How to Get Your Messages Through with Better Subject Lines

Things are not looking good. We are living in an age of meaningless subject lines, unappealing headlines and boring content. But if you wish to change all that and send out emails that people actually care about and want to read, then this piece here is probably the most valuable thing you are going to read all day.

This morning, as usual, I opened my inbox and immediately started to feel sick – “Price Meltdown”, “Newsletter no. 7”, “The Best Women’s Day Gift Ideas” etc. I ticked all three boxes and clicked “delete all”. I considered unsubscribing, but decided I’m not going to spend my valuable time for all that. Next time.

It’s clear for me that most entrepreneurs just don’t get email marketing. They simply don’t know how to create real and practical value in their emails, so instead they are inflating too much hot air to their products and services and clogging our inboxes with these messages. But think for a second – if you know that your products and services are useful for the majority of your audience, but somehow your audience still refuses to open your emails, then there might be an issue with your emails or content.

If that’s the case, then You need to take a good long look at your email marketing and start to pay more attention to your content, starting with subject lines and headlines.

Advertising and copywriting legend David Ogilvy once changed the headline for Rolls Royce advert 104 times, before finding a perfect one. And he knew that the headline is king, because it will determine if your audience is going to read the rest of the copy or not. In your case, the same applies for your subject line. Find an email marketing platform that allows you to carry out A/B tests so you can find the perfect subject line for your business.

Human brain is pre-programmed to find opportunities for avoiding pain and negativity, rather than accomplishing something or creating new solutions from the scratch. But from the survival perspective, negative experiences have greater influence and your brain marks these impulses as “high priority”. Now this can be put to good use in email marketing.

Your subject line is therefore a perfect opportunity to highlight bad things that your product/service helps to avoid or the good things it helps to accomplish. But whatever you do, don’t write about yourself, your products or services – clients are not in to that. They care mostly about themselves and ways to resolve their daily issues. And if your product or service makes it easier for them, then it’s likely that they spend extra time reading your newsletter and ultimately – buying your products or services.

“Price Meltdown”, unfortunately, doesn’t apply to anything. Writing “Newsletter no. 7” as a subject means you just can’t be bothered with your business or clients or even success. And last but not least “The Best Women’s Day Gift Ideas” is especially stupid subject line when sending emails to your female recipients (We are not buying gifts for ourselves, you know!), plus the word “best” is vague and not measurable in any way at all.

So, if you are about to write a newsletter and want people to actually open and read it, then always pay attention to the following three key factors:


Who are those people you write for? What is their greatest fear or dream? If you get to know your audience, then it’s easier to pick a good subject line, that they can relate to and lead them all the way to a point of purchase.


What’s the most valuable element for your readers and how does it make their lives easier. As an entrepreneur, your first task is to find out what your clients actually need and why. Let’s take parents as an example and let’s say that their only son has just passed a driving test. They are now probably thinking about getting him a car. For these parents, it’s not about the cars age, appearance, top speed or any other technical specs – it’s about safety and assurance, that their kid is safe and protected behind the wheel. You might want to draft an email template with some eye-catching imagery as well, to get the customers really excited about their potential purchase.

This means that your product or service might have tens or even hundreds of benefits, but your customer might care about just one or two. But knowing WHY it’s like that, helps you to create real value and leads your clients to purchase.


Is your email subject promising something? Is it interesting enough for your reader or does it present a way for your audience to accomplish or avoid something? The subject determines whether your target group opens that particular email or not. According to statistics, 80% of articles are shared only because of the headline and 20% are shared because of the content. This is perfect example why it’s important to spend some good time writing your subjects and headlines.

It’s guaranteed that you get attention from your audience, if you are writing about what’s really important – their everyday issues, dreams, pleasures, accomplishments and challenges.

Subject line means everything, and you can’t underestimate the power behind a good subject. But remember to stay true and deliver everything your subject line has promised and back it up with a beatiful email content and design!

Good luck writing better subject lines and thank you for making email marketing better for everyone.

Author: Marlén Mais

What to keep in Mind:

  • To who are you writing to
  • What value does you newsletter add

Next: 12 Must-Know Tips and Tricks to Conquer Email Marketing for Your E-Commerce Business, Part 1

Successful e-commerce businesses build long-lasting relationships with their clients and prospects. Companies understand the value of a strong brand presence and timely, relevant communications. Hence, many of them invest in email marketing to achieve their goals. In our next blog post we will have a look at why it has become so popular.

Make sure you check our blog regularly and don’t forget to subscribe to our emails. Or you may want to follow up the last blog post on The Power of Voice: What Could The Future Hold For Email Marketing? if you’ve missed it out.