Subject Lines That Convert [Downloadable Template]

Do me a favor and imagine your personal inbox. Whether it’s clogged with thousands of email or completely empty (there are two types of people in this world, after all), it has a story to tell.

A couple of weeks ago, I purged my inbox. And I have to be honest, there weren’t many survivors. But those lone wolves had a few things in common. So let’s get back to your inbox.

Think about the emails you open immediately. What do they look like? Who are they from?

Now, everyone’s answers are slightly different, we’re unique after all. But I can guarantee the generic answers to those questions: They look like they’ll help you solve a problem, and they’re from someone you trust or like.

You want your readers to look forward to your emails. In order to earn their trust, you have to develop a relationship with each by treating them like friends. Now, this might sound silly, but 49% of American consumers want weekly brand emails. Yes, you read that right. People want to hear from you. You do have a captive audience. You just need to provide value so they stick around.

Your subject line is your first impression. Nail it and your readers will be clicking on it the minute it lands in their inbox. Otherwise, it could end up in the promotions folder, thanks to Gmail’s automatic sorting (that placement often earns a one way ticket to the trash can).

To avoid Gmail’s presumptuous classification, craft a subject line that catches your audience’s attention: One that makes them convert. According to the Business to Business community, 47% of your recipients open your email based on the subject line. Think of your subject line like a headline: You need to catch your reader’s attention in just a few words.

Today, we’ve got a few quick tricks for writing, six subject lines that encourage conversions, and a downloadable subject line checklist to help you brainstorm the perfect subject line! So, let’s get started.

Tips for Writing Good Subject Lines

Keep your copy short and sweet. Write in a way that’s direct, but slightly mysterious. And don’t underestimate the power of a good emoji; they make your email feel more personal and relatable, which increases the possibility of your email getting opened. Finally, make sure that you constantly experiment. Subscribe to competitors and thought leaders to get an idea of what other companies are talking about. Of course we aren’t encouraging plagiarism, but use their content as inspiration!

Six Subject Lines That Encourage Conversions

1. Shock Factor

Example: The email mistake that’s ruining your business

You want them to say: Oh no, am I making that mistake? They’ll have to open your email to find out, of course.

2. Lists

Example: 6 ways you’re failing your subscribers

Lists are great because they use digestible information. Not to mention, numbers are proven to stop wandering eyes. (Hint: using small numbers, ideally less than 10, helps it feel like an easy read without a big time commitment.)

3. Urgency

Example: Free shipping till midnight

Giving a deadline establishes a sense of importance. People have intrinsic FOMO (fear of missing out), so they’re likely to indulge if they think the clock is ticking.

4. Secretive

Example: The one secret no entrepreneur will tell

Curiosity converted the customer.

5. Incentivize

Example: 5 minutes of your time for a $25 Amazon gift card

Sounds like a fair trade, doesn’t it? Promise your audience something for the conversion — and make it worth their while.

6. One Word

Example: Celebration

This one rarely works well, but try to think of a power word with strong emotion or sensory language. Experiment a little. The single word could help your email stand out amid all of the other long-winded promotional garbage. Otherwise, it’s a great way to push your brain a little further and begin thinking a bit differently.

In fact, that’s the premise of our FREE downloadable template, Subject Line Checklist. In this brainstorming activity, we want to get your creative pistons firing. If you’re stuck on a subject line, try to come up with a subject line in each category (no matter how “bad” it is) to help you stretch yourself. After all, our best idea is hardly ever our first idea.

Give it a download.

Subject Line Brainstorming Worksheet
Download PDF • 4.26MB

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!