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How to Write Attention-Grabbing Email Subject Lines

by | Dec 28, 2012 | Email Writing | 0 comments

It seems as though email marketing has taken the place of antiquated direct mail advertising practices. And while email marketing is certainly more cost effective than its postage consuming precursor, the mere fact that the majority of businesses now engage in this practice means that consumers are feeling overloaded by crowded email in-boxes.  At the same time, studies show that email marketing does work, at least when it is sent to a targeted audience interested in what you might have to say.

A recent report compiled by Monetate (to whom I will expressly thank for the below graphic) shows that effective email marketing has the ability to convert a lead better than social media platforms and SEO combined.  In my opinion, that is incredibly powerful!  Take a look at the findings:


Experts agree that the best online marketing strategy encompasses a good combination of all three platforms (just in case you were about to scrap your social media and SEO efforts in favor of email marketing alone).  However, in order to get the most out of your email marketing strategy, you have to think about more than just what you are writing in the body of the message.

At Grammar Chic, Inc., we have countless customers who approach us for help crafting the best and most direct email marketing message.  And it’s true, what you say in the message itself does count.  But what about that first line of copy that captures the attention of the reader?  No, I’m not talking about the email introduction or the headline that a person sees when the email is open; I’m talking about the email subject line.

Improve the Open Rate of Your Marketing Emails and Clinch New Sales

This can indeed seem like a daunting task.  After all, you only have a line of text available to get someone’s attention.  If you feel overwhelmed by this fact, read on to learn about some great email subject lines that will guarantee your targeted audience opens your email.

1.)  Subjects that Offer Contrary Advice

This particular subject line works really well if the audience happens to encompass members of the business community.  Ultimately, the use of a contrarian title makes a reader begin to think about what you actually mean and they end up opening your email specifically to find out if they guessed what you were talking about.

Example: Your Clients Have No Idea What They Want:  Effective Research Shows Correct Market Trends and Foregoes Collecting Customer Opinions

2.)  A Creative Thought that Doesn’t Really Fit Together

In a sense, this could involve the use of sarcasm.  When used correctly, this style of writing can be humorous, invoke curiosity and inspire action.  But remember, if you use it in the subject line, the body of the text has to back it up.

Example: Accomplish All Your Dreams without Leaving Your House

3.)  Say Something Controversial

Ultimately, controversy will always be an effective marketing tool.  This is why the National Enquirer and other celebrity tabloids will always fly off the shelves.  A reader always wants to learn a secret or be privy to salacious information.  As an email marketer, you can use this desire to sell your product or service.

Example: What Facebook Doesn’t Want You to Know About Paid Ads

4.)  Shock and Awe

Shock will always be one of the most intense emotions a human can experience, for better or worse.  Shocking information sells and, just like the breaking news ticker that scrolls along the bottom of the TV screen, this type of subject line should be timely.  After all, how many times have you paused what you are doing specifically to check out what a shocking headline was about, either on TV or the Internet?  The same can be said about email.

Example: Warren Buffett Explains Why Your Business Is Going to Get Crushed in 2013

5.)  Reference the World of Pop Culture

As much as many of us may hate to admit it, there is a reason why people like the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan attract our attention.  While it may be a form of mediocre entertainment, most people have a hard time turning their attention away from pop culture references.  This is because, for good or bad, pop culture icons satisfy our curiosity as well as allow us to feel good about our choices (because of their bad ones).  A pop culture reference in an email subject line can be pure gold.

Example: What Not to Do:  Kim Kardashian’s Guide to Bad Business

In closing, there are some rules to follow when writing email subject lines.

  • Make it useful; promise valuable information to the reader.
  • Ensure that there is a sense of urgency; it must inspire the reader to open the email right now.
  • Create a unique message; ensure the email is something that is compelling and creative.
  • Provide specifics; always make sure that the message shows how the reader will benefit from the information.

Remember, your targeted audience is not simply standing by, waiting to hear from you.  When you do happen to have an email in their in-box, you have to give them a reason to open your message and read what you have to say.  Therefore, be strategic about how you reel them in.  If you are looking for help crafting the ideal email subject line in addition to penning your message, contact the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. today.  Visit us at grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444 and learn about how we can help you improve your email marketing efforts!