30 Successful Bloggers Share Their Best Converting Email Subject Line and the Top #3 Lessons They’ve Learned

Have you ever felt that although you’ve got a decent number of subscribers, you still have an incredible low email open rate?

You’re probably getting confused… not sure what exactly is missing or what you are doing wrong.

Perhaps you’ve read a ton of articles about how to create high-converting email subject lines and felt that you’ve received only general information… and you want somebody to tell you exactly how to do it right.

Did you ever feel a compelling desire to talk with the best Internet/E-mail Marketers in the cyberspace and grill them about their email subject line secrets?

We’ve done the hard work for you.

I asked 30 of some of the most experienced bloggers in today’s times (which I know and admire) this question..

What is your best converting email subject line and the top #3 lessons you have learned testing multiple subject lines.

We received some wonderful insights that we are happy to share with you.

Enjoy and hope you’ll be inspired and stimulated to create your own high converting subject lines!

Tim-SouloTim Soulo

BloggerJet.com // @Twitter

~ Marketer ; Check my personal blog at

I’m afraid there’s no such thing as a “best converting email subject line”.

Well, at least this is a very broad question and needs some context.

Who are you sending an email to?

– Influencers?
– Your own email subscribers?
– A “cold” list that you’ve purchased from someone?

Every case is different. And there’s no single subject line that would work everywhere.

But here are some lessons I’ve learned:

#1 Write the kind of email subject that you would use to email your friend.

Just think about it.

How would you email your friend? What subject would you use?

“Important Information About The Coat That You Have Left At My House”

or

“your coat”

I think the answer is obvious.

You would use a short and very descriptive email subject in lowercase letters.

So why don’t you email other people like that?

#2 Make it as personal, as possible.

I have an article on my blog, where I talk about sending an outreach email to Rand Fishkin.

To make sure my email would not go to trash I used a subject line that would immediately hint him that this email is personalised. That it’s not just a template that I’m sending to 99 more people.

So whenever you’re trying to reach influential people – try to be as personalised as possible. They get hundreds of “templated” email outreach emails daily and I’m sure most of them don’t even get opened.

#3 Can’t make it personal? Make it relevant!

When reaching out to influencers it’s always better to refrain from mass mail and follow the personalised approach.

But when sending an email update to your own list of subscribers, you can’t get personal with each of them.

So you should at least try to make it relevant for them.

– Who are your subscribers?
– Why did they join your email list in the first place?
– What are they expecting from you?
– What are their pain points?
– How can you be valuable to them?

Once you answer all this questions – you’ll be able to come up with great subject lines that would easily hook them.

Tor-RefslandTor Refsland

TimeManagementChef.com // @Twitter

~ I decided to leave my six-figure job in order to follow my passion.

You are probably not testing your subject line in your emails…

because you are uncomfortable.

Nah, who are we kidding?

You are AFRAID!

What if people WON`T open your emails, or even WORSE…

unsubscribe (yeah, I said it).

You want to know a funny thing?

You have to make sacrifices in the short-term in order to get long-term reward.

Yeah, while your are in testing mode some people might not open your emails and some people might even unsubscribe.

So what?

Too bad for them. They weren`t a part of your tribe after all.

And you want to know a secret?

If you scared them off by testing a subject line, they would probably never become one of your raving fans anyway.

The good thing?

If you were to test subject lines on your emails and managed to increase open rate with 10%, that could have major impact for your business. Let`s say that you have a 1% conversion rate on your sales emails (just for the sake of simplicity).

In the future when you have 100 000 subscribers, 10% increased open rate will mean 10 000 MORE people opened your email.

10 000 more people opening your email with 1% conversion rate is…

100 more sales!

If you sold a $100 product that would result in $10 000 more in sales!

Have those numbers in mind the next time you are afraid to test out your subject lines.

My best subject line so far is: “I got a surprise for you…”

Here are my 3 lessons I`ve learned from testing multiple subject lines:

– What you think might work, most likely won`t work (and the other way around)
– You have to detach your emotions when you are testing
– The only way to improve conversion is to test, test and test”

Andy CrestodinaAndy Crestodina

OrbitMedia.com // @Twitter

~ Web strategist and co-founder of Orbit Media (). Speaker, content marketer, environmentalist and author

My top performing subject line in the last three years was this…

How To Improve Your Google Rankings In 5 Minutes

A very close second was this headline…

131 Words That Increase Website Traffic

and the top #3 lessons you’ve learned testing multiple subject lines

After eight years of email marketing, here are a few lessons I’ve learning about writing subjects lines:

1. Prescriptive headlines work best

If the subscriber sees that there is some specific benefit, that they will be able to take and apply as if it was a prescription, they’ll be far more likely to click.

