The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47%

  • Email subject lines that threaten scarcity (with limited time offers) are performing really well.
  • MailChimp recently conducted a study and found that emails with short and descriptive subject lines performed better than long and cheesy ones.
  • Controversy not only grabs attention but also helps make a sale.

There must be several hundred emails in your inbox. If you are anything like me, you probably receive over two dozens of emails every day. These days, people’s inbox is flooded with loads of information – more than ever before.

But we do NOT have enough time to open, read, and click through it all.

This is the main reason why your emails are being ignored unless, of course, it has a rock solid subject line.

You see, your subject line is your first (and most likely your last) opportunity to make a quick ‘impression’ on your users. In fact, in many ways, your email subject line is more crucial than your email body. After all, what is the use of a ‘great newsletter’ if it is never opened, right? (Click here to read 7 Emails You Should be Sending Your Subscribers.)

In this post, we will cover 7 different types of slam dunk subject lines that will lead to more open rates, and ultimately to more online sales.

Here are 7 best email subject line styles that will double your open rates:

Email Style #1: Mysterious Email Subject Lines

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Mysterious Subject Lines
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Mysterious Subject Lines

Everyone LOVES a bit of mystery in his or her lives. If you don’t agree with us, just go and ask Scooby-Doo or Sue Grafton. Giving your subscribers a small taste of something interesting may cause them to open more emails.

Email Style #2: “Missing Out” and Other Scarcity Tactics in Subject Lines

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Missing Out Subject Line
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Missing Out Subject Line

We all are scared of “missing out” wonderful opportunities in life. Once, that ‘hoard it all’ mentality was actually a survival instinct, but today it is just another subject line tactics to compel people to purchase.

Email subject lines that threaten scarcity (with limited time offers) are performing really well. In fact, this type of language is highly used with squeeze pages. In order to avoid “missing out,” many people often commit to some serious cold actions.

So, if you want to BOOST open and click through rates of your emails, throw in some scarcity words in your subject lines. For example, create some serious subject lines by incorporating numbers, punctuation, and partial capitalization (an emphasis on the partial).

Related article: 7 Things to Remember When Publishing an E-Newsletter

Email Style #3: Send Minimalist – Simple, Clear, and Concise – Subject Lines

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Simple Subject Lines
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Simple Subject Lines

Just like yours, your users’ time is valuable. This is why they expect your subject lines to be simple, clear, and concise.

MailChimp recently conducted a study and found that emails with short and descriptive subject lines performed better than long and cheesy ones.

You might STAND UP against us telling why creativity and humor should take a back seat when creating email subject lines, especially when all veteran marketing experts are preaching otherwise. We understand your pain, but it is also crucial for you to understand that this minimalist approach is most appropriate with notification emails, in which you have already built a strong connection with your users through the content you are delivering.

If you look at the screenshot above, you will notice that most of these subject lines examples involve notifications or updates related to a user’s order status, social media activity, etc. These email types have a definite goal, and so their subject lines must be definite, too.

Related article: 11 Powerful Email Marketing Tips to Get Your Emails Opened, Read, and Clicked

Email Style #4: Use Insulting/Shocking/Controversial Subject Lines in Emails

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Shocking Subject Lines
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Shocking Subject Lines

Controversy not only grabs attention but also helps make a sale. However, using controversy, shock, insults in your subject lines requires you to know what you are doing. You may get a lot of open rates, but also risk losing a customer.

For this strategy to work, you need to tread the water carefully – understand your audience’s tastes and sensitivity really well.

It is a bit of a risky, but the result can be awesome – would you simply scan through the subject lines below? Not likely:

  • Everyone Masturbates: 10 Reasons Why You Should Stop Doing it Now
  • Your Email Marketing Sucks: 3 Tips to Make it More Effective
  • Why You Will Never be Successful in Internet Marketing

Email Style #5: Single-Word Subject Lines

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Single-Word Subject Lines
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Single-Word Subject Lines

One effective way to boost open rates is going ‘ultra-minimalist’ by using just a single-word subject lines, as shown in the screenshot below.

Look at the Gmail ‘promotion’ tabs, for example. Google is scheduling for a major makeover for the promotion tab – they are starting to display promotional emails in an image-oriented design similar to Pinterest.

If this new tactic works, soon images will take over subject lines as the key email element.

Until that day comes, we still need to do something creative about the current situation of the promotion tab. It is chaotic there, with pile upon pile of emails that go unnoticed every day. Which one will stick out? For me, it would be Amazon’s Local’s M3 subject line.

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Amazon’s Local’s M3 subject line
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Amazon’s Local’s M3 subject line

From a design point of view, you can easily tell why the Amazon Local subject line works – its length and shape sticks out from other largely similar-looking structures.

Here are another clever email subject line tactics used by Mequoda with a simple subject line of Panic. It is only a single word, but emotionally a BIG one. Suddenly, you find yourself asking, “What I should be panicking about? Will I be in danger? What will happen to me? Emotionally punchy words make a HUGE difference.

Related article: 5 Creative Email Marketing Campaign You Can Use Today

Email Style #6:  Try Sending Emails with ‘Humorous/Funny’ Subject Lines

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - Single- Funny Subject Lines
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – Single- Funny Subject Lines

Look at your inbox and you will find the majority of email subject lines are plain, dry, or boring. A humorous email subject, on the other hand, STANDS OUT from the mass. However, humor is a sensitive thing – it performs really well on exclusivity, which is not always a great thing if you were trying to reach out to the masses. Nonetheless, if you know what you are doing, know your audience well, and your emails are targeted, a funny email subject lines can skyrocket your email open rates.

Related article: 47 Great Examples of Lol-Worthy Messages that Works all the Time

Type# 7: Number and Lists in Email Subject Lines

The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% - List Subject Line
The 7 Best Email Subject Line Styles to BOOST Your Open Rates by 47% – List Subject Line

Strategies that work for a good blog title also work as a good email subject line. For example, inserting lists and numbers into your subject lines grab attention, as our mind are automatically drawn to digits. No wonder why top 5, top 7, or top 10 lists are so successful – not only numbers and lists are easier to process for our brains, but they are also creating some kind of curiosity among readers, not to mention providing a quick and easy read.

Just like single-word subject lines, numbers and list subject lines stands out for the same reasons – they are visually LOUD.

Whenever we are scanning our environment for almost nothing, in particular, our eye tends to be drawn to those things that do not fit – objects, people, or features that do not fit or stand out from the background. Similarly, a blog headline that is visually prominent in one or other way has a better chance of capturing our eye, and in an area where dozens of headlines are competing for attention, numbers and lists break up the visual field.

In short, make your subject lines graphically stand out.