Email Marketing, Tips and Tricks

How to Write Awesome Email Subject Lines that Generate Clicks

Part of your email marketing strategy should be to write better email subject lines. You can have the best email marketing strategy in the world, but it’s useless if no one opens your emails. 

It’s important to master the art of writing awesome email subject lines to accomplish the following goals:

– Increase your email open rates

– Improve your click-through rates (CTRs)

– Drive more traffic to your website

– Potentially increase conversions/ sales.

But, first let’s looks at some interesting stats:

– 35% of recipients open an email based on the email subject line alone

– 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line.

Over a third of your subscribers decide whether they will open your email based on the subject line while almost 70% of consumers mark emails as spam just based on the subject line without even reading it.

Good news is people still want emails. 86% of business professionals say that email is their preferred method of contact.

Try using these psychological triggers to write intent based subject lines that generate clicks.

Generate interest or curiosity

Part of being human is to be curious. Tease your readers slightly to intrigue them about what’s inside the email. Don’t give away all the information in the subject line but enough to get them curious to open that email.

Let’s look at some examples from different industries:

Subject line: What’s the first thing to do in every hotel room? (curiosity)


Notice how the email looks? It’s a newsletter in disguise (genius!). The ‘Read More’ button lands you on a blog titled “Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson Shares the First Thing You Should Do in Every Hotel Room (video)”.

By now my interest was 100% because it was Marriott’s CEO sharing his insights with a video included for easier content consumption. Just brilliant!

Subject line: Did you see that Save?? (curiosity + currently trending)


The FIFA World Cup 2018 was one of the most trending sporting events around the world. While it had the world’s attention, we saw some brands using it to their benefit.

See how the subject line is cashing in on the soccer themed emoji ⚽ including keywords like save and goals within the email. Use this game-changing tactic to kick off your email open rate goals.  

Subject line: Trending goods of the week (curiosity + interest)


This is a great example of a newsletter and offer placements in an email. The subject line gets your attention straight away.

See how the subtle emoji is used to convey the upward trend. You can customise the subject line to suit your business or agency:

  • News of the week
  • Promotions of the week
  • Services of the month
  • Stories of the month

Choose some of the words from the list to generate curiosity and interest in your subject lines.


Create a sense of urgency or scarcity

According to Dr Robert Cialdini, we’re more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. In other words, we are more driven by our fear of missing out (FOMO) than by our desire to gain something.

Give your customers a deadline to do something and create scarcity.

Let’s look at some examples on how to use this tactic in email marketing:

Subject line: 3 months of Premium for $0.99: our sweet deal’s almost gone


These subject lines are great for an offer breakdown. See how they are using the psychological trigger like ‘sweet deal’ upfront in the subject line. Makes you feel that you are losing something valuable thus creating the FOMO effect.

Subject line: Urgent: Do not transfer any points


A little humour goes a long way for your subscribers to remember your brand over others.


Sometimes, stating the obvious works! This is a great example of an attention-grabbing subject line leading to more clicks. Also, the email has a funny side to it which makes it memorable. 

Subject line: 48 hour NZ sale – fly from $189 one way | Make time and memories in South Australia.


You might have seen airlines and hotel industries use these kinds of subject lines more than anyone, simply because it works!

See how they are making optimal use of the subject line real estate by breaking it into two parts:

  • 48 hour NZ sale – fly from $189 one way (offer urgency)
  • Make time and memories in South Australia. (emotional benefits of travel).

Try breaking down your subject lines and mix it up with an offer + a story/video/competition.

Psychologically, these subject lines should make you feel like you need to act immediately but also provide food for thought for something more.

To make things easier here’s a list of words to invoke urgency:


Personalised subject lines

Always aim to create long-term relationships with your customers. Apply personalisation tactics like addressing a person by their name instead of something like “Hey valued subscriber” in the subject line.

Personalised subject lines help create a personal feeling between your customer and your business but also helps achieve:

  1. Increased click-through rates
  2. Improved conversions

Benefits of personalisation:


Establish a personal connection using birthday messages:


Or location-based offers:


Some other ways to establish a personal connection:

– Using transaction history or purchase follow up

– Relationship status based messaging

– Emails based on search history on the website.

Remember you would need to collect data or set up tracking to send the right messages at the right time.

Communicate social proof

Social proofs are one of the most effective psychological concepts. According to Cialdini who popularized this phenomenon, “The greater the number of people who find any idea is correct, the more the idea will be correct.”

The social proof could be the numbers of customer, subscribers or a popular personality or brand using your product.

Let’s look at some examples:

Straightforward proofs:


Use dollar figures: (if applicable)


Statistical proof:


If your business is part of a trust or goodwill driven industry then give ‘social proofs’ subject lines a try. Also, don’t forget to A/B test this subject line tactic with urgency or curiosity subject lines.

Announcements and events

Send business announcements to your subscribers.

Let your customers know that your company is organising an event.


Or if your brand is present at an expo:


Or running a workshop:


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

Create a webinar workshop or an online promotional event:


Or run an online flash sale and invite subscribers to join:


Or send free or discounted tickets and offers:


This strategy goes hand in hand with creating a sense of urgency and curiosity!

Final Thoughts

Emails are an effective way to communicate with your customers and subscribers. Therefore, its importance is if the recipient clicks and opens the email in the first place.

Meet the goals of your campaign by choosing the right subject line.

Try some of the topics that we discussed above in your next email campaigns.

You want to make sure the subject lines generates curiosity, create a sense of urgency with the FOMO effect, personalise the subject lines, promote events, announcements and recent news.

Also, you can use the social proof of concept method to generate clicks.

Don’t forget to A/B test your subject lines to find the best performing subject lines. This could boost your email open rates, improve your CTRs, drive more traffic to your website, and potentially increase your conversions/ sales.

Get more from your email marketing and start free with Vision6.

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