For the subscriber, it’s all about ROI. They want to know what return (practical information) they’ll get for their investment (2 minutes of their time).

2. They don’t have to be the same as the article headline

A “headline” can be many things, a subject line, a title tag, header text, a social media post, etc. So headlines can (and should) be tailored to their purpose.

You don’t want the reader to lose the “information scent” so don’t change them too much, but it usually makes sense to change them to suit the purpose.

Subject lines have nothing to do with search engine rankings, so drop the keywords and focus on psychology.

3. The subject line is the first link in a long chain

And that chain may have other weak links. The purpose of the subject is to get the open… Once opened, the purpose of the teaser text in the email is to get the click…

Once clicked, the purpose of the headline on the landing page is the get the reader to move down the page…

The best subject line in the world won’t help you if you have a weak link farther down the chain. Follow the path through to the end, finding and eliminating any friction or confusion.

Ashley FaulkesAshley Faulkes

Madlemmings.com // @Twitter

~ Creating websites that get you customers. That’s right, I don’t just make stunning websites. SEO, Content, WordPress are friends!. 

The best subject line I have used was based on a popular blog post on Mad Lemmings (my bog). The subject line was:

Multiply Your Email Subscribers Like Rabbits (with this simple trick)

I have tried a variety of subject lines in weekly blog emails, and also in email campaigns and this was one of the best.

What did I learn from this email subject?

1. I find that something surprising or humorous tends to get attention when people have so many boring emails coming into their inbox every day. Sure, my humor is a bit strange, but would you open an email that involved rabbits? Most people did.

2. Another thing that I think gets people to open an email is the promise of something useful or actionable. And this subject line delivers on both of those. It tells the reader that they could increase their email list fast (like rabbits).

Worth opening, right?

3. The last lesson I learned from this email was that adding a small extra bit at the end (in this case – “with one simple trick”) can have a huge effect.

After getting the reader’s attention with humor, telling them what they will learn, I finish by telling them it is done with just a simple trick. Too good to turn down!

Of course, it is never as simple as copying what has worked from someone else and repeating it.

You have to take the lessons above and try them on your audience and with your content and see if it works. It might not. So keep testing, and learning from what kinds of things people react to.

Chris KarasiewiczChris Karasiewic

ChristiankOnline.com / @ Twitter

~ Social Media and Facebook Marketing pro. Social Business Manager . Founder of

Anything with a sense of urgency. Download now, free online course and so forth.

When testing multiple subject lines, I can’t stress enough how important it is to test different variations.

Typically, subject lines that focus on highlighting a problem and a solution perform very well so don’t overlook those.

When testing different subject lines, I also find that a simple subject line performs best.

If you have figures such as “10 Ways…” or “How X company increased their traffic by 20x…,” those also tend to be well-received.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to keep testing. If you find you get a better open-rate from one email to another, review your emails regularly and keep working that angle until it doesn’t work anymore.

And if you really want more information, reach out to some of the people on your email list and ask them why they opened your email.

This will help give you additional insight into the email subject lines you should keep using and why.

Barry FBarry Fenning

LCN.com // @Twitter

~ As marketing director I shape and evolve the LCN.com marketing strategy to help introduce new customers to a brand I am extremely proud of.

Breaking through the noise within the inbox has become a huge challenge over the past few years due to the massive amount of information we’re presented with as individuals.

We’re exposed to hundreds of posts from friends, groups, brands, communities, etc. on various social networks, as well as the usual plethora of advertisements we’re seeing on more traditional mediums each day.

Although each newsletter and email announcement we send to our customers is highly targeted, we have seen considerable success when using relevant emojis within subject lines.

I use the term “relevant” as the use of emojis has to be appropriate to both the audience and the message you’re communicating.

We’ve achieved considerably higher open rates when taking this approach, and increased CTRs when the theme of the newsletter is consistent to that of the subject line (including design elements relevant to the type of images used within the subject line).

Optimised preview text is another specific area of email marketing where we’ve seen considerable success when testing multiple subject lines.

The preview text needs to a draw readers’ attention to key points of a message and has helped us to greatly increase our open rates.

Used in conjunction with short and eye-catching subject lines, well-structured preview text can offer considerable value to the reader.

