One of the basics of internet marketing is the email—when you send someone an email, it’s pretty certain that they will receive the message. But will they care? Will they open it? And will they digest the information inside? Follow the links?
It all starts with the decision to click—which all starts with the subject line.
Here are the 10 best words for email subject lines, the implementation of which will significantly up your open rate.
Each of these words has statistics to back up its effectiveness-- many came from a study by Alchemy Worx, which used the Touchstone platform to analyze 21 billion emails from 2,500 brands and find the top five most effective subject line keywords (“upgrade,” “just,” “content,” “go,” and “wonderful”). Others come from other studies. No matter the source, these are words that have been proven to work!
1. The Recipient’s Name
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the number one best way to draw attention to your email via the subject line is to personalize it to include the recipient’s name. We are all programmed to respond to our names from birth, and that is a powerful draw. Whether you use their first name or their full name, this practice will grab the eye no matter what the rest of the subject line says or how many other emails in the inbox are using the same strategy.
“Upgrade” appearing in the subject line of an email led to a 65.7% increase compared to the average open rate.
This word is such a draw because it entices people with the promise of a better and/or easier day. Maybe they will have to pay for this upgrade, but if it’s a product or service they already like and trust, it’s a much easier decision to make.
“Just” led to a 64.8% increase compared to the average open rate.
The word “just” not only creates a call to action, but it implies that that action will be easy. For example, the subject line “Just watch this video to learn how to save on your phone bill!” promises practical information (“how to save on your phone bill”) in a call to action format (“watch this video”) while hinting that that action is going to be simple (“just”).
“Just” can also be used in the context of price: “Just $2.99?” as a subject line not only creates mystery and intrigue (a central goal of email subjects) but points out how surprisingly low the price is.
“Content” led to a 59% increase compared to the average open rate.
Content and its constituent information is the backbone of everything on the internet—when we turn to the web, what we’re seeking is knowledge. Promise people something rich in the information they need and want, and you’re well on your way to creating a loyal customer.
“Go” led to a 55.8% increase compared to the average open rate.
Like with “just,” “go” constitutes a clear call to action that is probably an easy and convenient one, whether that’s to go to an online place (“Go to our website for more deals!”) or a physical place “Go to the Westview Mall on December 9th for a surprise!”)
“Wonderful” led to a 55.1% increase compared to the average open rate.
“Wonderful” puts us in mind of snowy holidays (“the most wonderful time of the year”) and that childlike sense of awe that accompanies discovering something really, really awesome. Using this word in your subject line promises a discovery as mind-blowing as Christmas morning.
Yup, these are the “question words.” Asking a question in the subject line of an email will pique the interest of the reader and motivate them to find out the answer. In doing so, they presume that you are the one with the information, making you come across as a trustworthy and reliable source even before they’ve clicked through to your website.
Including a deadline will inspire immediate action due to the creation of a sense of urgency. If someone knows they only have three days until a sale ends, they’re much more likely to jump on the opportunity.
It’s also important information, presented in a way that’s easy and quick to digest. If you know you have an event to go to and the date is right in the subject line, your life is going to be a whole lot easier when you need a refresher on your schedule.
“Don’t” could have two applications: “don’t make this mistake” or the reverse psychology approach of “don’t do this thing we actually want you to do.”
In the first example, the audience is promised some very important information about what not to do, which can sometimes be even more valuable than advice on what one should do. It saves them from making a potentially embarrassing mistake.
In the second example, a subject line that surprises the reader by giving them counterintuitive advice can create the sense of intrigue that makes great subject lines. Maybe “Don’t waste your time blogging unless you’re going to do this one simple thing!” would be a great subject line for a marketing guru.
“Alert” increases opening rate by 61.8%.
“Alert” is another word that creates a sense of urgency. Whether this is an alert about the state of your account or a notification about a sale, it implies some state of emergency that needs to be acted on immediately or there will be consequences. Maybe your email’s topic isn’t quite so serious, but even including this word with a playful tone can make a difference.
You’re now equipped with the 10 best words for email subject lines. If applied correctly, they could make your opening rates skyrocket, converting more customers and building a loyal base. To learn even more ways to increase your open rates, subscribe below!