Your subject lines are bad: Here’s how to make them better

avoid heavy words

Imagine spending hours writing your content for your recent email campaign, only to know that only a few people bothered to see what you’ve got.

If you’re experiencing this heartbreak with your emails, you may need to check on your subject lines. Headlines are the first thing your subscribers see in their inboxes, and they can make or break your subscriber’s first impression on your email.

To make your email subscribers craving for your emails every time, you need to work on your best subject lines. Check out these 8 tips to revamp your subject lines and bring that open and clickthrough rate soaring high!

1. Create urgency

Urgency keeps your readers moving. For instance, “One day left for early bird promo. Book your stay now!” prompts you to book immediately at that hotel so you can catch the discounted price.

This action-reaction thing is not just some marketing magic. It’s part of human psychology. When faced with urgent situations, we’re driven to make decisions, fast.

With the example above, you’re suddenly urged to book your flight because of the time-sensitive discount. Even if you’re already set to book at that hotel for your vacation, still, it would be a great catch if you save money from your stay with that discount.

The secret to creating urgency in your headlines is to use urgency words. Here are some of them that successful email campaigns have in common:

  • Hurry
  • Limited time only
  • Last chance
  • Offer expires
  • Act now
  • Clearance

Countdowns also work too! Something like this:

FREE webinar registration closes in 5…4…3…

2. Stir up some emotions

Perhaps your subject lines aren’t evoking emotions to your subscribers? If that’s the case, you need to put some more drama, metaphorically.

It’s not enough to pass educational information on emails and call it “email marketing.” You need subscribers to feel something after reading that information – inspired, excited, empathetic, angry, scared. Only then will your subscribers be motivated to take action according to their current feeling.

To provoke emotions among your readers, use power words. These are words that elicit a positive or negative emotional response to readers.

Most email marketers use these words to spice up their headlines and compel readers to open and read through the email.

Tip: Use these power words along with urgency words to make your email campaigns explosive.

Once you have a list of possible headlines for your next email, run them over in a headline analyzer. These analyzers like the one from Coschedule can grade the emotional level of your headline.

3. Use verbs that encourage action

To create compelling headlines, treat them as CTAs too. To attract your subscribers to open your email, include action-taking verbs in your headline. If you tell them what you want them to do, they’ll comply, mostly out of curiosity.

Here are some headline examples that use action-oriented verbs:

4. Put in some unexpected words (that’s still related to your subject)

“The Modern Jesus: Five Holy Tips to Grow Your Social Media Fanbase”

“Five Tips to Build Your Social Media Following”

Which of the two headlines above interests you more? It’s the first one, right?

That’s because it strays away from the generic formula of headlines. It adds curiosity, and curiosity gets the customer.

Jesus is a well-known name in religion, but not in the social media world. Yet, it’s still relevant because they have a connection: building followers or discipleship.

If you’re writing emails about an overused or already-dead topic, spice them up by using uncommon words in your headline. Just make sure you can connect them creatively so you don’t confuse your subscribers.

5. Take it easy with the heavy words

Jargon and unfamiliar words don’t make your headlines smart. Simple words do. If your subscriber can’t understand what those words in your headline mean, then don’t expect them to open your email. They don’t have the time to check their dictionary.

The analogy behind this is simple. When you use simple words, you induce clarity. When your headlines are clear, they’re easier to understand. Easy to understand means higher open rate for you!

6. Include numbers and percentages

Numbers and percentages are proof that what you’re promising is guaranteed to work. They set the right expectations for your offer. Plus, you can’t invent numeric results that easy. With that, people assume these were achieved from well-planned methods that work.

You can use numbers or percentages to describe what exactly they can get from the email. For example, how your subscriber can earn $1000 from freelance writing in just 30 days. Or to indicate a 75% exclusive discount on your products.

Also, a tip: the more specific your included number is, the more convincing it sounds.

7. Check your word count

According to Inc, six to ten words are ideal for a good headline. Beyond that, it’s too long to read. Longer headlines are also cut off in the inbox preview, with the remaining words shown as elliptical dots.

And because most people use their phones to check their emails, more words can get lost in the three-dot wormhole.

Some marketers may argue that lengthy headlines still win people over, but it depends. You can A/B test your headlines to see which works better.

8. Proper grammar is attractive

Nobody’s perfect, but it never hurts to double-check your headline’s grammar and spelling first. Even the wrong use of its and it’s can turn some readers off. You can use grammar checker tools like Gingerly and Grammarly to check any errors you might’ve missed.

First impression counts. Headlines matter!

You don’t have to feel pressure when writing the perfect subject lines for your next emails. Just follow these x tips by heart, and you can expect your open and clickthrough rate soaring higher.

Before we wrap things up, here’s one bonus tip to guarantee your emails get higher open and clickthrough rates:

Conduct a bulk email validation.

You may have appealing subject lines, but if your mailing list is filled with invalid and unqualified email ads, then you’re pretty much throwing your emails in the void.

So before you invest time to crafting the perfect subject line, purge that mailing list clean!