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Make Catchy Email Subject Lines with High Open Rates

June 17, 2022

Open fast… or die slow. If you want to hit them where it converts, you’ll have to do it in the subject line. More specifically, the email subject line. Anyone sending a cold (or warm) email these days has to navigate the spam waters all the way through to the right person’s eyes. Even then, the outreach team’s job isn’t complete. Why? Because everyone who reads emails is basically trained or annoyed into avoiding anything that even remotely looks like spam. Thanks a lot, aggressively pushy and intense email marketing campaigns. Never fear, curious marketer. Here’s how you can get it right the first time.

How to Think of a Catchy Email Subject Line That Converts

When the target audience reads your subject line, ya gotta’ make them feel it. It’s what gets the people going after all. If you don’t capture their trust and attention in the first few seconds, you’ve dropped the ball. Odds are, they’ll probably mark you off as spam (mentally and literally) and move on. To avoid that dreaded, wasteland of a folder, consider this:

Offer target audience something worthwhile.

What’s your pitch? What will you say to get them to open the email? This is one route you can take when drafting an email subject line, but it is not the only way. If your campaign is to grow awareness for your product or service, then you could offer a discount in the subject line.

Get personally relevant.

No matter where you are in the sales funnel, getting up close and personal to your audience is always a good way to grab their attention. What pain points do your customers have? Offer them a solution. For example, if your customer always buys sneakers from your shoe store, it’s probably not the best idea to brag about new dress shoes in your subject line.

Don’t establish urgency.

Act now! Don’t let time go to waste! So many marketing “gurus” think that establishing urgency will get your customer’s FOMO at an all-time high. But, that is not always the case. For some demographics, maybe. But, these types of subject lines reek of spam, and that isn’t even the worst of it. For those who open the email anyway, prepare for disappointment. Odds are, what you’re offering in the email body isn’t as cool as what they thought they’d get from your vague, urgent subject line. If you do choose to follow this path, make sure you’re as upfront as possible and don’t embellish just for an open.

Maybe use their name.

Sometimes this looks spammy, mostly it doesn’t. However, don’t use their name for every email… but do use it… and use it often. For example, you should use a customer's name when you’re thanking them or being sincere. Definitely use their first name in the opening of your email, but body templates are a talk for another time.


Keep it sweet and simple. Subject lines are supposed to be light and concise. You also can’t have it getting cut off if your customer reads the email with their mobile device or a minimized browser. For best practices, subject lines shouldn’t be longer than 30 characters. Test send the email and check for yourself. To sum up, the shorter, the better. Chit chat is for inside the email.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Brainstorming Email subject lines

If you’re like most people and have issues coming up with brilliant email subject lines, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few helpful questions to consider when coming up with catchy email subject lines that will get your customers clicking “open” in no time.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do they care about?
  • Is there a problem you can help them solve?
  • How can you do that better (cheaper, quicker, easier) than your competitors?
  • Who are your competitors and what are they doing?
  • What’s worked in the past and do you know why?

We find that if you ask yourself the right questions during brainstorming sessions, sometimes the creative juices come pouring right out.

Measuring Email Subject Line Success

Anyone can say they have a stellar email marketing campaign with the best open rates in the biz. But how do you prove it? How is success in an email marketing campaign measured exactly? We just said it: open rates. However, that’s only half the battle. Motives, click-through rates, and engagement are also important. Ensure your email marketing software keep tabs on the following metrics:

  • Email open rate
  • Client demographics
  • List quality
  • Subscriber engagement
  • Analytics

If you’re thinking of starting a successful email marketing campaign, make sure you’re using decent tracking software that will answer the questions that matter. In conclusion, paint a picture of your clients and their dreams, make them come true, and you’ll have a loyal customer for life.

Need Some Guidance?

If the whole e-mail marketing thing seems a bit out of your wheelhouse, you’re not alone. Get out of the driver’s seat and let us take the wheel. Cork Tree Creative’s savvy marketing team knows what works and can put their bright minds together towards amplifying your e-mail marketing campaigns to crowds that matter. We create customer personas, A and B test, track important metrics, and get you where you need to be. Contact us today.