Chris LeeChris Lee

RankXL.com

~ I’ve been making a full-time income with niche sites since 2013. 

My best converting email subject line was “Uh oh… I almost forgot to send this to you.” It was for an outreach campaign for one of my sites, essentially asking for a share for a piece of content… and it worked surprisingly well.

Three lessons I learned from testing subject lines:

1. Using unconventional words, and “keeping it casual” is a lot more effective than being professional.

You want someone to share a piece of content? Using a subject line like “You have to see this…” works better for me than something like “Here’s something you can share with your audience.”

2. If you know their name, just a simple “Hey name” in the subject line works very well. If anyone emails me with the subject line “Hey Chris” I’m usually opening it everytime.

Spammers usually don’t email me with a subject line like that. Only people who know me do.

3. A subject line in all lower case letters doesn’t improve open rates. At least for my tests it didn’t.

My test size was small, but it actually led to a decrease in open rates. This isn’t a do-or die piece of advice, but still noteworthy as I see a lot of people talking about it these days.

Chris-MakaraChris Makara

ChrisMakara.com // @Twitter

~ Interactive Marketing & Digital Strategist. Skilled in , & .

It’s no secret that subject lines have the biggest impact on setting the foundation for a successful email campaign. With everyone’s inbox jammed packed of new emails, it’s important to get the most out of your subject line.

On a recent outreach campaign, I used the subject line “Quick Question About Social Media Management” and it received an excellent reply rate.

In this initiative, I was not after a sale but instead looking for participants in an expert round up.

The reason this worked so well is that it let the person know exactly what the message entailed as well as the brevity of it. They knew it was going to be quick (which it was) and also knew exactly what it was going to be about.

When they opened the email, it delivered on exactly what the subject line had promised. I had no problems getting over 100 experts to respond.

Through the years, I have learned many things through testing subject lines. My top 3 lessons learned (and still learning) are:

1. Be direct

There’s no sense fluffing up your subject lines with extra text or try to get too creative. You need to get to the point.

So I have found it best to remove as much irrelevant text as I can in order to provide a direct, concise message.

2. Be timely

Some of the best results have come from sending the right message at the right time. While this doesn’t necessarily have to do with the subject line, the subject line can enhance/introduce the timeliness aspect of the message and generate more opens.

3. Be consistent

No one likes to feel like they have been duped. Therefore, your subject line should reflect what the email will contain.

Don’t write subject lines that don’t line up with the content just to generate higher open rates.

What good is a high open rate if no one is going to take action on the content inside the email?

Colin KlinkertColin Klinkert

Serped.com // @Twitter

~ Full-time online business owner, investor, marketer and entrepreneur.

I will be honest with you… These are not my best converting email subject lines (got a couple I know only work well with my type of list), but they are nonetheless very good ones that helped me generate a lot of traffic and make a lot of sales.

Important note, these were sent to different lists of mine, for different reasons. Some of my lists are more active than the ones used below, so you need to do your own testing, but the ones I chose to show you are ones that can work in most niches.

A subject line as simple as “This is Hard to Believe…” (13.85% open rate) can be very effective.

Of course, you can’t use this subject line in all situations, but if you can, you should give it a try.

It’s hard for most people to resist. What’s hard to believe? A lot of people are naturally curious.

Another good one is “Please keep this to yourself…” (13.43%) What’s the secret? Even if it’s something people don’t care about, a lot of them would at least want to know what it is, and open the email… A decent alternative is: “This must be kept a secret…” (10.87%).

Descriptive subject lines can also be very effective: like “How to Build … in 30 Minutes or Less” (28.14%) and “Why … Matter & How to Get More” (23.92%). I also like to use scarcity: “Last Chance (Seriously)…” (35.50%), “Closing…” (20.32%) but then again it depends on the situation.

Sometimes funny subject lines work quite well, like “Bigger Than Kim Kardashian’s… ;)” (13.56%). As you can see from above, Scarcity types really work (over 35% and over 20% open rates on a big list is quite good).

I would say that most of my best converting subject lines are quite short. I’ve become a big fan of short subject lines… The kind of subject lines that go straight to the point and have just one goal: make the recipient open the email.

Using the subject line as an introduction to the email is nice, but it doesn’t guarantee a high open rate. The best ones are often the ones that create interest. Talk about secrets, good (or bad) news, etc.

Things that make people think: what is this?

Finally, I would say that it’s quite important to think outside the box. People receive so many emails every day… You need to be creative.

