How To Write Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened

Writing Subject Lines That Speak Directly To Your Recipient’s Motivations.


It’s important that you generate an understanding of the way people process information in order to craft email subject lines that speak directly to their motivations.


To help you get your emails opened, Carly Stec, Content Marketing Manager, IMPACT, details 4 psychologically-backed tips for approaching your next subject line.


1.  Ask a question

  • Humans are conditioned to answer questions to the point where it starts to feel like a reflex.
  • Why?
  • Quite simply, questions stimulate the brain.
  • The key to effectively using questions in subject lines is to focus on aligning the question presented with a pain point felt by the recipient.
  • Let’s say you know this particular list struggles with driving traffic to their website.
  • A logical question to present them with would be something like“Want to increase website traffic in 2015?”
  • This question speaks directly to their pain point and provides them with an opportunity to begin actively thinking about their need for your product or service.


2.  Promote exclusivity

Anyone who has taken Psychology 101 in college has heard of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs….



You’ll notice that towards the top of the pyramid sits esteem, which refers to our need for mastery, status, prestige, etc.

Marketers have found that creating content that aims to appeal to these needs has proved effective in drumming up interest and motivating people to take a desired action.


3.  Add personalization

  • Proven research has found that hearing your own name, as opposed to someone else’s, triggers a unique brain functioning activation in the middle frontal cortex, middle and superior temporal cortex, and cuneus.
  • In Carly’s research, she found that in this study, the research explored the auditory reaction to hearing one’s name, also that people respond positively to seeing their own name appear in marketing material as well.
  • Think about Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign.
  • By replacing their logos with 250 popular names and terms of endearment, the company’s was able to transcend over a decade of declining sales.
  • When it comes to your subject lines, you need to leverage personalization.
  • “With The Science of Email Marketing reporting that emails including first name personalization had higher click-through rates than those that did not (5.8% vs 7%), you simply can’t afford not to”…..says Carly


4.  Tailor the content

  • Both context and relevance play a huge part in our ability to process and retain information.
  • It’s critically important that we employ relevant, actionable subject lines that aim to rise above the noise.
  • The best way to ensure this type of uber relevance is to leverage list segmentation.
  • Rather than blast out a generalized email to the entire database with a subject line like “This just in: new merchandise for 2015”, consider how segmentation can be used to help you stand out.
  • Announcing specific merchandise based off the purchasing behavior of specific lists (females, males, departments, etc) will help you to more effectively earn the attention of your recipients.



If you enjoyed this post and found TONS OF VALUE, please take a moment and share….Thank You!


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To Your Success,
Joan Harrington



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0 Replies to “How To Write Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened”

  1. Hi Joan,
    Great list, asking questions is really good one
    as your brain go straight in a searching for the answer mood,
    and just won’t leave you alone till you get the answer 🙂

    Thank you,
    Have a fantastic day!

  2. HEY, yes, lots of value today! Thank you so much. I know it is recommended for people to spend at least half the time it takes to write a blog post, or more, coming up with the headline. I love your tips and will definitively keep them in mind!

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