How To Craft The Perfect Email Marketing Subject Lines

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Your subject line is the most important part of your entire email. That’s because if your subject line doesn’t get attention and get the click, then the rest of your email won’t even matter.

Use the following checklist to help you create the perfect subject line…

First, you need to understand your audience in order to create a subject line (and an email) that grabs and holds their attention.

To that end, your goal is to learn as much as possible about your audience.

You can do that through these steps:


  • Become a part of the target market. For example, if you’re selling information to organic gardeners, then create your own garden in order to truly understand your market. 
  • Spend time talking and listening to your target market. You can do this online by visiting niche forums and social media groups.
  • Survey your market. Ask open-ended questions to gather as much information as possible.
  • Research your market. Learn as much as possible about their demographics.

Once you’ve researched your market, then create an audience profile.

List as much about your market as you possibly can, including:


  • Where they live.
  • Education level.
  • Income level.
  • Marital status.
  • Whether they have kids.
  • Own or rent a home.
  • What they do with expendable income.
  • How they’ve tried to solve those problems.
  • Why other solutions fall short.
  • Your prospect’s fears.
  • Your prospect’s hopes.
  • What sort of jargon your prospect uses.



Ask yourself these questions:

What sort of benefits will the reader get if they open your email?

  • What’s in it for them?
  • Why should they open this email?
  • What’s so important that it can’t wait until later?

Brainstorm as many benefits and reasons as possible.


For example, let’s suppose you’re selling a weight loss course. Examples might include:

  • Lose weight while eating delicious foods. (No deprivation.)
  • Delicious recipes the whole family will love.
  • Lose weight without hunger pangs or feeling irritable.
  • Enjoy fat loss with minimal time in the gym.
  • Safe and effective fat loss – no pills, gimmicks or dangerous fads.
  • Fat loss for the long term.
  • The diet is easy to follow.
  • The diet includes a complete “done for you” set of meal plans and recipes.

You get the idea. Brainstorm as many benefits and reasons as you can think of, and then move onto the next step…

Now what you need to do is determine the TOP benefits that your prospects will receive. These are the benefits your prospects are likely to value the most.

Let me give you an example…

You’re selling a diet book. You’ve learned from your prospects that they are tired of hard-to-follow diets that leave them feeling hungry and/or deprived. So here are a collection of example subject lines that get these benefits across:

  • Lose fat fast – without hunger pangs!
  • Eat what you want and still lose weight! (It’s easy!)
  • Enjoy dessert every night and still lose weight!
  • Now THIS is fat loss made easy!
  • Can this delicious food help you lose weight?
  • Have you tried the chocolate cake diet?
  • Big weight loss… NO hunger pangs?
  • Who else wants to lose a quick 10 pounds?
  • If you think dieting is hard, you’ll love this…
  • You won’t even believe you’re on a diet!

Now, you may notice that some of the above examples also arouse curiosity. That’s the next point on our checklist…

You may not always be able to arouse curiosity, but when you do it’s a powerful way to get people to open your emails.

Here are tips for arousing curiosity:

  • Be sure it’s relevant. Anything you put in your subject line should be directly related to the content of the email. No exceptions.
  • Tell people what benefit they’ll get, but make them curious about how it’s possible.



Lose fat without hunger pangs or exercising!

You won’t believe which foods melt fat!

  • Use curiosity-arousing words. E.G., secrets, revealed, you’ll never believe this, surprising, etc.



Here’s the secret of fast fat loss…

Discover how to lose weight and keep it off for good!

Here’s a surprising trick that melts fat…


  • Use question marks to evoke curiosity.



Lose weight without getting hungry?

Lose weight without exercise?


  • Evoke social proof, which makes people curious about what others are doing.



Who else wants to lose weight the easy way?

Why do so many others love this diet?


Now brainstorm multiple subject lines. Your subject line is important, so take your time and brainstorm plenty of possibilities!

Now look at your top subject lines and make sure they’re targeted.  You want to check that your subject line speaks to your audience.

For example, a subject line such as “Wow…” may get attention, but a busy person may ignore it because they don’t know the benefits.

Instead, try a line that speaks to the audience such as, “Wow… you won’t believe this diet.”

Other ideas:


  • Address the target market directly. E.G., “CEOs will love this productivity tip…”
  • Mention the problem. E.G., “Sore knees keeping you out of the gym?”
  • Mention a solution. E.G., “Get rid of allergies with this surprising trick!”


Now select a handful of your best headlines from your brainstorming list, and test them against each other.



  • Consider testing on social media first. If you get big reactions and traction when you post these headlines on social media, it’s a good bet they’re doing the trick of nabbing attention via email too.
  • Use your email service provider’s (ESP’s) tools. Most major ESPs let you randomly split your mailing list to do tests. If your ESP offers automation rules, you can even set it up so that your winning headline goes out to the rest of your list.


Let’s wrap things up…



And there ya go – you now have a step-by-step checklist for creating the perfect subject line! So go ahead and put it to work for you today, because I think you’ll like your high open rates and other good responses!

Rushed for time? CLICK HERE to download
this post as PDF to read at your leisure


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