6 Killer Tips to Craft Compelling and Clickable Email Subject Lines

The subject line of an email is the first thing your customers see, and it holds the full power to either succeed or fail your email campaign based on its effectiveness.

They’re what gets people to open and read your message, so it’s worth investing time into crafting a subject line that piques people’s attention and makes them want more.

But crafting persuasive subject lines can be tricky — they need to be compelling enough for someone who is just scanning their inbox but also concise enough not to waste anyone’s time.

Achieving everything simultaneously is a hard job! Fortunately, you can use some simple tricks and strategies to craft subject lines that will work for everyone and any device.

This post will teach you how to craft subject lines by implementing simple copywriting frameworks that will get opened and clicked on, so you can start getting better results from your email marketing efforts.

Also, the #6 framework is my favorite, and it has provided me with the highest open rates out of these, so make sure you don’t miss that one at all.

6 email subject line tips

  1. Shoot for the skyscrapers or get buried underground
  2. Transition them from the better to their best self
  3. Eliminate the fluff and get direct
  4. Out to Cosmopolitan and Medium
  5. The husband-wife conversation strategy
  6. The mysterious connection framework

Starting with the most traditional framework, which is:

1. Shoot for the skyscrapers or get buried underground

The purpose of this strategy is to make BOLD claims in your subject lines. Not to confuse with making unrealistic or so-called “fake” statements. This strategy works well for companies planning to promote products or services through their email marketing campaigns.

These subject lines are traditional, but they still do work to a greater extent even today. Remember, people don’t buy weight loss products; they buy a slim and lean figure to show it off to their peers and satisfy their societal and emotional validation.

To write these subject lines, you need to focus on the end result that your product or service will deliver and highlight the most promising customer benefit.

Let’s take few examples:

  1. $12,356 from just one simple funnel. Here’s how
  2. Do this now and get your blog post shared 127X times
  3. Master this only sales technique or let your business die
  4. 427 more affiliate sales per month? Yes, Please!

Note: Use this copywriting strategy with caution.

Don’t make any false or unrealistic claims like this one:

Ex. 3 days workout = 3kgs lost. Here’s how!

Now to many of you, this might look catchy, but the person on weight loss training knows it isn’t possible, and writing these types of subject lines can deteriorate your brand’s image.

Make sure you’ve prepared your ideal customer avatar and implement accordingly.

2. Transition them from the better to their best self

Your goal with this plan is to take your client on a transition journey, from their lesser to the greatest version of themselves, via your subject lines.

The entire focus should be on making them or their lives better than now. The subject line should be 100% focused on them and no one else.

No mention of you, your product, your brand. It should be all about “THEM”. If there’s a scope, make them imagine their future like: how they would look, feel, etc.

Make them feel the moment when they’ll have that ONE thing which they always desired.

Let’s take few examples:

  • From $0 to $10k in sales (marketing and sales)
  • You. a money magnet. (personality development)
  • What would you do with an extra $5000 affiliate commission? (make money online)
  • How you’ll look if you’d fit your old prom dress? (weight loss)
  • From a lazy guy to the beefed hunk every woman wants to date (relationship)

3. Eliminate the fluff and get direct

Sometimes, the simple and direct things work more efficiently than the complicated stuff. These types of subject lines directly tell you what they are and what you’ll get from them.

No questions. No mystery. Nothing. Just a simple plain statement.

This works best for list-based items with multiple ways/methods or steps to achieve a particular goal.

Let’s take few examples:

  • My best yoga tips for women with children
  • 7 effortless tips to skyrocket your email subscriber count
  • Kim Kardashian’s 3 simple tips for buying perfect bridal jewelry
  • Make sure to have these 5 food items at your wedding

4. Out to Cosmopolitan and Medium

Nobody is a born copywriter. Neither was I, and I believe, nor are you. But it surely doesn’t mean that you can’t become one. The basic skill you need to learn something new is the power of observation.

Let’s do this simple experiment. Go over to Medium or Cosmopolitan and just look at their blog titles.

Cosmopolitan headlines

Now scroll down the Cosmopolitan home page and browse for the blog headlines. The ones you find attractive, copy them and save them to your Google doc.

For example. I love all of the headings, so I’ll copy them here:

  • 5 spring 2022 bags trends that you’re going to love
  • found: the coziest gifts of holiday szn
  • your freezing toes are crying for these warm socks
  • hands down, these are the 29 best gifts on amazon
Medium headlines

Now, we’ll do the same for Medium, copy the headlines you find catchy.

Here, I find only one:

  • I’m afraid of Americans

Now just collect all of them in a single place and modify them according to your niche.

