7 Secrets of Email Subject Lines That Sell


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The right email subject line can make a big difference in the number of people who open your email. A great email subject line that sells will drive more opens and more clicks.

So, it’s important to make sure you write email subject lines your audience won’t be able to resist clicking.

These copywriting secrets aren’t new. Claude Hopkins used them and David Ogilvy used them, even though neither one of them ever sent an email.

1. Borrow some tips from newspaper headlines

“How”, “What” and “Why” are all compelling ways to start your subject line. We all want to know ‘How a $200 Investment Became a Multi-Million Dollar Company” or “Why Eating More Can Help You Lose Weight.” If there’s an apparent contradiction, or it makes us curious, that’s even better. Yes, it’s old and hokey. Still works though. Just ask Buzzfeed.

2. Use the “secret” words

They’re not really secret, they’re just words that get people to stop and take notice. Words such as “free”, “secrets”, “quick” and “easy.” Everyone likes free stuff, and wants simple, quick solutions to their problems.

3. Use numbers

You can use numbers in two different ways. First, as a list (5 Email Newsletter Essentials).  Second, as an indication of progress or improvement (How I Increased Clicks by 2300%.)

4. Comparisons

Make a comparison to something. This is especially effective if you compare something less known to something well-known or something that seems “wrong”.  For example,  “7 Reasons Why Target Jewelry is Better Than Tiffany’s” or “Why the Blair Witch Project is Scarier Than Nightmare on Elm Street. ”

5.  Commands and challenges

Tell readers to do something, such as “take this test” or “test your skills”  Encourage them to find out how good/smart they are in comparison to everyone else.   Or, challenge them to do something, such as “Can your floor wax stand up to a troop of stampeding cub scouts?”

6. Make a promise

Make a promise that your readers can get something done (especially something that they’ve been struggling with).  Offer to show them how they can “Start a Profitable Business in Just 30 Days” or “Finally, Get Rid of Stubborn Bathroom Mold.”

7. Offer something exclusive or limited

Limited offers and exclusive special deals can be very powerful (that’s why Groupon and w00t work so well).  If there are only a few books, coupons, deals, gadgets available, or they’re only on sale for a limited time, they become much more appealing.