Easier said than done, but if your subject lines are boring, people will never open your emails, which would then turn into a big waste of time (and money).

You should always dedicate some time to the subject line every time you draft an email.

Dennis SeymourDennis Seymour

LeapFroggr.com // @Twitter

~ Full Stack SEO | Digital Marketer | Born | Co-Founder. I also blog at

I got the best open rates from these 3 techniques.

1. Anything that’s Relevant and FREE

Eg. Test out our Free Schema Plugin

I test 3 subject lines per send out and using the Free method worked significantly better.

2. The Promise of Something Quick – Instant Gratification

Eg. Ain’t No Joke – Just a Quick Promo Tip

I promised something quick and it got opened immediately. Out performed other “tip” related titles I sent out.

3. Being Personal and Making Them Expect Something

Eg. I’ve always wanted an SEO Checklist…

Expectation is a powerful thing when harnessed correctly. This was a simple test. I pitted it against a title based on the Relevant and Free technique and this version performed equally.

Other lessons:

  • Longer subject lines should start with something intriguing or it will not work at all.
  • Questions are a hit or miss. Make it intriguing and not sound like a robot.
  • Using symbols do increase the open rates but never overdo it.

Dustin W. StoutDustin W. Stout

Dustn.tv // @Twitter

~ Social Media Consultant, Speaker, Designer, Blogger. CMO , co-founder , blogger .

To this date my best converting subject line has been “Much goodies for you!” It was pretty puzzling at first, but after testing hundreds of email subject lines, I think I found a fbew important takeaways:

1. Never be too serious.

Email sucks. I don’t know a single person that gets up in the morning and says to themselves “Oh boy, I can’t wait to check my inbox today!”

It’s a necessary evil for most people. So the last thing they need is another boring marketing headline. Try to bring some levity into it and leave the marketing talk in the dark corner it crawled out from.

2. Talk like a real person.

In my most successful subject lines, I kept the subject line casual and in sentence case (rather than title case where every first letter of each word is capitalized). This feels more organic and human made rather than polished and machined.

3. Make it about them.

The person opening this email needs to know instantly that they’re getting something out of it. Remember everyone’s favorite radio station?

It’s WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) and your subject line needs to communicate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this email is all about them.

Floyd BuenaventeFloyd Buenavente

SuperKaizen.com // @Twitter

~ A Simple SEO Freelancer From the Philippines

When it comes to converting email subject lines I think Dan Kennedy’s method is the best:

Dan Kennedy’s P.A.S. is what I consider to be the most reliable sales formula ever created.

You can typically use this for almost anything:

Problem – Present the problem your prospect feels

Agitation – Poke at that problem until it’s visceral

Solution – Present your solution to the agitated problem

1. You’ve probably never tried these (enter problem)
2. The #1 reason why (enter problem)
3. You’re going to regret this if you miss this deal (convert to P.A.S)

You can check out more here on the classic way P.A.S. is created.

The top #3 lessons I’ve learned testing multiple subject lines:

Lesson #1: It does not matter how often you test your subject lines but if you don’t provide value, then you are going to lose your subscribers.

Lesson#2: Sometimes it pays not to be too serious, inject humor in your subject lines to make it more authentic.

Lesson #3: Invest in the curiosity of your market, you are already asking for their time so you might as well make it worth it.

Doug-CunningtonDoug Cunnington

NicheSiteProject.com / @Twitter

~ Founder of Niche Site Project, helping people create & monetize niche websites

The highest converting subject line for me is “Sold for $10K” which outlines the story for selling a niche website. I considered a conversion to be a click-through to the blog post in this case.

The open rate was 43.7% and the click-through rate was 30.3%. I think it worked well because there was a dollar amount listed.

Lesson #1: Use brackets and dashes.

Anytime I have added a bracket or dash the open rate and click-through rate is higher. Sometimes it is only a minor improvement but that counts.

Lesson #2: Use a number, especial a dollar amount.

People like to see numbers for some reason, and they like dollar amounts even more. If you can be very specific and mention the exact figure, like $10,479, that is even better.

I don’t know why I didn’t use the exact figure that day or split test it.

Lesson #3: Leave an open loop.

You want the reader to wonder about what’s in the email. The subject line above says that something has been sold, but I don’t say what.

The reader certainly has an idea and is speculating in his or her mind about what it could be. They almost certainly figure it out and when they open the email, they confirm their thoughts.

Lastly, you should build a swipe file for subject lines – when you see a great subject line or headline, make note of it. Then you can refer to the list in your swipe file for ideas.

Gael BretonGael Breton

AuthorityHacker.com // @Twitter // @Twitter

~ Inbound marketing nerd and well, that’s all.

For us, it’s not exactly a subject line but rather a prefix in bracket that educates our customers and stands out in the inbox.

For example for new blog posts we use the bracket [NEW POST] , for limited time offer we use [LIMITED TIME OFFER]

What we have found out is that while some more intrigue based subject lines get more open, in the end, these tend to have low CTR to the offer or low conversion rate.

The bracket system allows us to stand out in the inbox and get a fair open rate while pre framing people for what is in the email and drastically increasing the conversion rate we send to our landing page.

Another thing  we learned from testing multiple subject lines is that subject lines that are not capitalised and written like casual emails tend to get much more opens these days.

So for example, instead of writing:

Here Is What 40 Experts Learned About Email Marketing, I will use:

here is what 40 experts learned about email marketing…

The fact that I don’t capitalise tends to actually increase the open rate because the email stands out against everyone’s capitalised subject line.

This works especially well if you combine this with tactics to get people to reply to your emails (because people who reply to your emails then have your emails land in their primary inbox).

George ZlatinGeorge Zlatin

DigitalThirdCoast.net // @Twitter

~ Co-founder of Digital Third Coast, a search marketing firm.

Best converting subject line:

How to Improve Search Engine Rankings with Relevant Content

Lessons learned:

1) The quicker we get to the pain point in the subject line the better our open rate.

We try to make sure we do this in the first 2-3 words of a subject line, and carry this theory through every post as well to make sure the reader knows what they will get as fast as possible.

2) Our open rate improves the more actionable a subject line. Shock value and fluff doesn’t distinguish us enough from the pack.

3) Sticking with subject lines that use the five W’s and one H has been the best way for us to accomplish lesson 1 and lesson 2.

Jon DykstraJon Dykstra

FastAckBlog.com // @Twitter

~ I teach others how to build profitable authority sites

In my experience, I get both highest open rates and most sales when there’s a 4 to 5 figure dollar amount per month in the subject line along with some indication of how to generate that income.

I’d be happy to give an example from my most opened email in the sequence:

$10,000/Mo. in 60 Days (No Joke). This has a 44% open rate.

This conversion concept applies to my automated sequence emails along with broadcast emails.

I restrict this method to occasionally and ensure the content, whether email message and/or product being promoted is top-notch and based on real results (not theory).

Jon HaverJon Haver

AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com // @Twitter

~ Husband, father, engineer, sports fan and huge geek when it to comes to automating and outsourcing his activity.

One of my best-converting subject lines was discovered accidently and as such revealed some interesting insights…

Subject Line – “Insert Subject Line Here”
Result – No change from my lists open rate of 60%

While I have many other lists most of which don’t get the open rate and click-through rate for this larger lists where I made the mistake of not inserting a subject line.

Lesson 1 – The factor that most influences if an email is opened is first WHO is sending  and the previous relationship established with that person.

Lesson 2 – I tried this subject line as a test on other email lists with a worse historical open rate and my open rate went down from the average.

Meaning if you have a good relationship with your audience your subject line has less influence on the open rate.

However, if you have a poor relationship with your list then your subject line does matter.

This does “dodge” your question but it was an interesting finding that I thought would be worth adding to your list of response.

John-Lee-Dumas.John Lee Dumas

EntrepreNeuronFire.com // @Twitter

~ John Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, awarded ‘Best of iTunes 2013’.

Here are my top 3 e-mail marketing lessons:

1. Make the headlines PERSONAL to YOUR audience…

2. Start a story in the subject line your audience will want to hear the end of…

3. Don’t trick your audience into opening…that will only work once 🙂

Overall, YOU know your audience, speak directly to them and treat the relationship you are building as a marathon…not a sprint!

Jordie van RijnJordie van Rijn

EmailMonday.com // @Twitter

~ Email marketing consultant | Columnist | Customer Philosopher | Aspiring Stand up

Here are my  lessons in subject line testing:

* Make more variants. As a rule of the thumb only 1 in 10 variants brings a real killer lift so if you only do 2 variants (let’s call them A and B) you are missing out on a lot of potential improvements.

* Don’t test for opens only, or count unsubscribes or bounces when determining the winner. That is just silly, but I have seen it happen often enough.

* The less testing you do to achieve your goals, the better! So start with the tests that have high potential and the ones where you can re-use the outcomes.

Here are some more great email testing lessons.

Larry-KimLarry Kim

WordStream.com // @Twitter

~ Founder . Top Columnist Magazine, – PPC Marketing, AdWords, Facebook Ads, Entrepreneurship, Start-ups.

We send out a lot of emails. Couple of key learnings:

1) Try sending from people instead of “no-reply@” emails. For example, have an email come from your company CEO or Founder and see how that works vs. the generic no-reply emails.

We’ve found that people are more likely to engage with people.

2) Try conversational subject lines. One of our best email open rates has a subject line of “quick question”.

3) In addition to sending out emails the old fashion way, use Gmail sponsored promotions (sponsored emails in Gmail) and target them using customer match (i.e. people’s email accounts).

Actually, it’s a lot easier to test out lots of different email subject lines using sponsored emails than actually sending out organic emails.

Matthew Barby.Matthew Barby

MatthewBarby.com // @Twitter

~ Global Head of Growth & SEO @HubSpot, award winning blogger, industry speaker and lecturer @DMIgroup.

Top Subject Line: “A gift from me to you.”

One of the big things that I’ve found from testing subject lines is that the more personal and emotive the subject line, the better.

By that I don’t just mean placing their name in the subject, but more playing to their specific wants/needs.

I try to keep my subject lines short and straight to the point. They’re typically around 5-7 words in length and I’ve found this to work much better than longer subject lines.

Finally, try to think about how you can set the expectation for the content within your email.

Test a variety of subject lines within your campaigns, along with a variety of intro sentences (don’t underestimate the power of this section either.

The last thing you want to do is spend all this time building your email list and end up with a ton of unsubscribes and low engagement rates.

Matt BannerMatt Banner

OnBlastBlog.com // @Twitter

~ Author of . Here to help guide and inspire bloggers (and those who have yet to become one!)

I wouldn’t say that I have a “best converting” email subject line, because I’m always testing new ones and comparing them versus others.

A few lessons learned from testing multiple subject lines:

– Relevancy matters (spend time emailing the right people, instead of just focusing on a ‘click bait’ subject line – if it’s important and relevant to the recipient, they’ll open the email regardless of whats in the subject line)

– Providing value in the subject is crucial (its critical to highlight how opening that email will benefit the recipient)

– The simpler, the better (short, sweet and to the point is the most effective. Long, convoluted and complicated subject lines just leaves everyone confused as to what you’re really trying to do)

Mark LuckenbaMark Luckenbaugh

XSynesis.com // @Twitter

~ , ,

We have a team that does a lot of prospecting but the structure can be extrapolated across any email you ever make.

{Name of business owner} there are some {critical|severe} {problems|errors} with {insert website}

The name makes it personalized and more likely to catch their eye. Critical (split test severe) is an adjective that increases the urgency of the headline.

Problems (split test with errors) carries a heavy negative connotation and thus increases the urgency of them opening the email.

Inserting the website allows for additional personalizing and thus you have a hyper targeted, personalized message that appears urgent and needs to be opened.

My first lesson learned and advice that everyone who will ever write an email should follow is not to reinvent the wheel.

There is a lot of psychology that comes into crafting headlines and also metrics which a headline can’t overcome, (how engaged is your audience, do you deliver a lot of value in your emails, etc.) but analyzing what other people are doing can really help take your game to the next level.

Matt wrote an awesome post on this explaining how to pick the best people to emulate and he gives away over 500 of them here

Under promise and over deliver. This is a virtue that I strive to implement in all areas of my business, not just email headlines, but if you have an insanely hyped up headline then make sure you deliver the goods.

Don’t be afraid to hire a pro. If you are putting together an email sequence for a product or service and you really want the best results, hire someone who specializes in creating high converting email sequences.

The Cult of Copy Job Board has some talented individuals and is ran by Master Chief Colin Theriot who doesn’t suffer fools wisely. You can hire out of there with confidence.

Nauf Sid (1)Nauf Sid

AffPayDay.com // @Twitter

~ Niche blogger. Affiliate marketer

My favorite converting email line is – “Hey”.

1. Select a crisp but short subject line – The subject line has significant influence. Select a line that is a cross between a teaser and information, but not too long (50 characters max.).

2. Be personal – E-mail newsletters are often not successful because the sender sends out information to an anonymous audience.

As a user you do not want to be bombarded with advertising or be a part of a newsletter subscribers list that sends out ads all the time.

Therefore, write a newsletter to not just a group of subscribers but to a person.

