11 Email Subject Line Hacks to Increase Your Open Rates

Email is still one of the most powerful ways to drive engagement, sales, and conversion in your business.

The only problem is how to get your emails opened. So many websites are sending newsletters via email nowadays; I get an average of about a hundred a day which is way too many for me to read.

You, too, probably have a full inbox.

No one has the time to read every email that they receive, especially something that’s not personal. How, then, do you make sure to stand out from the crowd and get your message opened?

The answer is simple: pay attention to your subject line.

I’m going to share with you some email subject line hacks that will get people to open your emails and read them.

Let’s get to it….

Hack #1. Don’t forget to put a subject line!

The worst thing you can do is send an email to your subscribers without a subject line.

You may think it doesn’t happen, but believe me, it happens a lot. It’s a really bad thing to do because your email will just look like an empty line in someone’s inbox.

One thing that you should always start implementing in your email creation is to have some kind of system like a checklist to make sure you’re not missing anything before you hit Send.

Your checklist can look something like this:

  • Check spelling and grammar errors.
  • Check the subject line.
  • Check the email address being sent to.
  • Check the email address being used to send.
  • Read though the email.
  • Hit the Send button and check sent messages to confirm it sent.

Having a checklist or even just a mental image of what should be checked is very important when you’re sending emails. There’s nothing worse than writing an email to a big client of yours and hitting the send button with the wrong email address selected, not having a subject line, or having multiple typographical errors.

Write a quick checklist now on a sticky and place it on your screen to remind you to check emails that you’re sending out.

Hack #2. Keep it simple, stupid (KISS).

I’m sure you have heard this before, and it can’t be truer when it comes to email. People receive around 20 emails a day, on average, and the simpler your message is, the easier it will be understood.

No one wants to read emails everyday for hours on end. If you’re sending out messages that read like novels, it’s no wonder your open rates are low.

To get people to consume your content, make sure your messages are simply stated. You can also structure it like bait so that you will leave them wanting more.

The best way to do this is to only include part of the content within your email and then deliver your link for the entire article.

This is how a lot of people use their auto-responders to drive traffic to the pages they want people to read.

Keeping your messages and your subject lines simple gives you the best chance to get your emails opened and read.

Hack #3. Eliminate fillers and fluff words.

Every character and word counts in your subject line so don’t fill it with crap. Take the time to deliver your message without trying to make it sound redundant.

For example:
“You really must read this, as it’s extremely important.”

This sentence is redundant. Here’s a better way to write your subject line:
“Extremely important, Must Read!”

As you can see, “Extremely important, Must Read!” is a much better subject line. It’s shorter and it has a call to action already. Cut down on repetitive words and your subject line will shine.

Hack #4. Personalize the subject line with the subscriber’s name.

Having your name within the subject line makes you think the email is personally addressed to you. Statistics have shown that when you include someone’s name in the subject line, it has higher open rates and clicks.

If you have an auto-responder series, ask your subscribers to put in their first name when they subscribe to your newsletter. When they give you their name, you can indicate in your auto-responder program to input the subscriber’s name in your subject line.

Here’s an example of a subject line using AWeber.
{!firstname_fix} Welcome to my Newsletter

It will look like this when it’s sent out to someone’s inbox:
Scott Welcome to my Newsletter

It’s an incredible way to let someone know you have taken the time to address the email specifically for them. (They don’t need to know you used a program for it! )

Hack #5. Make your message straight and to the point.

As I mentioned earlier, everyone gets bombarded with emails daily, with most ending up unread.

That’s where being straight to the point comes in handy. Having short and concise email subject lines can significantly increase your open rates.

Let’s take a look at two email subject lines that mean the same thing, but the shorter one is easier on the eyes:

(a) Don’t Wait Another Second! The Sale Ends Today!
(b) Better Hurry!

The shorter email subject line is better because it makes the reader curious. There’s no trying to convince them to open the email because they already want to open the email and figure out what’s inside. The example in (a) is short, but it’s not to the point.

Let’s take a look at another example:

(a) Join Today and Don’t Miss the Free Webinar Replay!
(b) Free Training – Watch it!

The second email subject line gets straight to the point. Not only does the second sound better, it’s also going to get more opens because people know they will get something for free.

The first subject line also says that there’s a free webinar inside the email, but it will get less opens because there’s a contradiction there. When someone reads “Join Today and Don’t Miss the Free Webinar Replay!” this is what’s going through their head: “Join today? I thought I get a free webinar? Well, it’s not free if I have to join.”

It’s important to consider what subject line works best, but also how people will react and think about when they read the subject of your email.

Hack #6. Put a deadline in the subject line.

To make people act (in your case, to make them open your email), put a deadline in your subject line. “This offer ends TODAY! No exceptions” will work very well. It makes recipients take action immediately because they know there’s a deadline.

