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9 Ultimate Email Subject Line Hacks – The Definitive Guide


Discover the best email subject line hacks for advanced marketers and complete beginners

But before we go on, let me ask you an important question.

How many unread emails do you currently have in your inbox? 200? 500? Or like me 2739?

Just like the ones on your email list, I am one of those people that will not open an email if the subject line isn’t catchy.

This is why you have trouble with converting your email subscribers to loyal customers.

Your email isn’t the only email in their inbox.

They have tons of other emails dragging for their attention. It is reported that over 105 billion emails are sent every day. Besides, you have only 3 seconds to catch their attention.

They don’t have all day to read every mail that comes into their inbox.

So what do you do? How do you make your emails stand out?

How do you ensure that they click on your email and not another? How do you keep them loyal and anticipating your next mail?

In this article, you will learn (9) proven tips on how to write catchy top-notch email subject lines that will increase your email click and open rate.

Follow this guide and in no time you will be saying goodbye to an unresponsive email list forever.

Before we dig into these tips, arm yourself with the following information that will guide you on creating outstanding email subject lines;

Urgency: your email subject line must create a sense of urgency which should make your audience open it fast and not procrastinate

Curiosity: every human being has that curiosity button somewhere in their brains. They just need the right words to press on that button that will send them searching the whole place for more information. Your subject line should trigger that curiosity urge and they’ll hop on your email and soak its contents.

Email Content: Don’t ever think that your subscribers are dumb. If your email content does not match the awesomeness of your subject line, prepare to say goodbye to your subscribers.

It’s like dashing their hopes against a rock. They might just go ahead and click on the “unsubscribe” button. You don’t want that, do you?

Now let’s dig in!


Email Subject Line Hacks

1. Use Simple  Subject Lines

In a bid to make your subject line very catchy, don’t get carried away.

Sometimes, simplicity is the magic trick, once you overdo it, it gets boring.

This is the problem with overused alluring subject lines. Your audience gets used to and get tired of seeing all those cheesy subject lines and they know that it’s just another ploy to get their attention.

Mailchimp once did research on email subject lines and they found out that simple headlines fared better than the cheesy ones.

Especially for notification, orders or updates relating to the subscriber’s activity please keep it simple.

These kinds of emails have a particular purpose, hence the subject line must be straight to the point.  Here’s an example of a simple subject line.

i. 60-minute documentary attached

Best email headlines

ii. Exciting News 

Best email headlines

2. Add Some Humour to Your Email Subject Line

Adding some humorous flavour to your subject line can turn your open rates around.

This can help your email stand out among the many emails clamouring for attention. However, you can only do this when you know the kind of audience you have.

Be sure that they can get the sarcasm and humour in your subject line.

If you joke with the wrong audience, you might just get ignored.

It’s important that they “get the joke”. Because once they do, they’re definitely opening it.

Check out these funny email subject line hacks that have proven to convert.

i. This is Completely Crazy

Email Subject Line Hacks..

ii. Do YOU Hate Money or Something?

Email Subject Line Hacks for 2021

3. Consider Using Controversial or Shocking Subject Lines

Controversy sells. People are caught at attention when they see something shocking or controversial.

People want the gossip, the weird stuff and things you don’t hear every day.

Here, insults and shocking statements sometimes about the reader or someone popular can do the trick. But here again, you must tread carefully.

As I mentioned in the previous point, you must be sure that your audience understands your wits and sarcasm or you might lose them.

Now if you saw the following subject headlines, will you click on them?

Here are examples of email subject line hacks containing controversy or sarcasm

i. Bad News…

Email headline hacks

ii. How to Deal with Idiots

Email Subject Line Hacks.

iii. You won’t Believe This 

Email Subject Line Hacks for 2021..

4. Single Word Email Subject Lines Hacks 

Single-word email subject lines are unique and can catch the eye in the midst of long sentence subject lines.

While Google uses picture subject lines to grab the attention of the reader, the one-word subject line catches the eye at a quick glance.

Check these simple email subject line hacks out

New Email Subject Line Hacks for 2021..

