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You craft a killer email, cross your fingers there are no typos, hesitantly click “send” to blast it out to your list, and then…wait. 

If you check your email stats on a regular basis, you may be disappointed with your open rates. (A good rule of thumb is to expect a 20-25% open rate, and that’s a HIGH number. Some people with bigger lists will be in the 10-15% range, but everyone is different! If you have a smaller list, you may be crushing it at 60%+, but those kinds of stats are usually reserved for small, dedicated lists.)

No matter your stats, wouldn’t you like to see your open rates go up? Email marketing is the highest converting form of marketing there is…but you can’t sell to someone who’s deleting your emails before they even open them.

The biggest determining factor of getting your emails looked at is your subject line.

Today, I want to encourage you to think about the last few subject lines of the emails you’ve sent. Did you put much thought into them? Did they really capture the eyes of the readers, or the heart of the message you’re sharing?

Here are my top seven suggestions for creating strong subject lines:

  1. Make it about the reader. It’s the difference between saying “What I Read This Week” vs. “The Book You Have To Buy TODAY.” (And as a sidenote — this is good marketing practice in general. Always try to keep your copy about what’s in it for them.)
  2. Use one of these top-performing headlines. I bookmarked this page months ago and still refer back to it when I’m feeling stuck.
  3. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t get too wordy, or your subject will not show completely in most email platforms. “Here’s the video you requested” is much stronger than “Here’s the video you requested on how to get your mojo back; let me know what you think!” I used to work for the National Speakers Association, and on occasion, our name would be shortened to “National Speakers Ass…” Length matters in this case.
  4. Repurpose your best line from the email. If you just wrote a killer motivational email, find the best line from it, and use that as your subject line. This will pique the interest of those who are interested in the topic, and you’ll get more of the right kind of views from those who are really interested in what you have to share.
  5. Make it personal and friendly. Think of scrolling through hundreds of emails. Which one will you open first: the one from your friend, or the one from a list you just signed up for but don’t really know yet? Your readers will be more likely to open an email if they think it’s directly written from you to them. Use the merge fields function in your email marketing system to include their first name, and make it super friendly, a la “Hey << First Name >>, I have something exciting to share with you!
  6. Include “Re:” This one is kind of controversial, but it can be really powerful if you use it sparingly. Use something like “Re: your yoga practice” to “trick” your reader into thinking you’re replying to an email they sent you. But please don’t use it in every email, because you’ll turn into the writer who cried wolf.
  7. Use emojis! This is just for fun. I’m honestly not even sure if it increases open rates, but I always love when people send me emojis in email subjects. You can find online versions on this site, and then just copy-paste them into your subject lines.

So there you have it — my top 7 tricks to get your emails opened by more readers. Don’t be afraid to try a few out, and take note of what works best. Every list is different, and the most important thing is that you’re emailing them in the first place.


PS: Don’t underestimate the “pre-headline” text or the first few lines of your email, either! Those show up in the preview of most email providers, and they’re another way to hook your readers into wanting to read more.