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97% Open Rate: The Psychology of Your Subject Line

Learn how to create effective email subject lines using psychological tactics to boost open rates by 97% and improve engagement in your email campaigns.

Photo by Bret Kavanaugh / Unsplash

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The first thing people see when they get your email is the subject line. It's crucial because it's your chance to grab their attention and get them to actually open your email. With people getting hundreds of emails a day, your email needs to stand out. But did you know there are some psychology tricks to make your subject lines irresistible?

We'll cover everything from using social proof and scarcity to create subject lines that are hard to ignore.

Why Subject Lines Matter So Much:

  • Almost half of email users decide to open an email based on the subject line alone.
  • On the other hand, if your subject line seems spammy, you risk your email being ignored or marked as spam.
  • A great subject line grabs attention, sets the stage for what's in the email, and avoids triggering spam filters.
  • It can boost your open rates, which can lead to more clicks and conversions.

7 Tactics for Effective Email Subject Lines:

Image: The Newsletter Startup
Prove It
  1. Social Proof: People tend to follow what others are doing. So, showing that others find your email valuable can make more people want to open it. This builds trust and reduces skepticism.
  2. Examples:
    • "Join 10,000+ Professionals Who've Transformed Their Career with Our Insights!"
    • "97% of Our Subscribers Report Increased Productivity"
  3. Endowment Effect and Loss Aversion: People value what they have more and fear losing it. Use this in your subject lines to make people curious about what they might miss out on.
  4. Examples:
    • "Don't Miss Out on Our Limited-Time Offer – Act Now!"
    • "Your Exclusive Access to Our Latest Software Upgrade"
  5. Marketing Scarcity Principle: Make your offer seem rare or time-limited. This creates urgency and increases the value of your email in the reader's eyes.
  6. Examples:
    • "Last Chance: Exclusive Offer Ends Tomorrow!"
    • "Only 3 Days Left to Register for [Event]"
  7. Storytelling: A good story can make your email more memorable and engaging. Use your subject line to start a story that your reader will want to finish.
  8. Examples:
    • "Meet Sarah: The Marketer Who Tripled Her ROI"
    • "Overcoming the Sales Slump: A Tale of Triumph"
  9. Autonomy Bias: People like to feel in control of their choices. Give them a sense of choice in your subject line.
  10. Examples:
    • "Your Personal Invitation: Join Our Elite Circle Today"
    • "Choose Your Preferred Time for a Demo"
  11. Information Gap Theory: Spark curiosity by suggesting there's something they need to know inside your email.
  12. Examples:
    • "Are You Making These Costly Email Mistakes?"
    • "The One Thing Your Competitors Don't Want You to Know"
  13. Temporal Landmarks & Discounting: Use specific times or events to create a sense of urgency or relevance.
  14. Examples:
    • "Unlock Exclusive Savings: Start the New Quarter Strong!"
    • "Act Fast: Special Anniversary Discount Inside"
Image: The Newsletter Startup
It Takes Some Practice

Best Practices:

  • Know your audience and tailor your subject lines to them.
  • Keep them clear, specific, and under 60 characters.
  • Use action words and personalize where you can.
  • Test different versions to see what works best.
  • Avoid using spam trigger words and excessive punctuation.

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Stay away from clickbait and misleading language.
  • Don't use all caps or too much punctuation.
  • Avoid being too vague or making unrealistic promises.

Your email subject line is like a mini-advertisement for your email. It's got to be catchy and compelling to get people to open it. Use these tips and examples to create subject lines that grab attention and get results. The goal is to get your message read and acted upon, so put some thought into those few crucial words at the top of your email.