Did you notice the one-word subject line by Amazon local? You can incorporate this technique into your email subject line.

Another word that has been widely used as a single word subject that grabs attention is ‘panic’. This single word brings to rapt attention the reader and sends in emotions.

They would want to click to know why they should panic or what they should panic about. You can make use of this… but wisely.

5. Take Advantage of Numbers and Lists

It has been proven that our brains are naturally drawn to digits.

In fact, blog titles with numbers and list are known to do well and what would fly as a good blog title can fly as an email subject line.

Our brains processes list easier and create curiosity in addition to the fact that it promises a quick and easy read.

Here are quick subject line examples:

i). 21 “never seen before” beauty makeup hacks

ii). 29 Dieting  Hacks for Quick Weight Loss

iii). 5 Racing Tactics Used in the Olympics

6. Personalize your Subject Line

Using personalization techniques in your email subject line is another great way to boost your Open rates.

There are several kinds of personalization techniques, one of which is the addition of the user’s name in the subject line.

mentioning someone’s name in your email subject line makes them feel concerned and special, this arouses their curiosity to open.

Here’s an example of an email I received and my heart skipped…

How to increase email deliverability

This email subject line hack used to be very effective but it has become overly used by email marketers and now users consider it as spam.

But there are other ways you can incorporate personalization into your email subject line. Instead, you can use location-specific offers, language, profession or interest targeting.

7. Add “Urgency” to Your Email Subject Line

Nobody likes to be left out. The fear of being left out make us follow the trend and this translates to more clicks on emails that make us feel like we’re going to be left out if we don’t take action immediately.

People will do anything just to avoid missing out.

Email subject lines with this scarcity trick perform well.

A lot of copywriters use these tactics on Facebook ads and sales pages. And it works pretty well.

Add some scarcity words and you might just see a great result.

Take a cue from these subject lines below.

How to increase email open rate


How to increase email open rate in 2021

These subject lines used numbers, scarcity, punctuation and partial capitalization for emphasis to get their subscribers clicking open.

8. Add Emoji’s, Symbols or Question marks 

This should be used wisely else, it may be a turn off if used repeatedly, emojis can also help in increasing your open rates. They are unusual and will definitely stand out in a subject line.

Use relevant symbols and keep experimenting to know what works best.

Here’s an example of a subject line with an emoji

Email Marketing for beginners 2020

9. Add Question Marks

The reader is more engaged with a question mark rather than a plain statement. It stimulates a dialogue with the user who will more often than not open the mail.

See an example below:

Email Subject Line Hacks for 2021

Here’s a List of Email Subject Line Hacks &  Best practices

Write several subject lines: Have a least 10 subject line for every email and then choose the best.


Don’t go above 30 -50 characters: It’s best to keep your subject headline fewer than 20 characters. Your subject line is likely to be cut off once it exceeds 50 characters.


Don’t Overuse caps: While caps helps when making emphasis, using all caps for your subject line screams “desperate for attention” and will likely be ignored. Rather use partial caps.


Understand your audience: A good understanding of your audience will help you make a good choice of words for your subject line. This is key in marketing as it will help you determine your time and mannerism that is in line with the interest of your audience.


Tone: People are more attracted to a conversational and casual tone. Sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy are known for these kinds of conversational headlines.


Call to Action: a simple call to action in your subject line can improve your open rates. Like in the subject line below, the action word “Go” was used to send users to open their mail. Check out more headline examples in a post from OptinMonster Blog


Use Your/You: Using these personal pronouns gives your readers a sense of importance in your email. Remember that marketing is none of you and all of your audience.


Put Yourself in the “from” field: Using your name in the form the field makes gives your email an authentic and professional outlook. E.g. James from Backlinkit. gives the reader the feeling that the email is from a trusted source.

Pay attention to the preview: Ensure that the email preview following the subject line is top-notch. It is a vital aspect of your email and must not be ignored.

Also Read:  Complete Email Marketing Strategy & Best Practices (Revealed)

Recommended: Watch this free Email Marketing Training (Video)

What do you think?

Written by Ferdinand Anok


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