Email subject lines exist for one reason only.
Whether you’re sending emails to book more sales calls… trying to get people to register for a webinar… or you want to sell more of your products and services — if your email subject lines suck, your email will never get opened.
That’s why today I’m going to show you the simple, free resources I frequent to make sure my email subject lines rock, so yours can too.
The Three Best Email Marketing Blog Posts On The Internet (…Not Including This One)
Writing effective email subject lines isn’t something you need to figure out for yourself. In fact, if you’re trying to figure it out for yourself you’re seriously wasting your time!
If you’ve ever struggled to come up with the perfect email subject line, then wondered why your open rate is so low, chances are you didn’t use one of the 265 proven winners you can find on one of these authority blogs.
Here’s a collection of my favourite, go-to resources for creating awesome email subject lines that compel your readers to open them, read them, and click on stuff.
DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines Of 2016
Digital Marketer is one of the leading digital marketing training companies around.
Their no-fluff style and valuable content makes their blog a must-read for anyone serious about growing the digital marketing side of their business.
In this blog post, the DM crew break down their 101 best-performing email subject lines of 2016 (and also link off to other articles covering their top email subject lines from 2015, 2014 and 2013 too).
What I find most useful in this blog post is the breakdown of the eight components that feature repeatedly throughout the top-performing 101 email subject lines, including:
- Urgency / Scarcity
- Social Proof
Check out the Digital Marketer blog post below for some powerful advice on writing compelling email subject lines:
164 Best Email Subject Lines To Boost Your Email Open Rates (Updated)
Optin Monster have pulled together an excellent (and very long) resource on crafting irresistible email subject lines.
What I like about this is the ease of use, due to the hyperlinked table of contents featured at the start of the blog post. It covers (in detail):
- Introduction: Why You Need Email Subject Lines That Work
- Fear of Missing Out Subject Lines
- Curiosity Subject Lines
- Humor Subject Lines
- Vanity Subject Lines
- Greed Subject Lines
- Sloth Subject Lines
- Pain Point Subject Lines
- Retargeting Subject Lines
- Personal Subject Lines
- Straightforward Subject Lines
- Top Subject Line Keywords
- Conclusion: Some Final Tips for Crafting Irresistible Subject Lines
How To Write Email Subject Lines That Will Increase Your Open Rate By 203%
In this killer blog post, marketing genius Neil Patel covers not only a ton of awesome email subject lines, but also the science and psychology behind how to write email subject lines that will actually increase your email open rate by a verifiable 203% (which is phenomenal).
Far too many business owners focus intently on building their email database without paying proper attention to the maximum efficient use of those emails.
As one Zen monk famously said, “If an email was delivered in the woods, and no-one was there to open it, was it really delivered?”
Ok, so I made that up. But the point should be obvious… if your emails aren’t getting opened, what’s the point of having a huge database?
The answer — there is no point.
So with that in mind, check out Neil’s post and learn how to fix the dreaded low open-rate right now:
EMAIL MARKETING SOFTWARE BONUS: What Is The Best Email Marketing Software?
Now you know how to hack your email marketing to get outstanding results.
The next logical question is, “Which email marketing software should I use?”
I’ve been talking with Gael Breton, Co-Founder of Authority Hacker, and the team over there have put together an outstanding resource that covers the majority of big players in the email marketing software world… including a handy “star rating system” to help you find the best one for you.
If I were just starting out, I’d start with this blog post to make sure I wasn’t spinning my heels, and to avoid investing in the wrong piece of email marketing software.
EMAIL SALES COPY BONUS: Which Type Of Email Should You Actually Send?
I’ve saved the best for last.
Because now I’m going to show you a secret email subject line hack I discovered last year that has had a huge impact on my own email open rates.
If you’re an astute student of digital marketing, you may recognise that the subheading used above falls under the category of “click-bait”.
Click-bait generally gets a bad rap… and with good reason, because on social media it’s seriously irritating.
The sole purpose of click bait is to get you to click. That’s it. And that intensity of purpose is both why it can be so irritating — and why it’s also seriously effective.
Last year I analysed the number of social shares received on Facebook by the top 197 posts with click-bait style headlines.
What I found was SHOCKING.
In fact, it was so shocking you’ll have to see it to believe it.
Turns out there were 15 mind-bending things you can learn from click-bait style headlines, which when used effectively will turn your emails into a goldmine.
(Side note: Can you see what’s going on here? I’m using click-bait style “headlines” in my copy to compel you to keep reading… cool, huh?)
While click-bait on social media is over-used and annoying, it’s GREAT for email subject lines.
…And direct mail headlines,
…And sub-headlines in long-form sales letters,
…And bullet points in all other types of copy.
Here’s 13 of the top-performing click-bait headlines I analysed, along with the number of social shares on Facebook that each post received:
Look at the top post, “Which Decade Do You Actually Belong In?”
When was the last time you wrote a Facebook post that was shared almost THREE MILLION TIMES.
And how could you re-purpose that winning formula into an email subject line?
First you need to remove the “content” and create a fill-in-the-blanks formula.
“Which __________ [do / could / should / would] you __________?”
Here’s a few examples:
- Which type of business should you start?
- Which martial art should you train in?
- Which email marketing tool is right for your business?
- Which decade does your business belong in?
- Which research grant could you apply for?
Notice how versatile the formula is?
It’s simple, fast, and easy to apply the same process to the other 12 subject lines too:
- 15 hilarious __________ that are almost too __________.
- Forget __________ – __________ will turn your __________ into __________.
- 16 things we forget to __________ our __________ for.
- New __________ for __________.
- This might look like a __________, but it’s __________.
- __________ for __________ your __________.
- Incredible __________ from __________ [does something awesome].
- I take my __________ on __________ because __________.
- A __________ is __________ to __________.
- 15+ things every __________ needs in their __________.
- 13 things to __________ when you __________.
- 24 __________ that will make you feel __________ about __________.
There you have it — my top-secret (ok, most of these are publicly available) resources for crafting highly-compelling email subject lines that’ll get your emails opened, read and acted on.
I’ve compiled the 197 top performing clickbait headlines into an excel document, along with the number of shares each headline received.
Every headline also links to the original article containing the headline, so you can see (and potentially model) it for yourself.
At last count, these 197 headlines have generated in excess of 77,964,159 shares on Facebook alone (…yes, that’s just under 78 MILLION shares) so if you can be sure of one thing, it’s that they work.