19.84 percent — that’s the average email open rate across all industries as of June 2021.
Now, if you’re tracking yours, you can compare it to the average – is your email marketing performing better in this aspect?
If not, you may want to find out what you’re doing wrong. Can it be your email subject line? Is it not enticing enough to get people to click or tap to see what’s inside your email?
Let’s take a look at the results of our survey. Most participants claim their average open rate is 21-25% (for over 20% of respondents) and 36-40% (for almost 30% of respondents).
So, half of them have a better-than-average email open rate! Care to learn their secrets?
That’s exactly what we have for you in this article, so let’s dive in.
Why Email Subject Lines Matter
Can you tell what’s inside a non-transparent box until you open it?
The same way, your prospects can’t tell what’s inside your email until they click it, and they won’t do it unless you give them a good reason.
Other than your email address, or your name, your email subject line is the only thing a reader sees when they get your message. And if you bear in mind that in 2020, people worldwide sent over 300 billion (yes, billion!) emails per day, it goes without saying that it’s pretty hard to grab someone’s attention by just popping up in their inbox.
Your email subject line is your best chance to win your prospect over. The fact that it’s typically short doesn’t make it any easier to write. It takes time and skill to craft enticing email subject lines for sales prospecting, so we decided to turn to experts.
Our survey shows that most marketers send between four and eight bulk emails per month (around 48% of them). The other half of the respondents either prefer sending fewer emails – up to four (22%) or more than 16 (22%).
If you’re ready to learn what works for the marketing professionals we’ve interviewed, sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!
7 Types of Email Subject Lines That Make People Click
Email Subject Lines That Provoke FOMO
The infamous fear of missing out is one of the most powerful action catalysts nowadays. Living in a world where everything is changing so fast and we’re constantly overwhelmed by so much information makes us want to stay in the know all the time. And missing on things makes us feel like we’re falling behind – no one likes that feeling.
This is why email subject lines that play this card are quite successful, especially if you remind people they should be keeping up with their competition.
Charlie Patel of Ampfluence recommends this line:
“Here’s how your competitor @_______ is generating sales through Instagram”
Patel explains why it works in their case: “The reason this is effective and enticing is that every brand would love to know what their competitors are doing across various channels. In our example above, we are an Instagram marketing agency, and therefore our goal is to convert brands into clients.”
“By demonstrating that we know their competitor(s) and have done the research to highlight key points, we automatically establish authority and validate our skills. In parallel, the subject line instills both curiosity and fear of missing out (FOMO) on valuable information.”
“The open rate when personalized for each brand is extremely high,” says Patel and adds that this strategy works only if you really do your research. “We recommend using this strategy ONLY if you’re company is doing targeted outreach as it does require actual research on the brand’s competitors. While that is time-consuming, the results are far better.”
Olivia Tan of CocoFax agrees that FOMO can indeed motivate people to click. Tan’s suggestion, and also a subject line that’s brought her company a high open-rate is this:
“The Single most important thing to keep your business alive”
“This is the most successful subject line that helped us improve our email open rate and conversion rate in the past few years. The subject line looks quite simple but it triggers multiple emotions in the reader’s mind. Before I explain why this sentence works, let me tell you something about our business,” explains Tan.
“Now, all our existing and potential customers are running some kind of business and the most common thing among them is that they do not want their business to fail. That is the first reason behind going with this sentence. It keeps all our prospects relevant to our offer.
The second trigger is the fear of missing out (FOMO) as they do not want to leave behind while others secure their business with the method we explained in our email.”
Tan says that this has been one of their most successful email subject lines for sales prospecting since it “improved our email open rate from 22.43% to 79.63%. Similarly, we improved our conversion rate from 2.88% to 11.7%.”
The whole trick is in ‘shocking’ your recipient with your email subject line, according to Natasha Rei of Expainerd. That line should “either scare or entice the recipient into checking out what you share to promote their sales proposal. Either way, your recipients will click on it, hoping to see an upcoming opportunity or some necessary advice for their company.
