email subject lines

6 Tips for Writing Great Email Subject Lines to Boost Conversions

We all receive emails in our primary inboxes, promotional inboxes, and our spam folders—some of them have great subject lines that make us want to click, while others don’t.

When you are a marketer trying to capitalize on the popularity of email marketing, you need to be cognizant of what does, and doesn’t, work when it comes to creating compelling emails. 

According to this article on email marketing best practices, people get over 100 emails in their inbox every day. If you want your email to be the one that stands out from that crowd, you need to write an attractive subject line.

The subject line is your gateway into the email and to further engagement between your brand and your audience.

But how do you write great email subject lines that will increase click rates and boost overall conversions? Here are 6 tips that will help.

1. Shorter Subject Lines Are Better

In the contemporary digital age, people have short attention spans. They are also receiving larger numbers of emails in their inboxes on a daily basis. 

If you want to get, and hold, people’s interest—by enlisting the AIDA sales model—you need to make your email subject lines short enough for them to be absorbed at a glance.

This isn’t an easy task—your email or newsletter will likely have a great deal of important information that cannot be summed up in three to five words (yes, that is generally how short you need to keep your subject lines).

Choose the most succinct parts of the newsletters that your readers absolutely must know, and use that as the hook to create your subject lines.

Shorter subject lines will make your email blasts more attractive to customers and will increase the chances of your emails being opened and clicked on.

2. Get Straight to the Point

As we have mentioned, you have very little room to play with in your subject lines—you need to make the most of those few words.

Avoid writing about your company or talking about something inconsequential in your subject line. If you have an offer to share or an announcement to make, put it in the subject line.

As tempting as it is to give context to your newsletter, there simply isn’t time to engage readers with that kind of information. 

Get straight to the point and be enticing in your subject line—and maintain that process in the body of your email by using attractive newsletter templates that showcase your brand and message. 

It is important to remember not to waste your subject line on clickbait titles—this will lead to a lack of follow-through when your customers read the email. They will likely delete your email, unsubscribe, or send your email to the spam box.

Imagine yourself in your customer’s shoes when you’re writing a subject line—do you want to know about the company sending the email, or do you want to know what is in the email and why you should open it? 

Once you have that answer, you can write your subject line. 

3. Ask a Question

ask question in subject line

One great way to write a subject line that will encourage readers to open your email is to ask them a question.

Questions immediately make people think, and activate their curiosity—they will want to know what the answer is, or whether the answer they have is the right one.

That curiosity is what you have to capitalize on to get subscribers to open your emails.

Of course, if you are going to ask a question in your email subject line, you need to ensure that the body of the email will answer that question. 

Otherwise, you have wasted a great opportunity to engage with your audience—and worse, you have not delivered on your promise. 

Asking a question is the hook that will make your customers want to open your email. Make sure you answer the question within to improve the customer experience with your messaging.

4. Make Subject Lines Urgent

Another way to ensure your emails lead to conversions is by adding a sense of urgency to your email subject lines. 

“One Day Sale!” and “BOGOF Today Only” are the kind of subject lines that will have people scrambling to open your email and to head to your store or website. 

The reason why these work is because of the feeling of FOMO—fear of missing out. People who read these subject lines will immediately be concerned that if they don’t act now, they are likely to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Having said that, you need to be a little careful about the way you utilize this type of subject line.

For one, don’t overuse it—you will likely not be having that many sales at your store so only employ the FOMO subject line when absolutely necessary. 

If you send too many emails of this kind, people will likely unsubscribe—this study on how to increase blog traffic found that 26% of people unsubscribe due to the volume of emails. 

And, as we have mentioned before, ensure that you follow through on the promise in the subject line. Don’t pretend like there’s a sale on or that supplies are running out when neither of those are happening! 

5. Lists in Subject Lines

lists in subject lines

People enjoy reading lists and you should use that to your advantage when writing email subject lines. 

For instance, a subject like “Stores Holding Sale Today” isn’t likely to elicit as much interest as “17 Store Sales Today”.

The first subject line doesn’t give the reader an idea of how many stores are having a sale—is it two or twenty? Two may not be a good enough reason to travel to a mall far away; whereas 20 is more than enough reason to do the same.

You should also include lists to ensure your readers know how much time they need to invest in reading your email. 

“Tips for Renovating Your Home” doesn’t tell you if this is a 30 second or 5-minute read. “7 Tips for Renovating Your Home” tells you roughly how much time you’ll need to invest in the email.

Keep your readers in mind when writing your subject lines and you should be able to engage them better.

6. Make it Personal

Personalization is becoming an important part of modern marketing, and it is set to continue to be a key tactic going forward into 2020.

You need to add elements of personalization in your email, but not only in the salutation. Work towards understanding your buyer personas—take a look at this article on buyer personas to learn more. 

Try including a personal touch in the subject line itself. Add the receiver’s name in your email subject lines—this method will create a connection between you and the customer, encouraging them to click on your email, when they would have otherwise ignored it. 

Key Takeaways

Creating email subject lines that inspire your subscribers to click on your newsletters does not have to be a hard task. 

Keep your subject lines short, and get straight to the point. Try and ask a question to excite people’s curiosity.

Consider adding a sense of urgency to your subject lines and include lists whenever possible.

Finally, make it personal by including your recipient’s name in the subject line and not just the body of the email.

With some thought, and by walking a mile in your customers’ shoes, you should be able to write subject lines that will boost conversions and improve your sales.


Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform Venngage. She writes passionately about marketing-related subjects, including social media, sales, web traffic, content writing, and being productive.

Twitter: @Venngage


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *