If you’re operating a website or business, I’m sure you’re using email marketing tactics to communicate with your customers.

Are you having success?

Here’s the problem.

You can have the best email campaign in the world, but it’s useless if your customer never opens your messages.

Getting the consumer to click your email is half the battle.

It all comes down to the subject line.

Don’t think subject lines are important?

Think again.

Let’s look at some statistics about the importance of email subject lines.


What do these numbers tell you?

Over a third of your subscribers decide whether or not they will open your message based on the subject.

Nearly 70% of consumers mark messages as spam just based on the subject line.

That’s right.

Your message could be marked as spam before your customer even reads it.

People want emails.

86% of business professionals say that email is their preferred method of contact.

I’ll show you how your subject line can impact your marketing campaigns.

If you want to increase opens, clicks, and conversions, you’ll need to master the process of creating a perfect subject line.

These are the top 10 types of email subject lines that generate clicks.

1. Subjects that generate curiosity

It’s human nature for people to be curious.

You can create subject lines that peak some interest from your subscribers.

Don’t give away all of the information in the subject line.

Just give a little bit of a tease.

Here’s an example from Quick Sprout.

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The title generates curiosity and would make a great subject line.

Think of it like this.

Let’s say you want to email your subscribers a link to your most recent blog about a similar topic.

If the subject line says, “Women Are More Active on Social Media Than Men,” your recipients have no reason to click on the email.


They already know the answer.

You gave it all away with the subject.

Instead, just tease what’s inside the message to generate a higher open rate.

Let’s take this one step further.

Now that they’ve opened the email, you want to improve your click-through rates.

Continue to stimulate curiosity within the body of your message.

Let’s continue using the same example.

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Include the introduction to your blog post in the email.

Notice how the reader still doesn’t know who is more active on social media?

We still haven’t given up that answer.

By now your subscribers are committed.

First, they received the email.

Next, they clicked to find the answer based on your subject line.

Now, they’ve read the email and still don’t know the answer.

Your readers are curious.

The next logical step in this process is for the subscribers to click on the link to your blog.

By stimulating curiosity with the subject line, you’ve accomplished a few things.

  • Increase your open rate
  • Improve your click-through rate
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Potentially increase conversions

You want to try and capture peak curiosity.

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It will keep your subscribers guessing and on their toes.

Use this marketing tactic to your advantage and apply the concept to your email subject lines.

2. Subjects that communicate urgency or scarcity

Email subject lines that create a sense of urgency can generate a 22% higher open rate.

So how do you accomplish this?

Give your readers a deadline to do something.

You can even set the deadline in just a few hours.

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Williams Sonoma used this technique in the example above.

The subject line creates a sense of urgency, and the body of the message entices a perfect call-to-action.


Also known as the “fear of missing out.”

Act now, or miss out on the deal.

FOMO is especially prevalent on social media platforms.

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With that said, it’s still an effective method to incorporate into your email campaigns.

Here’s another way to create urgency.

Try to include the word “tomorrow” in your subject lines.


Subjects including the word “tomorrow” boosted open rates by 10%.

Here’s the key.

You want to write subject lines that are important and urgent.

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The graphic above is actually a time management model by Army General and former US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

You can apply the same concept as a marketing method.

Subjects that are both important and urgent will generate more clicks from your subscribers.

In addition to urgency, you can also create scarcity in your subject lines.

Have you seen this done before?

Airlines and hotels do this all the time.

“Only 4 seats left on this flight.”

“3 rooms left for these dates.”

Psychologically, it makes you feel like you need to act immediately.

Here’s an example from an e-commerce website.

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Sperry created scarcity with these boat shoes.

Do the same thing with your subject line.

“Limited quantity remaining.”

Scarcity and urgency go hand in hand when it comes to email marketing methods.

Try it out with your next campaign.

3. Subjects that include free offers

Send free offers and promotions to your email subscribers.

It will keep your customers happy.

Freebies also give your customers a reason to open and click through your messages.

Sometimes businesses may hesitate to use the word “free” in a subject line.


They fear that inboxes will consider it spam, and the subscribers will never see the message.

However, this is not the case.

The evidence doesn’t support that theory.

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Look at the data from the graphic above.

The inbox placement for subject lines that include the word “free” was nearly identical to those that did not.

So go ahead.

Add “free” to your email subjects without hesitation.

You can even say, “FREE” in all capital letters.

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It won’t go to the recipient’s spam folder.

Instead, it will catch their attention and generate clicks.

Giving away items can also encourage your customers to purchase other things on your website.

Promotions are a great way to retain customers and improve customer service.

Amazing customer service can help you double your revenue.

Aside from generating clicks and opens, here’s another reason why you should give away free stuff via email.

Email marketing is inexpensive.

It also generates a high return on investment.

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Look at these numbers.

The average return for every dollar spent on an email marketing campaign is over $44.

You can expect a 4,300% return.

With such a high percentage, it’s OK to give some stuff away for free.

You’ll make up for it with the additional sales from a potential lifelong customer.

Based on the graphic above, 66% of consumers make purchases based on an email marketing message.

Give stuff away for free and don’t be afraid to let your customers known about it in your subject line.

It’s highly effective and worth the investment.

4. Subjects that are personalized

You should always be personal with your customers.

It creates trust and can help you establish a long-term relationship.

Apply personalization tactics to your email subject lines.


Let’s take a look at how being personal can impact your emails.

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It accomplishes two important things.

  1. Increases click-through rates
  2. Improves conversions

As a marketer, you need to constantly try and improve in both of these areas.

Incorporating personalization into your email subject lines is too easy.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be doing it.

Do not put something like “Hey, valued subscriber” in the subject line.

Instead, address the person by their name.

Here are some additional benefits of personalization.

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Aside from using the person’s name, there are other ways you can personally connect with your customers through a subject line.

Here are some examples.

  • Transaction history
  • Birthday
  • Location
  • Relationship status
  • Browsing history

Use a recent purchase to follow up with your customers.

Your customer will realize that the message was personal to their experience instead of just a mass message to all customers.

Send your subscribers messages on their birthday.

Earlier we just discussed the benefits of giving away items for free.

Birthdays are the perfect time to do this.

Based on your subscribers’ location you can send them relative information.

Here’s an example.

If you sell clothing, send your customers emails about winter coats in December if they live in New York City.

That’s not a relevant email to your customers who live in Southern California, so it’s important to segment your customers by location.

If their account on your website is linked to their Facebook page, you can use information like their relationship status to your advantage.

Emails subjects that entice a single guy may not have the same effect on a married woman.

When they are logged into an account on your website, you can track what they’re searching for.

Send emails based on their search history.

Here’s some additional data about the information that marketers collect about their customers.

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You may not use the majority of these.

In fact, some of these are probably not appropriate for you to use in a subject line.

With that said, there’s still some valuable information on the graphic.

You can see the percentages for some of the topics we covered.

All of those help create a personal feeling between your customer and your business.

Ultimately, it will impact the clicks on your emails.

5. Subject lines that highlight recent news topics

People want to receive breaking news.

So give them what they want.

Now, it’s important to remain relevant.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say you own a local dry cleaning business.

Sending your customers a breaking news story about the increased price of coffee beans from a country in South America is not effective.

However, you can still get creative and relate certain topics to your industry.

You could include a breaking news story about a new coffee shop opening up in town, and tell customers how you get coffee stains out of their clothing.

Think outside of the box and be creative.

Nearly 40% of Americans get their news from online resources.

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It’s the second most popular source behind television.

Only 5% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 get their news from printed newspapers.

With news trends moving digital, it makes sense for your email campaigns to capture this part of the market.

Consider putting the words “breaking news” in your subject line to increase your opens and clicks.

6. Subjects that communicate social proof of concept

Social proof is a psychological concept.

The idea is simple.

If others are doing something, it must be right.

Here’s an example from Smart Passive Income.

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They are using this technique on their homepage to add subscribers.

But you can apply the same concept to an email subject line.

Let’s say that a customer buys something from your website, but hasn’t subscribed to your newsletter list.

You can send them an email saying how many people currently subscribe to the newsletter.

If the numbers are impressive, it can entice your customer to join the list as well.

Use the social proof in your subject line.

Celebrities can help you create social proof as well.

If you see someone famous using your product or service, email your customers.

Include the celebrity’s name in the subject with a quick tease about what happened.

SAXX Underwear does this with NBA superstar Kevin Love.

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This example is directly on their website, but they can send email subjects with a similar tone.

They may use phrasing like:

  • “Kevin Love wears our bathing suits.”
  • “Perform like a pro. Shop our Kevin Love collection.”
  • “NBA superstar Kevin Love, spotted wearing SAXX gear after a game.”

Subscribers think, OK, if NBA players are wearing these clothes then they must be high quality.

7. Subjects with a story tease

Everyone loves a good story.

Storytelling accomplishes some of the things that we’ve already discussed.

Stories can help you:

  • Generate curiosity
  • Create a personal connection

Obviously, you can’t tell an entire story with just a subject line.

But you can definitely tease and introduce a story.

Stories can help stimulation emotions.

Emotions drive sales.

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Not sure what story to tell?

Start with your story.

Create an email subject line about something you’ve done or accomplished.

Like this:

“How I created ‘123’ using ‘XYZ’ in 30 days.”

Remember what we did earlier to stimulate curiosity?

We only gave the introduction to a blog post in the body of the email.

You can do the same thing when telling a story.

First, capture the attention of your subscribers with a catchy subject line about your story.

Next, only include the first few lines or paragraph in the email.

Make them visit your website or blog to read your story in its entirety.

Businesses use storytelling as a content marketing strategy.

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Over 60% of B2B marketing experts found that storytelling was effective.

With such a high success rate, it’s worth giving a try.

Incorporate a story into your next email subject line and see if it works well for you.

8. Subjects with retargeting campaigns

Are you tracking the conversion rates for your shopping carts?

How do you handle abandoned carts?

If you don’t have an answer to these questions, you can use an email subject line to help drive sales and improve abandoned shopping cart rates.

For those of you that are not tracking how many customers add items to a cart on your website but never finalize the purchase, you may be surprised to hear how common it is.

Here are the numbers.

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In 2016 over three-quarters of shoppers added something to a cart and didn’t purchase it.

Those numbers are even higher if they were shopping on a tablet or mobile phone.

Why are shoppers doing this?

Here are some reasons:

  • Unexpected costs for tax and shipping
  • Need to create an account to finalize the purchase
  • Concerned about online credit card security
  • Long and confusing process to checkout
  • No coupon codes available

If your customers are frequently abandoning items in their shopping cart, you need to take action.

Email your customers.

Identify some of the reasons they may have decided to change their mind.

Give them free shipping.

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That’s what Huckberry did with this email campaign.

Tell your customer exactly what you’re offering in the subject line.

Finish checking out and get free shipping.

The consumer was obviously interested in the product enough to shop and add it to their cart.

Sending this email may be the motivation they need to finalize the purchase.

9. Subject lines that include announcements and events

Send your subscribers business announcements.

If your company will be present at some sort of expo or another event, let your customers know.

Invite them to join you and send free or discounted tickets.

Try an email subject line like…

“Here’s 2 FREE Tickets. You’re invited to join us.”

It will intrigue the reader to click the email and take advantage of your offer.

You don’t need a physical event to do this either.

Create online promotional events.

Like this.

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Just make sure you announce the event in your subject line.

Again, we’ll also incorporate some of the strategies that we discussed earlier.

  • Stimulate curiosity
  • Create a sense of urgency

It’s an effective way to encourage clicks on your email campaigns.

10. Subject lines with your authority and expertise

Let your authority shine.

If you’ve accomplished something, let your readers know.

Earlier we discussed the benefits of creating social proof of concept with celebrities and large groups of people.

You can do this with your authority in a specific industry as well.

I do it all the time.

Here’s an example from my website.

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I’ve started successful and unsuccessful businesses.

My experience makes me an expert and an authority figure in the industry.

So I share this knowledge with my subscribers.

You can do the same thing.

If you’re not an expert, find someone who is.

Consider using a doctor or a lawyer to back up your points.

It validates your company.

The example above would make a great email subject line.


Emails are an effective way to communicate with your customers and subscribers.

But they can only have an impact if the recipient clicks and opens the message.

Choosing the right subject line can help you meet the goals of your campaign.

If you don’t know where to start, try some of the topics that we discussed above.

You want to make sure the subject lines stimulate emotions.

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Generate curiosity.

Tease your customer with the subject line and give them the rest of the information once they open up the message.

You can take that one step further and force them to click a link to your website to finish reading the teased introduction and headline.

Tell stories.

Create a sense of urgency with your subject lines.

Act now or miss out on a deal.


There are limited quantities remaining.

Personalize the subject lines and give your customers free stuff.

Personalization establishes a connection with the consumer.

Plus, everyone wants something for free.

Email campaigns are inexpensive and yield a high ROI, so you can afford to give away some products a discounted rate.

Promote events, announcements, and recent news with your email subject lines.

You can also use the social proof of concept method to generate clicks.

Target abandoned shopping carts and remind subscribers about your expertise.