Step by Step Marketing for Small Businesses

Streusel Cake is Ready

17 ways to improve your subject lines

This morning we woke our kids with this statement.  Immediately we got responses from those that are always so hard to get out of bed.  In no time the kids were running downstairs and into the kitchen.  

Sometimes it is all in the opening message.  Had we asked them to get up and come down to eat without telling of the amazing breakfast my wife had made, then we would have gotten the normal teenage grumbling.  Instead the response was immediate and positive.

The same goes for our blogs and emails.  We must lead with something that gets their attention.  If we don’t, then we have already lost the battle.  Recently I ran an email campaign where I told nothing of what was being offered, but instead opened only with an attention-grabbing statement.  “Spaceship for sale” was one of the email subjects.  Another began with “hover bike for sale” and another was “small planet for sale.”  This campaign was met with great success as I found my open rate increase significantly.

So how do we write a subject line that will inspire someone to open the message?

1. Don’t be afraid to use:


The word FREE

An exclamation point

2. Make your subject line a question

Get the reader thinking how they would respond to your blog even before they open it

3. Keep it short

50 characters or less would be great.  The easier it is for the reader to take in your message at a glance rather than having to read it, the better.

4. Be specific, targeted

Be useful and very specific and don’t keep your readers guessing

5. Be recognizable

Identify yourself by whatever makes you stand out including a recognizable product if you have one

6. Be different

Use square brackets or strategic capitalization or quotes of phone numbers

7. Use time

Express the urgency of your message or that it is new or just now coming out

8. No spamminess

Don’t use anything that makes you look like spam mail.  No special characters or overuse of “car salesman” words

9. Include a deadline

“This message will self-destruct in 5 sentences.”  We all recognize the statement from the Mission Impossible movies.  It gets us to act knowing there is little time left.

10. Include a teaser

Say something like “streusel cake is ready.”  Get them wondering why you are talking about cake so they will open and read

11. Give a command

“Join us for lunch” can be used, not to be demanding but inviting.

12. Add a list

Just like what you are reading now, using a list in your subject line often draws attention

13. Make an announcement

“The winners of this contest…”  get people intrigued

14. Tell a joke

Get people laughing.  There are few ways better to get someone’s attention than by getting them to laugh

15. Say something unexpected

Catch someone off guard and get them interested

16. Use multimedia

add a link to a video or image or infographic

17. How to….

Lead with “how to …” so the reader knows they are about to learn something

Whatever you do just make sure the person knows they will gain something of value by opening your email or blog.  Make sure they know you will not be wasting their time.  

Want to give us a try?  Let’s Chat

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