This type of subject will urge them to go act NOW by opening your email.” Rei’s suggestion for a good email subject line is:
“X Reasons Why Your Business Needs This“
Do you know what percentage of your recipients open your emails? How many leads did your latest campaign get you? Find out the answers to these, and even more questions by tracking your email marketing performance in this free HubSpot Email Marketing dashboard template.
Personalized Email Subject Lines
People are more likely to click on your email if they see their name in the subject line. It makes your communication more personal.
But there’s more than just using their name. Like Daisy Jing of Banish says, you can make an allusion to something they posted on social media and “let them know you follow them and kinda know them before you pitch more.”
Tyler Faux of Supergreat believes that talking about the things that matter to your recipient is critical. Here’s a suggestion for such an email subject line:
“20 Black-Owned Beauty Businesses To Shop Now!”
“The beauty community has become drama-filled and toxic in many ways over the past few years. But, at Supergreat, our community is redefining beauty into something more inclusive and creating a welcoming place for anyone to come in and express themselves. They’re incredibly aware of the importance of truly supporting Black-owned businesses and not just during Black History Month. And our community members are eager to review products to help spread the word about those businesses to people they might not otherwise reach,” shares Faux.
Steadily Landlord Insurance’s Darren Nix that automation tools made it essential to personalize your email subject lines – you want to avoid making your recipients feel like they’re just a part of your bulk messages. “Each line will be different based on what you find out about the receiver. For example, find something that they are proud about. This could be a quote in a Forbes article. Take the quote and use some of it in your subject line. This will get your emails opened!” claims Nix.
Rebecca Lajoie of Voices confirms that combining personalized email subject lines for sales prospecting with other proven tricks that get more clicks is the way to go.
“Hey %first_name%, I’ve got a tool for you”
is what she would choose.
“This subject line received a 44% open rate and was effective for a few reasons:
- It was personalized: Utilizing the recipient’s first name immediately makes a subject line more personable
- It included a specific offer: Including a benefit or offering value to the recipient increases the likelihood of opening
- It was brief: Keeping subject lines brief creates interest and allows the recipient to see the full subject line across mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Keep subject lines between 40-60 characters to ensure full visibility of your subject line in the recipient’s inbox before it gets cut off,” explains Lajoie.
Jeff Moriarty of Tanzanite Jewelry Designs revealed a trick that brought his team a 34% open rate. They used the following subject line:
“Sarah Told Us This Is What She Wants to Christmas”
Moriarty explained: “We were able to send this sort of subject line for customers that had previously told us who their purchase was for. We re-used that name dynamically in the subject line.” It’s clear that seeing the names of people they love in the subject line is a trigger that makes people click!
Email Subject Lines That Spark Curiosity
Similarly to FOMO, curiosity is another strong motivator. If your email subject line is mysterious enough, people will click it because they’ll want to know what you’re talking about.
LIFTOFF Digital’s Nate Rodriguez has a pretty simple, yet effective idea: “One subject line that I’ve always used that has got me lots of clicks is: Thoughts?”
“Here’s why,” explains Rodriguez, “a common approach is to personalize the subject line with the company’s name or the name of the person you are emailing. While that’s not a bad approach, it’s very direct and sales-oriented. I think the better approach for subject lines is to evoke curiosity, be a little mysterious, and play on the FOMO to ultimately entice the person to click into your email.”
Giving your audience a hint of what’s inside your emails usually works like a charm. Highlight your primary benefit or best discounts in the subject and people will instantly want to know more. Miranda Yan of VinPit confirms it. “The subject line that got us the most clicks was the one which included a hint about offers and discounts on our service,” says Yan. “We mainly focus on educating our customers about our product, and the email body contained information about the same. However, we coupled the email with CTA and created a sense of urgency with the content. The email was able to get us many clicks and led to considerable conversions.”
Mehvish Patel of Zen Media suggests adding some confidence to the curiosity spark. “My best subject line was something along the lines of:
“Reasons why I am a great fit for you.”