People hate losing money and they equally hate losing out on something they could have benefited from. Look at the thousands of people who shop on Black Friday. They buy things they don’t actually need or even really care for, just because it’s for a limited time.

People love to feel like they have had a good deal, even if they don’t need whatever it is that they bought. When you use this in your subject line, it will get people to open your emails and take action.

You can also let people know you would like a response by a certain date. This isn’t as powerful as setting a deadline for a promotion, but it’s still good to let them know they need to respond.

Hack #7. Input some value.

Having subject lines that give forth value is an incredible way to get someone to open them.

In one of my emails, for example, I used this subject line:
Scott do you want help?

Not only does this subject line deliver value in the sense of me asking them if they need help, it also shows them that I care about them because I asked them if they needed any help.

This simple, five-word subject line is one of my highest open rates.

I highly recommend you try it and give someone value within your subject line. Make sure, though, that you deliver on that promise.

When I asked them if they need help, I told my subscribers within the email that I was there to help them. What you don’t want to do is create a great subject line and then in the email itself, try and sell them something else or not deliver at all on what your subject line stated.

When you don’t deliver, people will be turned off and will not open your emails anymore. So make sure you can back up your claim of giving someone value in your subject line.

Hack #8. Always place the most important words in the beginning of the subject line.

Email subject lines are not all viewed equally.

When you check your email on your PC or laptop, for example, you get to see the entire subject line. However, when you check that same email account in your smartphone, the subject line gets cut off.

This is extremely important to note because if you place a bunch of nonsense at the beginning of your subject line, it’s going to be far less powerful when people are checking their emails on their smartphones.

Subject lines look very different when you look at them on different devices. So in writing a subject line, place the most important words in the beginning.

Hack #9. Don’t use “[email protected]”.

Never use “[email protected]” when you send out emails to your subscribers.

People hate it when they read a compelling email and when they hit reply, it says “[email protected]” It tells them that the email is not personalized at all, and that you don’t want to listen to them. It is very bad in the eyes of your audience.

If you do have the “[email protected]” people will stop opening your emails because they know that even if they do want to respond to you, you’re telling them not to. This will make your emails less likely to be whitelisted or placed into their contact list.

When you encourage people to respond, they will likely put you in their contact list and will keep on reading your emails. So get rid of the “[email protected]” and engage with your audience through your emails.

Hack #10. Using the good old “*Don’t Open This Email*”

This method seems counterproductive; you’re telling people NOT to open their email so how is it a good thing?

The fact is that by using this email subject line, you are making your audience curious. When they read it, they will wonder “Why can’t I open it?” or “What’s inside?” and maybe “I will open it, just watch me.”

Having an email subject line like this does work at getting emails opened. Give it a try and see how well it can work for you.

Hack #11. Read and reread your subject line. Spell and grammar check it, always!

There’s nothing worse than sending out an email subject line that looks like this:
Downlood a free girt onus.

It really hurts my head to look at that one!

As you can see, there are a few errors in that very short sentence and when people see it, they will instantly discredit the email and delete it. Worse, they can even mark it Spam!

The email subject line should have been fixed like this:

Download a free gift on us.

Having terrible spelling and grammar in your emails (especially in the subject line) is something you need to make sure doesn’t happen. If you suck at spelling and grammar, send your emails off to someone who knows how to fix errors and make your words more polished.

You can hire a virtual assistant at Upwork.com to perform your spelling and grammar checks for you at very reasonable prices.

Other important things to note about email subject lines.

There are a million other things that I can talk about and go over with you again about email subject lines. However, it would take days and it would get really boring so let me just highlight the most important things.



Never make your subject line all in caps. It comes off as screaming even when you’re not meaning to make it sound that way.

If you want to emphasize things, an alternative is to just put some of your keywords in caps. For example:

19-year-old makes 1 MILLION!

The word “million” is in caps and it makes the sentence much more effective because it’s implying a few things to the reader.

Number one: It’s telling the reader you think it’s incredible.

Number two: The emphasis on “million” grabs the reader’s attention.

Number three: You don’t come across as screaming, just emphasizing an important message.

2. Hire a virtual assistant.
You really should consider this if you want your business to grow.

For me, having someone to check my spelling and grammar is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my business.

3. Always over-deliver!
If your subject line states something, make sure to always deliver on that promise. However, to make people look forward to your next email, always try to over-deliver.

By over-delivering, you will encourage people to look forward to your next emails, as they know they can expect a lot of value from you. For me, there’s nothing better than opening an email expecting something and ending up with more than I expected to have.

It’s how you can have a good email transformed into a GREAT email.

That’s it for this article. I hope I gave you some good ideas that you can start using in your newsletters and emails to get better open rates.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and as always, use the social share buttons on this page to help spread this article to others who need to read it.

Thanks and I wish you the best with your email efforts,