Email Strategy

The art and science behind sticky subject lines [with 15 examples from our highest clicked emails]

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Choosing a subject line, as trivial as it may seem, has a huge impact on the performance of your email. We know how disappointing it is to put excessive work into writing and designing your emails and they end up in the trash…

We sent out millions of emails for eCom brands over the last 18 months, here’s what we found when it came to crafting subject lines that got clicks.

TYPES OF SUBJECT LINES

Before diving into the subject lines that gave us the highest open rates, it is important to look at the different types of subject lines based on the content of the email. 

This would allow your recipient to get a gist of what to expect and therefore captivate their attention. 

Here are the categories we divided our subject lines on:

CURIOSITY CLUB

Want your subscribers to check out your latest products and best sellers or simply want to drive traffic to your website? 

You need a subject line that compels the reader to open the email. This can be done through personalization of the email subject line, adding humour or by using an exciting or a shocking phrase that is based on the understanding of your audience. 

Here are the curiosity based subject lines used by us that gave us the best results:

1. 🚨 Our latest drop is live! 🚨

Who doesn’t wanna be part of what’s trending? 

Product launch emails get the highest open rates because everyone wants to be the first one to get their hands on the latest offer.

To introduce the spring launch of our client, we made use of a subject line that pointed out what the email is about. 

Notice the use of emojis, capitalisation and exclamation marks? Yeah, that’s the key to whipping up excitement that leads to clicks!

2. Don’t forget these dates! 📆

Could you have guessed that the actual email was about several occasions where the person might be in need of purchasing jewelry such as their wedding anniversary?

We used a subject line where the content of the email was not obvious yet the recipient felt intrigued to open the email because of the assertive choice of words. 

Key takeaway: It is okay to make your subscribers a little nervous as long as it’s not offensive 😉

3. Can you help us, paw-lease? 🐶

This has to be one of our favorite subject lines! Collecting customer data is extremely important to be able to market your products to them effectively and emails are a great way to do that.

We knew that a friendly tone, use of a pun and a cute little emoji was just the way to approach this target audience of dog lovers. 

We used a question as our subject line to instigate curiosity in the recipient hence making them want to open the email. 

Key takeaway: Know your audience…

SURPRISE, SURPRISE

Who doesn’t like discounts and free products!? 

Offering prizes through emails have proven to convert subscribers into first-time buyers and one-time buyers into repeat buyers. Just what you need to bring traffic to your site! 

The only problem is that how would your audience know that a surprise is waiting for them in their inbox? 

THROUGH THE SUBJECT LINE! Obviously…

You need to choose a subject line that is not only clear and concise but also resonates with your target audience. 

Here are some of the surprise based subject lines we tested that performed better than others:

4. Women’s Day Giveaway 💖

We love giveaways!! Getting a chance to win something motivates your audience to engage with your brand and creates brand awareness.

This email was sent to subscribers of a jewelry brand that mainly consists of individuals that are fond of giving presents to their loved ones.  The email was exactly about what the subject line suggests. Therefore, we were able to attract lots of clicks by offering the subscribers a chance to win something that they could gift to someone else on Women’s day. 

Can you tell that the use of a red heart emoji makes the email more noticeable and is also relevant to the subject? 

Key takeaway: It’s all about telling a story that resonates with your audience 🙂

5. 50% off vintage rugs and pillows!

Sometimes offering a sale is all it takes to push your subscribers to take that extra step and turn into buyers…

Don’t be afraid to offer sales on your products every once in a while but make sure you’re sending it to the correct segment.

For example, offering a sale to your subscribers who never engage with your brand may not bring you as much revenue as offering it to your highly engaged subscribers.

Remember, numbers make a huge difference!! Would you rather open an email with the subject ‘Sale on vintage rugs and pillows!’ or with the subject ‘50% off vintage rugs and pillows!’?

The second one, right?…Yeah, that’s what we thought 😉

6. WOOHOO!! It’s free bikini time!

Want your subscribers to buy a certain product or simply want to build brand engagement and loyalty? 

Offering a free product either with a purchase of another product or just by itself is a guaranteed way to convert views into clicks! 

We used a subject line with an enthusiastic tone, capitalisation and exclamation marks to cause excitement in the recipient about opening the email and checking out the free product. 

Key takeaway: Your audience won’t be excited about something that you’re not excited about, your subject line’s gotta match the vibe of your email content!

VALUE VAULT

How to keep ’em coming back for more? 

Only talking about your products and trying to drive purchases may get boring for your subscribers and could result in them leaving your list.

The solution?

Some emails should be focused on offering value to your subscribers rather than trying to sell to them. The primary focus of such emails are to build loyalty and love for your brand. 

Here are some of the highest performing value based subject lines we used to inform the target audience about the usefulness of the email:

7. How to clean your Moroccan rug

This email we sent for our client involved in the rug business was mainly targeted at existing customers since it was directly related to the product offered by the business. 