3. Present relevant information – Newsletter mails are a great content marketing tool.

Analyze what blog posts have received the most clicks in the past month and place the three of the most popular posts in your newsletter.

Rob CubbonRob Cubbon

RobCubbon.com // @Twitter

~ I’m an Amazon bestselling author, online teacher, graphic designer

“Sorry, I goofed”

and the top #3 lessons I’ve learned testing multiple subject lines

1. “Free” is the best word in the world for my audience. If I put that in the subject line the open rates are always higher.

2. “New” and “Latest” always work very well. (Sorry, this may not be earth-shattering but often it’s the obvious, simple things that we all miss).

3. “{!firstname_fix}” – OK, not that exactly, but using the first name in the subject line works better than when you don’t have it.

So, what can we deduce from this? People like Free stuff, New things and they like to be called by their first name. 🙂

Robbie Richards.Robbie Richards

RobbieRichards.com // @Twitter

~ Lead digital strategist for Royal Jay and founder of robbierichards.com.

My top performing email subject line to date:

“Get 61% more email opens in 1 minute”

This subject line had a 56% open rate, about double my average. It also had a 13% click through rate and drive a nice stream of affiliate revenue.

Lessons learned:

I’ve learned that top performing subject lines have one of the following elements:

Three in particular have worked well for me…

1. Create an information gap with curiosity

For example: This WordPress plugin increased email signups 353% (overnight)

The subject line opens a loop that your audience will want to close by checking out the email.

2. Quantify results

For example: 21 tactics that generated 19,011 social shares (without spending a penny)

It’s a case study that shows people how to get serious results without pulling out their wallet.

For example: Get 61% more email opens in 1 minute

The subscriber will realize benefit in the subject line, plus it seems bite-sized. People love things that are actionable and deliver quick results.

3. Use a case study/ story

For example: How Share As Image increased blog traffic 70% in 4 months.

Ryan-BiddulphRyan Biddulph

BloggingFromParadise.com // @Twitter

~ Author, blogger and traveler. 

19 Successful Bloggers to Follow

Lessons learned:

#1  Bring a bunch of folks onboard, and those folks will promote you.

#2 Readers want resources which expose them to more successful folks, to build their networks.

#3 Big numbers may just mean big clicks. Folks dig some major league value, and appreciate seeing the lead in to that value through the subject line.

Ryan StewartRyan Stewart

WeBris.org // @Twitter

~ I build web experiences. Then, I market the SH!T outta them. MBA. [].

I actually want to go out on a limb here and say that subject lines aren’t as important as marketers think.

The fact is there are so many other variables that do in to what makes a person open an email that subject lines are somewhat insignificant.

Personally, as opposed to optimizing individual subject lines, I prefer to look at who we’re targeting for our list and what type of value we’re providing them.

If we’re consistently building a list of interested people and sending them good, relevant emails on a well timed basis, they’ll open anything.

With that being said, I like to focus the subject matter on the benefit of the email to the reader.

If you try and over optimize every headline you’ll run into the boy who cried wolf situation where no one will open your emails again (i.e. “This is the Sale of the Century”, when it’s really just a weekly sale).

Panos MellisarPanos Melissaropoulos

MooSend.com // @Twitter

~ Moosend ‘ s Co-Founder and Business Development Director.

That’s a very interesting and challenging question: Every email has its own story. However, there are some stories better than others.

The best converting email subject line according to our statistics was sent by an e-commerce shop on May 2013.

The subject line was humane, laconic, simple, with a touch of mystery: “An apology and a gift!”

This subject line accompanied an email that was sent half an hour after the ordinary dispatch of a campaign that contained a mispriced product.

Our client apologised for the mistake to his subscribers and in the same time he promised them a present.

This movement really sky-rocketed the open rate! The end-user was essentially thinking: “They made a mistake, now they apologise and they have a present for me!

Let’s open the newsletter to see what‘s happening!” The mailing list of our client consisted of 250,000 subscribers. The open rate on this specific email was up to 40%, double than usual.

The top 3 lessons we came across are the following:

1. Personalisation

Personalising the subject line by inserting the first name leads to higher open rates. On average, across all industries, unique open rates increase by 26% when subject lines are personalised.

The end-user has the feeling that this email addresses him directly, feels more comfortable and engaged with the communication.

Personalisation can also take place by inserting the home city of the subscriber or any other personal information that we have that can become handy and match with the content.

2. Keep it short

The length is important! The rule of thumb is that the subject line shouldn’t be longer than 50 characters. This can appear to be a magic number in terms of open rates.

