4 Creative email subject lines to boost your open rate

When it comes to monitoring the overall success of your email campaign, one thing you’ll want to keep a vigilant eye on is your open rate.

An email campaign’s open rates can vary greatly and depend on many factors, including the size of your subscription list and the method of collecting email addresses. While monitoring your open rate is only one of the many vital metrics, it is essential because it can provide you with some critical information on how to improve future campaigns.

Before we can talk about improving your email campaign’s open rate, we need to be clear about what an open rate is.

The open rate is a measure of how many individuals on an email list opened a particular email campaign.

The open rate is a measure of how many individuals on an email list opened a particular email campaign.

Image Source: Campaign Monitor

 

Traditionally, an average open rate is a measure of exactly how many email recipients open a given email as compared to the total number of emails that were delivered in that campaign.

Email marketers should consider a healthy open rate to fall in the 20% - 40% range, depending on your industry, and if they are performing better than these figures, your campaigns can be considered well optimized.

If your numbers are performing lower than that range, you’ll want to consider why readers aren’t opening your emails.

One of the first factors email marketers will want to consider is their email’s subject lines. This is because they're the first thing the audience sees, and if the subject line doesn’t draw their attention, they won’t open the email, instead, opting to throw it out.

The difference between open rate and click-to-open rate

While the terms open rate and click-to-open rate may seem similar, they're very different.

A click-to-open rate provides the number of subscribers that not only open your email but click through it. This is a great metric to monitor because it will help you see how your audience is reacting to the content that you're providing them.

The average click-to-open range that an email marketer will want to aim for is between 20% - 30%.

The average click-to-open range that an email marketer will want to aim for is between 20% - 30%.

Image Source: Campaign Monitor

 

 

4 great examples of email subject lines to help boost your open rate

To get an email subscriber to open their email from your brand, there needs to be a subject line that will help draw them in.

People are much less likely to respond to emails with basic headlines such as “In today’s newsletter,” or “Open Now.” Those lines are so generic that readers often see them and move on. You want to entice them to open up, so you need to be creative and create a sense of urgency.

1. Create a sense of fear of missing out: “Tomorrow is too late!”

As human beings, we don’t want to miss out on anything if it can be avoided. So, when it comes to crafting compelling email subject lines, creating a sense of not only urgency but also a fear of missing out, is one way to increase those open rates.

Sure, consumers realize that Cyber Monday is a one day a year scramble to get the items on their shopping list, but once you throw in “you have less than 24 hours” to get what you want, they tend to realize just how short the day can be.

Other examples like, “1 Day,” “less than 24 hours,” show that adding numbers to your email subject line can also help create that sense of urgency that leads to subscribers to opening their email from you, so don’t shy away from adding them when appropriate.

Take this example by Withings. The bold “Tomorrow is too late,” grabs the eye and creates a sense of urgency that inspires consumers to act.

Take this example by Wthings. The bold “Tomorrow is too late,” is not only eye catching, but it creates a sense of urgency that inspires consumers to act.

Image Source: Really Good Emails

2. Call to action: “Wake up!”

Having a call to action in your email subject line is another crafty way to increase your open rates.

They tend to be attention-grabbing, and also provide direction to the readers, making them curious why you are asking or telling them what to do.

Take this email sent to customers by the t2 Tea Company, instructing them to “Wake Up!”

The first thing that is important to note here is that this action isn’t a rude demand. Where some call-to-action subject lines fail because they’re worded in a way that seems off-putting.

For example, take the “Wake Up!” subject line. This could easily be taken from intriguing to obnoxious by simply adding extra punctuation.

Example 1: “Wake Up!”

Example 2: “WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!”

The general reaction to the first tends to be “Okay, why should I wake up?” The reaction to the second is “Why are you screaming at me to wake up?!”

Don’t alienate your clients with obnoxious calls to action and demands. Keep your subject lines intriguing and welcoming. This helps to make the consumer feel comfortable with your brand.

Don’t alienate your clients with obnoxious calls to action and demands. Keep your subject lines intriguing and welcoming.

Image Source: Campaign Monitor

 

3. Personalize it: “Hi, Smiles Davis!”

Personalizing an email subject line to subscribers is another excellent way to increase your average open rate.

Personalization means you are taking the time to either deliver content to their specific needs or getting to know them on a deeper level.

In other words, it helps to open up a more direct line of communication, making your subscribers feel more welcome.

For example, take this email from Brandless.com. It’s clear that they’re not only reaching out to say thanks to their customers, but they’re personalizing their thank you to the example individual “Smiles Davis.”

The email has their name included at the top, then is followed by a one-on-one letter of thanks for allowing Brandless products into their home. This is then followed up with pertinent news and some product suggestions.

Also, note how they made good use of the word “you” instead of “our customers.” This makes the reader feel as if the company is talking to them, not to a list of subscribers.

Seventy-five percent of customers are more likely to spend their money with brands that recognize them by name or who remember their preferences such as their purchase history.

Seventy-five percent of customers are more likely to spend their money with brands that recognize them by name or who remember their preferences such as their purchase history.

Image Source: Really Good Emails

 

4. Incentives go a long way: “20% off your next 5 rides.”

Incentives, incentives, incentives.

Everyone likes a coupon or promo code for products they love. Don’t be afraid to add an inventive to your email subject lines in order to increase your email campaign open rate.

Uber did an excellent job of utilizing incentives with their 20% off email campaign during the Thanksgiving season.

By putting that 20% off incentive right into their email subject line, consumers are going to want to know what they have to do to receive that 20% off, which results in them opening the email and increasing your open rate.

Not only did they personalize the incentive by putting the subscriber’s name in the email, but they go on to recognize a pain point for many: traveling during the holiday season.

Uber did an excellent job of utilizing incentives with their 20% off email campaign during the Thanksgiving season.

Image Source: Really Good Emails

 

Wrap up

When it comes to increasing your email campaign’s open rate, you should focus on getting your subscribers to physically open the email.

Remember, the first thing they’re going to see is that subject line, so you’ll want to keep some of these helpful tips in mind:

  • Use keywords proven to increase open rates

  • Write in title case (if that's fitting for your audience and brand style) 

  • Try to keep subject lines between 3-5 words

  • Personalize

  • Incentivize

  • Give them something to act on

Getting to know your subscribers is vital in this process because only then will you be able to set up email campaigns that cater to their needs.

Once you’ve done that, using services such as our automated email campaigns and list segmentation will help guide you in creating and sending out the most relevant content to your users, helping to increase your open rates significantly.

Ready to dive into marketing automation for your next email campaign? Get started with Emma today.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

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