5 Subject Line Strategies That Will Increase Your Open Rates

JJ TysonRemarketing Experience

A great subject line has the power to make or break your open rate. With users receiving upwards of 80 emails per day, businesses need solid subject line strategies to make their emails stand out from the crowd.

Even though we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, users will judge your email by its subject line. So how can you craft an engaging line that excites readers? Let’s take a look at 5 subject line strategies that can enhance your open rates. 

1. Use Numbers

Let’s start with an obvious but important observation: inboxes are full of words. When a user sees row upon row of word salad, individual messages can get lost.

Numbers can help you stand out from the pack and catch the attention of the reader. What kinds of numbers you ask? 

Try using a fact or statistic. For instance:

-“10 Ways to Refresh Your Decor This Fall”

– “2 Coats + 2 Jackets = 4 Winter Must-Haves”

-“Increase revenue by 30%. That’s not a typo.” 

-“70% of our list won’t open this message. They’re missing out.” 

While numbers are a great way to attract attention, don’t force it. For example, don’t replace the words “for” and “to” with their numerical soundalikes. Integrate numbers into your email subject lines organically. If they seem wedged in, this subject line strategy is unlikely to attract positive attention.

2. Put Your Incentive Front and Center

As we’ve discussed before, even a small incentive can spur a customer to action and get them excited about your brand. If you’re offering the reader free shipping, make sure you say so. If you’re giving them $10 off their order, let them know as soon as they see the email. Make sure they’re aware of the value your message is going to provide.

Alternatively, you can keep your incentive purposely general to evoke a sense of curiosity. Something as simple as “An Exclusive Offer Just for You” can be enough to make the user want to learn more.

The most important thing is to ensure the customer knows that your email contains an incentive. Otherwise, users may be less likely to open your message.

3. Address the Reader By Name

People love seeing and reading their own name. In his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie offers the following quote: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

As it turns out, neuroscientists agree. A 2006 study found that our brains are programmed to respond differently to our own name than to other stimuli. When someone addresses us by name, we tend to pay attention.

Using a respondent’s name in the subject line makes your email stand out from the inbox jumble. If the rest of your line is interesting, you’re more likely to win their attention – and potentially, their business. 

4. Be Witty

We sometimes roll our eyes at puns. However, when your inbox is teeming with dull business speak, a little humor can be incredibly effective. 

For example, instead of: 

“20% Off Fall Styles” … try 

“Leaves are Falling – So are our Prices”


“Looking for Fall Deals? We’ve g’autumn.” 

These small jokes aren’t likely to induce riotous laughters, but they may make your reader smile. This subject line strategy increases positive feelings about your brand, and draws attention to your message.

5. Utilize Urgency

Most of us get marketing messages every day. If you’re reaching out to your customers on a regular basis, they may start to wonder what makes each individual email worth opening. That’s why it’s important to give them a reason to read your message immediately. 

Many of us see emails and think “I’ll get to that later.” Often, such messages are promptly forgotten. Other messages pile on top of it like a snowdrift, and just like that – it’s gone – buried in a slush of similar messages. 

Urgency gives readers a reason to pay attention to your message.

For instance, rather than:

“Shop Brand X Clearance Sale Now”


“Clearance Deals are Going Fast! Shop Before They’re Gone”

A Message Worth Reading

Every conversion starts by capturing a user’s attention. Afterwards you can seal the deal with great graphics and intriguing copy.

A great subject line increases engagement, keeps readers interested, and sets the stage for higher conversion rates.

Looking for More Ways to Increase Your Conversions?

Check out UpSellit’s 27 Attributes of an Effective Email. This in-depth guide covers the ins-and-outs of crafting the perfect remarketing email. It’s a great resource and it’s totally free! Download it today and start writing awesome emails that convert.

27 Attributes of an Effective Email