Here are the results:

  • I’m afraid of Americans → I’m afraid of email marketing
  • 5 spring 2022 bags trends that you’re going to love → X 2022 email marketing trends you’re going to love
  • found: the coziest gifts of holiday szn → Found: the only email marketing tactic that works for the holiday season.
  • your freezing toes are crying for these warm socks → Your empty bank account is crying for more product sales
  • hands down, these are the 29 best gifts on amazon → Hands down, these are the X best email marketing tips on the internet

You can see how easy it is to create such appealing and click-worthy subject lines. Just pour in a little bit of your creativity and personality, and you’re good to go.

The editors and content writers at these prominent publications are highly trained in their copywriting tactics. They’ve perfected the art of luring people in with their short and simple blog headlines.

You can, too, take away a piece of it.

Note: Copying others’ content and re-using them as it is can sue you for copyright violations too. Make sure you’re using their content for reference and not just copying and pasting it as it is.

5. The husband-wife conversation strategy

Let’s hear this conversation from a couple living together completing their 5 years of a successful marriage.

  • Husband: Hey Honey, What’s Up? All good?
  • Wife: Yeah, it’s just holiday time, and I’m stressed out about the preparations.
  • Husband: Oh Honey, I understand. Let me know what you want, and I’m all yours.
  • Wife: Oh, Sugar, I just want everything to be perfect before taking our family for a vacation.

Let’s collect all the bolded snippets here.

  • What’s Up? All good?
  • I’m all yours
  • it’s just holiday time
  • I just want everything to be perfect

Now all the conversations highlighted in bold can be used as email subject lines with very little to no modifications.

Let’s see the use case scenario.

  • What’s up? all good? — Send this subject line with an email when your users aren’t opening your emails for a long time.
  • Customers will be all yours with these simple sales tips — Send this when you’re offering them a product/advice/guide.
  • It’s just holiday time + 50% off on merchandise — Perfect subject line for e-commerce companies declaring discounts.
  • Just want everything to be perfect with your emails/relationship/dating life/finances? — Ideal subject line for emails in which you’re teaching or guiding them regarding something.

You could copy the same conversations made with your text messages sent to your friends or family members.

Just go past your old messages and take a look at the conversations made and select what suits you.

Few more examples are:

  • See, told ya’
  • Your thoughts, please
  • Open this *
  • OMG – same!
  • Thought about you
  • Need your help
  • Ready for this?
  • Send me your thoughts
  • Chat next week?

This framework works well if you and your audience share a strong and personalized bond.

If you have just sent them your very first onboarding mail, I’m afraid you can quickly lose your new subscribers with these subject lines. 

The focus should be first on creating a personalized connection, and as the bond deepens, using casual subject lines like the ones above.

This subject line format has proved to be the highest converting one for people like Pat Flynn and Ryan Robinson.

Remember, when it comes to this email subject line tip it all boils down to personality.

6. The mysterious connection framework

Email inboxes are more congested than ever.

It is a lot more challenging to stand out in today’s Inboxes.

To become a “must-read,” sometimes, you just have to act like a STOP sign and force your audience to stop and read.

Make them ask themselves:

  • “What on earth does that even mean? “
  • “I’ve got to know what that is!”
  • “I’ve got to know what’s inside.”
  • “Is there even a connection?”

To create these types of subject lines, you need to read out the whole written email.

After you’ve read the email, try to find out:

  1. 2 or more things that are entirely unrelated, or
  2. A funny, twisted confession or statement in the emails

Few examples of these types of subject lines are:

  • Tom Cruise just loves this marketing tactic
  • Naughty you + me in the bathroom
  • I got fired but still partying this weekend
  • You + $5000 in extra sales this month = vacation at Bali 🏄‍♂️
  • Your weight + my tips = 👄👅

Just go easy on the emojis. Emojis might increase your open rates but also create a negative sentiment for your brand.

You need to invest in a good subject line testing tool like Litmus that helps you preview your subject lines and email body on multiple devices (mobiles, tablets, desktops) and email clients like Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook so that you know how your content looks to the people receiving your emails.

Also, avoid using “no-reply” as your company email address as it feels spammy.

Wrapping it up — a quick task for you

If you are looking for subject lines that are interesting, captivating, and drive sales online, the tips above should be a great place to start. These subject line frameworks offer an in-depth look into how your customers think when reading your emails.

From there, it’s up to you to walk them through the steps on how they can take themselves from “average” life experiences to achieving something better than what they’ve ever had before.

Remember: 

The more specific you get with these subject lines about precisely who your ideal customer is and what will make them feel good, the higher your chances of increasing your email open rates get.

If all this seems overwhelming — I’d suggest you go with the above frameworks one by one and invest time in practising and refining them to suit your needs.

But before ending this blog post, I’ve got a simple task for you — let’s check what you’ve learned so far.

Let’s see the subject line that you can write for this email below:

Email subject lines exercise

Simply tweet your subject lines with this article’s link and mention both @KaloyanYankulov and @palashnagannu.

Unleash your creativity in your subject lines.

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