We used the blog topic as our subject line so that the recipients can immediately tell whether reading the email brings them value and if it does, they will read the email without us having to put extra efforts into the email subject line to get them to open the email. 

Key takeaway: When your email is based on a solution to the potential problems that your customers might be facing, using the problem statement as the subject is enough to get clicks!

8. Hey [first name], Guess what’s trending?

We all want to know the market trends for the products we’re interested in. Just like a sneaker lover would be excited to know what color sneakers are popular, a jewelry lover would want to stay up to date with trends in jewelry styling. 

For an email blog of our client about the popular ways to layer necklaces, we used a subject line that didn’t reveal anything about the email content but the audience were able to tell that it contains useful information. 

Note that the subject includes the recipient’s first name. 

And starting the subject with ‘Hey’ and including a question into your subject line gives it a more conversational tone that motivates your audience to open the email. 

9. Anxiety Management Strategies 🧘

This email was directed at the subscribers of a fitness apparel brand. 

As you can tell, the email content is not related to the products offered by the brand. However, it is still relevant to the target audience who are involved in health and fitness activities. 

Again, using a simple subject line that is based on a problem that your subscribers may be facing is enough to get them to click the email because they find value in it. The emoji is just like an icing on the cake and makes the email more noticeable…

GOING, WENT, GONE

These emails are all about persuading your subscribers to quickly take action. This may be because either:

  • A special offer is about to end or 
  • Because product stock is low and about to run out. 

If you want your audience to take action ASAP, they gotta open their email before it’s too late for them to avail the offer. 

That’s why you need catchy subject lines that will compel the recipient to check the email as soon as they receive it! 

Here are some of the scarcity/urgency based emails that we used to attain high open rates by the subscribers:

10. I don’t want to rush you, but…

‘But…but what??’

That’s what we wanted our client’s subscribers to think as they saw the email. Creating a sense of urgency is an unfailing way to get your audience to open your email because they don’t wanna miss out on something that others are taking advantage of. 

Key takeaway: Do not hesitate to use your subscriber’s fear of missing out as a means to generate clicks!

11. Last chance for a gift at 10% off…

It is worth sending out an email reminder to subscribers who didn’t make use of an offer sent to them before. These reminders are highly effective in convincing your target audience to take action if they are made believe that they would lose out on an incredible offer otherwise. 

We used the words ‘last chance’ in our subject line to make it sound like it was important for the recipient to open the email. Including the actual discount being offered in the subject line further influenced the subscriber’s decision to open the email. 

12. Oh no, they are going away…

Scarcity based emails help to achieve two purposes for our clients. Firstly, it drives purchase for the products low in stock. Secondly, it makes the product appear more valuable in the eyes of  their subscribers. 

These emails can be highly effective in driving engagement if the email subject is chosen carefully! 

We used a subject line that triggered a sense of scarcity in the recipients because of the wording. Notice how we omitted the name of the actual product to spike their curiosity and make them want to find out what they might miss out on! 

Cool…right? 😉

HOLIDAY LOVIN’

Want your subscribers to love your brand? 

Send them an email on each relevant holiday just to remind them that you are celebrating with them.

Trust us, your subscribers will love feeling a part of the community and that’s how to make them stay in your list! 

Here are some examples of holiday based email subject lines that are unique and brought us many clicks:

13. From us to you…

Holiday emails can just be a sweet little message of gratitude for your prospects and customers. This enables your brand to stay on top of their heads, hence making them more likely to engage more with your business. 

However, using email subject lines such as ‘Happy New Year’ or ‘Merry Christmas’ may fail to grab the reader’s attention and get lost in several other holiday emails they may have received.

We used a warm and basic subject line to wish our client’s subscribers a Happy Christmas. That’s how we were able to build brand awareness and loyalty for our client. 

14. We’re still celebrating love…

Holiday emails can be packed with fun surprises such as special offers and discounts! Which means another incredible opportunity for you to drive traffic to your website. 

Sending a follow up holiday email with surprises after the actual big day is a guaranteed way of getting your subscribers delighted. That’s because your engaged subscribers look forward to receiving a reward for their loyalty. 

Just like how our client offered their subscribers a 10% discount on all their jewelry products the day after Valentine’s Day. 

We used a subject line that implies that the brand had something special to offer to its audience. Nothing extraordinary about this subject line and yet it stands out!

15. Start 2021 this way…

This New Year campaign for our client was all about inspiring their subscribers to shop their products as a perfect start to the year. 

The subject line we used was successful in inciting curiosity in the recipients and piquing their interest. This is because it sounds like there could be some useful information in the email about how they could start the year. 

Key takeaway: Subject lines hold the power to trick your subscribers into opening the email even if all you’re doing is promoting your products. So…do not take it for granted!

YOUR TURN…

Subject lines are all about putting together words that are concise and relevant with zero fluff or snooze-worthy lines.

It takes proper understanding of your target audience to come up with subject lines that get clicked and we do just that. 

Drop a comment below to chat with us about choosing impactful subject lines for your emails!

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