Stressing out over your subject lines?
Hey, we don’t blame you.
After all, those few choice words are make-or-break when it comes to email engagement.
Because you could have the best darn offer or sales letter lined up for your subscribers… but it doesn’t mean much if they snooze on your subject line.
And so you need to make each and every word count, all confined in such a tiny space.
The good news? Marketing gurus have relied on some tried-and-trusted power words to grab the attention of readers for decades.
And hey, you should totally use them, too!
Here’s the deal, though: power words are not magic. You can’t just stuff them into your subject lines and expect results.
That’s why we’ve put together a quick primer on how to use power words instantly make your subject lines more compelling.
By cycling through the options on this list, you can any take any subject from ordinary to extraordinary.
With that, let’s get into it!
There’s nothing quite like the power of “free,” is there?
Whether it’s a deal or download, freebies are a classic way to encourage clicks.
Getting something for nothing is a powerful marketing motivator that instantly sweetens just about any subject line.
“Free what? FREE SHIPPING” - MOO
“10 free sessions, 10 hot topics, 10 top experts. You in?!” - Sprout Social
“It’s happening tomorrow (free training)” - Jeff Goins
Although freebies are powerful, be careful not to overdo them.
Think about it: if you’re constantly giving stuff away from free, subscribers might be less inclined to purchase from you in the future. Likewise, people might start viewing you as a spammer that’s just trying to get their attention.
Since free offers are such a great gateway to fresh traffic for your site, consider saving such subject lines for your biggest marketing pushes.
It’s also a great label to tack onto to messages for your lead magnets. This emphasizes the idea of “Hey, you’re getting something of value from me for nothing in return! How nice am I? ”
Whether your subscribers admit or not, they love attention.
When they hear from a business or brand, they want to feel like they’re getting a personalized message that’s just for them.
Of course, the reality is that we’re all blasting emails to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people at a time.
Even so, using “you” in your subject line is a proven marketing tactic that just plain works to get readers to stop in their tracks.
Although your readers know you aren’t literally talking to them one-on-one, “you” makes an instant, split-second connection that can encourage that valuable click-through moment.
“We picked you!” - Ipsy
“Because you're awesome ? Enjoy THIS email exclusive offer” - Musician’s Friend
“You are a boss ?” - Trello
You-based subject lines can be used frequently without feeling spammy or cheesy.
Making your subject line you-focused is a smart move if you’re struggling to come up with an idea in the first place.
Again, doing so ensures that you keep your copy and message focused on your customer rather than yourself.
We always want the latest and greatest when it comes to just about anything, right?
Your contacts are the same way!
From breaking news to fresh products, using the word “new” taps into your readers’ brains and immediately encourages them to see what’s up.
“Your new seasons staples are here!” - H&M
“So I’m doing something new...:” - Derek Halpern of Social Triggers
“What’s New on Glitch” - Glitch
Although not everything you put out to your list needs to be presented as groundbreaking news, the term is perfect for hyping up your latest content.
Publish a fresh blog post? Got a crazy new study to share with your subscribers? Rolling out a new launch?
Don’t be shy about it!
Many readers subscribe to email lists because they have problems they need solved. How-to subject lines do double-duty of presenting yourself as a helping hand while also tapping into your readers’ desire to learn something new.
“How to Get Around Google’s Latest Algorithm Change” - Neil Patel
“Come learn how to make a Gif with us!” - Jacky Winter
“How to get a one-letter domain” - Product Hunt
Whether it’s a simple piece of advice or a long-form post, “how-to’s” can be used as often as you want.
That said, strive to make your “how-to” subject lines actionable and specific like the ones above.
This keeps your readers from putting up a mental barrier and not clicking through because what you’re inviting them to do is too vague.
For example, “How I made $1000/mo with daily blogging” is a more compelling subject line versus “How to make money.”
See how that works?
5. “?” (Question-Based Subject Lines)
Tapping into our natural curiosity, framing your emails as questions is a classic tactic to encourage a response.
Much like you-based messages, questions address the reader directly and causes them to pause and reflect.
“Planet or Plastic?” - National Geographic
“Interested in opportunities?” - Remote
“Am I the only one with lots of questions?” - The Rise to the Top
Although asking questions is a great way to encourage interactions with your readers, clickbaiting them is a dangerous game.
There needs to be some sort of payoff and guarantee that your questions are relevant to the meat of your message. And while you can use questions often, they shouldn’t be the only type of message you send.
Email marketing is a conversation, after all. If all you’re doing is asking questions, the conversation starts to feel a bit one-sided, you know?
And with that, we wrap things up!
What Power Words Will You Pack Into Your Next Subject Line?
There’s no denying the effectiveness of power words in your subject lines.
That is, if you know how to plug them in the right way.
Hopefully this list was a much-needed dose of inspiration as you brainstorm ideas for future campaigns that compel your readers to click!