3 Subject Line Tips for Email Marketing Success

Increase the open-rates of your emails using these powerful subject line tips

Updated on November 4, 2019

Think about your email inbox.

If you're like most people, it's flooded with emails that don't bring any value to you and you can't click the "unsubscribe" button fast enough. Your prospect is likely in the same situation; the last thing you want is to be grouped in with the gym they wish they never gave their email to and have your email thrown in the trash.

Email marketers have it tough

Whether you're setting up email marketing campaigns for a business or are a sales person trying to connect with a prospect, email subject lines matter. Prospecting for new business is often the most challenging part of the sales funnel. You may have the perfect pitch prepared but never have the opportunity to make it because your email wasn't even opened.

This is why subject lines are so important. An enticing email subject line will not only increase your open-rates, but will also start your relationship with the lead, and hopefully a long, mutually beneficial one.

Here are Toofr's three tips to help you master the art of writing subject lines.

1. Ask a question directly related to their pain, not yours


Your lead or prospect made it to your sales funnel for a reason - your product or service can help them. Ask a question in the subject line that your prospects are already asking themselves and that you have the solution to. This is an effective way to immediately grab their attention and have your email opened.

Good Examples:
  • "Are you spending too much on targeted email lists?"
  • "Is your marketing software too expensive?"
Bad Examples:
  • "Got a few mins?"
  • "Can I tell you about my new product?"

2. Personalize

In Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People he states, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language." In fact, according to a Yes Lifestyle Marketing study, incorporating personalization into your subject lines, like adding your prospect's first name or company name, increases open rates by 50%.

There are many ways to personalize an email subject line. First, be sure to use the data you have. If you know their name, company name, favorite sports team or recent accolades (promotion or award), play with different ways to include it in the subject line. Many people will post about topics they are interested in or their own written work on their LinkedIn profile. Mentioning something your lead wrote or worked on allows you to instantly connect with them and makes them curious since it directly ties to something that is a reflection of them.

Example: One prospect wrote an article about a new Pop-Tart flavored beer (found by searching their name and "author"). The email subject line used was "Uh Pop-Tart Beer?" and the body opened with a takeaway from the article and mutual love of beer. This email received not only an immediate open, but also a response from the prospect and comment stating that it was the best subject line he's ever seen because he could not resist opening it.

  • When using someone's first name in the subject line, it's best to add it through the relevant merge tags to avoid being marked as spam.

3. Add value


Remember, at the prospecting stage in the sales funnel (and every stage for that matter) it's not about you, but all about your prospect! Anyone with an email address is bombarded by information every day and it takes relevant, useful content to stand out in someone's mind and actually bring value to them.

Conveying value in the subject line ensures that when your prospect receives your email, they know what's waiting for them inside is worthy of that extra click. If there's a succinct tip or stat (that's true and honest) then use it! Your reader will get the most value from the body of your email, but that preview or tip in the subject line can go a long way in making your email stand out.

Subject line example:

  • "Improve email response rates by 20% with these 3 tips"
Body type examples:
  • Offer relevant tips
  • Provide success stories, case studies or notable people/businesses using your product
  • Offer a discount or preview

Provide real insights that don't just support your offer or CTA. It's okay if prospects find value in your emails and don't buy your product the first time. They will be excited to open your emails for the content in the future, effectively making it easier to convert them to a customer in the long run.

Subject line quick tips for when in doubt or in a hurry:

Once your email is opened, the hardest part is over! Use your creativity to apply the 3 strategies above and then test, test, test! You will be well on your way to raising your open-rates and increasing your subscribers, sales or client base!

About the author: Tara Caguiat is a marketing professional with a passion for blogging, travel and yoga. She frequently writes for SarasotaYogaCollective.com and her personal blog, SheNeedsLess.com.

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