I believe it was effective because it caught people’s eyes and made them either wonder, “is she serious” or “is she bluffing.” It’s a risky subject line, but it gets the job done.”
The “Negative Nancy” Email Subject Lines
You’re not telling me I can’t do something! This is what your readers will immediately think if you use Natalia Lucci’s “Negative Nancy” trick in your email subject line. People don’t like someone telling them what to do, but someone telling them they can’t do something? Even less.
That’s why Lucci, on behalf of Wheelie Great – Cycling Guides, suggests the following email subject line:
“This is why you aren’t equipped to ride in a marathon“
“This is basically telling someone they aren’t good enough indirectly through the subject line of an email. People never like to hear they aren’t good enough, and when they are told this, they will often try to prove the naysayer wrong,” explains Lucci.
“What happened when this negative nancy was an email subject line though? They clicked through of course, at an 89% open rate and a 74% CTR! A subject line that might make someone feel exposed in any fashion often will often prompt some sort of action. Targeting the emotions (as bad as that sounds) isn’t a bad thing, it is just an attractive perspective for subscribers to see within an email subject line!”
Would you like to track your email campaign CTR? Or how your emails are performing in general, compared to your last month’s campaign? Download this free HubSpot Marketing Email Performance dashboard template to learn everything about your email marketing efforts.
Email Subject Lines That Tackle the Universal Pain Points
You may deal with different audiences, but people still share some universal pain points. Maybe it’s the lack of time or the lack of money. Or they feel stress due to different causes. Lauren Denniston of Threads says it’s something that can grab your recipient’s attention.
Here’s Denniston’s example of a good email subject line:
“Reduce your internal email by 50%”
“Email is pretty archaic. It’s where a lot of your stress lives. We believe that it’s a pretty universal pain point. Threads has set out to alleviate that pain by greatly reducing the need for internal email,” explains Denniston.
Simple, but Effective Email Subject Lines
Sometimes, a simple solution is the most effective one. The same goes for your email subject lines for sales prospecting. Here’s what our experts recommend you use.
Emily Hall of Liquid Web NZ says that the “Quick question about [business name] company” line taught her team a lot. Sometimes, the simplest things are the best when it comes to cold outreach. “We tried a lot of complex split-testing, and creative subject lines… but as it turns out, it was best to just keep it simple!” confirms Hall.
Email Subject Lines with Emojis
Almost no one is immune to emojis! Sometimes, they express our emotions much better than words… And research shows that moderate and well-thought-out use of emojis in your emails can increase your open rate!
Michael Sols of Michaelsols.co says that using emojis is a good way to stand out in somebody’s black and white inbox. “If you’d like to bump up your rates, try adding a single emoji in the subject line. You’ll cut through a hundred other emails that just blend in the inbox.”
Eden Cheng of People Finder Free agrees that emojis in the subject line can increase the number of clicks on your emails. “73% of businesspeople address email as a leading method of business communication. A maximum of 47% of emails is either discarded or opened by checking their subject line,” says Cheng and explains how he manages to grab people’s attention.
“I have written a subject line like this:
“Feeling LOW (added an emoji)? I can guide you!”
I have received a lot of clicks with this subject line as emoji addition became a boon for me as I knew that 56% of brands, who have used emojis in the subject line nabs more attention and higher open rates.”
Maximize the Potential of Your Email Subject Line
Sales prospecting and cold outreach may be challenging, but it’s also an efficient way of acquiring new customers, so don’t give up just yet.
It’s true; no matter who is in your audience, their inbox is probably full. You have the tough task of finding your way through all those personal emails, business offers, and spammy messages, but it’s good to know that there are tested tricks you can apply right away and enjoy watching your open rate increase.
Pour all your creativity and marketing knowledge into your email subject line and make sure you remember the tips our experts shared in this article. They’ll open the door for you so you can pitch your brilliant ideas to your potential customers.