. The 8 Proven Benefits of Email Subject Lines
3. The Top 10 Reasons Why You Can’t Be Lazy With Email Marketing

The value proposition encourages the email to be opened because it creates curiosity within the consumer. That curiosity leads to them reading the content of the email and then being inspired, hopefully anyway, to fulfill the call to action, whatever it may be. This best practice has doubled open rates for many who have made the change.


2. Questions Are Overrated.

The problem with a question in the email subject line is that they general make your consumers feel like idiots. If someone believes that you’re trying to make them feel inferior, then they are going to delete the email quickly and purge your brand from their mind. Even worse – they might actively campaign against what you’re trying to accomplish.

With that being said, if you can match up a question with a targeted concern that someone has, then you’ll get a better open rate. For Baby Boomers, we know that a majority of them haven’t saved enough for retirement. If your goal was to offer this age demographic retirement planning services, then a good email subject line would be this: Will You Be Able to Retire By Age 65? Here’s How You Can Do It.

3. Testimonials Work If They Can Be Proven.

Households That Earn $65k Per Year Use This Trick…

Testimonials are a good email subject line, but only if they can be explicitly proven. You can’t say that Arnold Palmer likes to drink Arnold Palmers if your sole point of reference is an ESPN commercial. You’ve got to put in direct evidence, like a link to a video of him drinking the beverage, to validate the click of a consumer. Without evidence, you’ll like get an unsubscribe notification since the email was opened.

That’s why generalized testimonials tend to work better than specific ones. Statistical data can be used to create the testimonial. Survey data can also be used.

4. Only Use Personalized Email Subject Lines If You’ve Established a Relationship.

How many times have you deleted an email that had a subject line that was similar to this one: Janet – You Won’t Believe How Fast You Can Make Money With This 1 Tip. The reason why this doesn’t work isn’t because the value proposition isn’t good. It’s because most companies use the first name approach without earning the right to do so.

Most people only go on a first name basis with people that make them comfortable. It’s a reflection that someone has made it to the inner circle. If you’re still in the outer circle and you try an approach like this, then you’ll be cast aside for good. Even first/last name subject lines need some sort of relationship to work. If you haven’t engaged with someone, then don’t use this structure. Period.

5. How To Make Someone Want What You’ve Got.

One of the best email subject lines that sees consistent results are the “How To Make” titles that are used. Anything that provides instructions has a sense of value that is automatically associated with it. Using the word “make” implies that you’ll help someone reach the accomplishment on their own. That’s why this option is almost always a winner.

These email subject line best practices will help you achieve a better open rate. Implement them today, be consistent with your content, and your efforts at email marketing should pay off for you.

Creating an Email Subject Line

Here are the secret tactics I used to build my website traffic to over 2 million monthly visitors and grow my email list to over 100,000 subscribers:
9 Secrets to Increasing Website Visitors and Email Subscribers