Having said that, for clients that are targeting iOS users it is highly recommended to use subject lines up to 35 characters, on account of the fact that the iOS shows 3 dots after that threshold.

What we keep in mind is that the subject line needs to attract attention and in the same time be short and consistent.

3. Avoid spammy words

There are words and then there are words: After all, words are what writing is all about. The usage of specific words in your subject line and in your content can condemn your email to land in the junk folder.

Words like “urgent”, “desperate”, “please help”, “Free spins” or “Hot women/men” have a negative impact.

These words are detected as spammy by email clients and have the opposite effect than your good intentions.

Stuart WalkerStuart Walker

NicheHacks.com // @Twitter

~ Niche marketing blogger. I publish niche markets, epic tutorials, done for you niche research reports, and more hot content.

My biggest lessons from email marketing and testing headlines are…

1. Scarcity works a lot so use it. Giving people final warnings and last chances gets them opening.

2. Negative / fear based headlines work, i.e. “bad news”. “final warning”.

3. Using emoticons in your headline increases open rate. I’ve been testing this recently with great success.

4. Curiosity works well. Make them intigued to find out what’s inside by being vague or at least not making it clear what they will find.

5. Focus less on open rate and more on click rate…or more importantly who converts, it’s the most important thing. Open rate uis just a vanity metric and not that important.

People taking action / converting is what’s important. Sometimes getting less people to open but more of the RIGHT people works best.

My recent best converting subject line was simple “Bad news.”

I use it regularly to convey scarcity and give final warnings about prodiucts going offline or deals ending.

I write a lot about how to write high converting emails here.

Take email marketing to the next level!

You’ve read how these experienced email marketers are testing multiple subject lines in their business. All you have to do is take their examples to the bank and profit in your own ventures.

Once you start creating your own subject lines you too can see your open rates boost like never before.

I hope you enjoyed the expert insights so onto this note, I wanted to thank you and the marketers involved to help create the article and spread awareness about it. You make the hard work count.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below, and why not, maybe share some email subject line examples from your own activity.

If you have found these email marketing tips interesting and helpful, don’t hesitate to share. Remember: sharing is caring.

Comments

  1. Tor Refsland says:

    Hey Codrut,

    thanks a lot for including me in this great post 🙂 It`s an honour to be featured among these great entrepreneurs.

    Best,

    Tor

  2. John Lee Dumas says:

    Great article CT! Thanks for the mention, you rock 🙂

  3. Stuart Walker says:

    Thanks for the feature here on my favourite email marketing tools blog 🙂

    Some great advice all round especially from Ryan who mentions subject lines aren’t as important as some may think.

    It’s about how you’ve built your list, how engaged they are, and whether they want to hear from you that REALLY matters. Get that right and you’ll naturally have high open rates….solid subject lines will just improve that marginally.

    1. Ryan Biddulph says:

      Thanks Stuart! And much agreed on this list….keep attracting intrigued, engaged subscribers and they’ll gobble up the goodness you have to offer. Much appreciated for the feature Codrut!

      Ryan

  4. Sherman Smith says:

    Hey Codrut,

    Nice roundup here with some of the great bloggers I interact and read about. Really lime Gael Breton approach of using brackets to get the attention of their list. It works on me since it draws my curiosity and I’m quite sure it does the same for others.

    I also like Tim Suolo approach of being more personable. What greatwe way to write a headline than to write it as if you’re writing to a close friend.

    Also what Stuart Walker said about showing scarcity works too. This is an old sales strategy I read about a few years ago that still works relatively great today.

    One thing I do is to add words like increaSe or improve in my headline titles. We all want to better ourselves, especially if we keep getting the same results so what better way to conjure curiosity than to do this.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great upcoming weekend.

  5. Sas Petherick says:

    Why didn’t you ask any women?

    1. Angie Meeker says:

      Hi Sas,

      Thank you for your excellent question. Our writers reach out to a number of marketers for articles like these, and those who respond to our requests, of course, receive higher priority the next time we reach out.

      As a woman myself on the OptinMonster staff, I assure you that we value both men’s and women’s contributions to our blog (and staff). I’d love to know what women you’d like to see included in future articles. Who is inspiring you lately?

  6. Chris Makara says:

    What an excellent post Condrut, thanks for including me!

    There is some really solid advice shared by all. I look forward to testing out a new tip or two 🙂

  7. Jamie Hudson says:

    Indeed a great post! Thanks for sharing this useful information! 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

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