Content & Copywriting

How to Send Better Emails (Part 2)


In part 1, we talked about the design and content of your email campaign. In part 2 of How to send better emails, we will discuss the importance of a good subject line.

No matter how good your newsletter content is, your emails need to get opened first. It is reported that 35% of recipients decide whether to open an email or not – based on the subject line alone.

But wait, what is an effectively crafted subject line that persuades your recipients to actually open your emails? Well, it’s not as easy as it seems. That’s why we give you five helpful tips for how to write an effective subject line that gets your emails opened.

1. Personalize your subject line:

Humans have a natural tendency to be self-centered. And seeing your name in the subject line is, as the author of the classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie, so beautifully expresses, “a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language for that person”. Therefore always use the recipient’s name in your subject line as it talks directly to the recipient.

Some examples:

  • Hi [name], here is your special offer!
  • Hi [name], where have you been?
  • Hi [name], did you like your recent purchase?

In fact, having a name in the subject line can increase the email open rates from 5.8% to about 7%, according to a report, and also deliver amazing 6 times higher transaction rates.

Tips on personalizing your subject line: Segment your subscribers into separate subscriber lists. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you could segment your recipients according to purchased products. Another way is to segment users according to personal data, such as interests, age, and location.

2. Use Scarcity

People don’t want to miss out on things because that can cause regrets, and we humans are naturally drawn to things that are hard to get – in other words, scarce. Therefore using scarcity in your subject lines is an effective way to bring some hard-to-get exclusivity to your subject line. Scarcity can be used to give a feeling that the offer is more exclusive and therefore triggers the recipient to open the email.

Some examples:

  • Hi [name], only 24 hours left before you miss out on this special offer
  • Hi [name], only 1 spot left, take your seat now, or it will expire in 24 hours.
  • Hi [name], 1,2,3 – only 3 days left to save 40% on our newest product.

3. Use curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat – but curiosity can also make for a killer subject line. Because people are naturally drawn to the unknown, they do not want to be left hanging on a string of not knowing the unknown.

Some examples of curiosity-arousing subject lines:

  • Hi [name], if you were this person, would you do the same?
  • Hi [name], so good you don’t wanna know
  • Hi [name], one piece is missing, can you guess which?

4. Use humor

Humor is the shortest distance between 2 people – and can be particularly effective to use on a subject line. Why not spread a smile as the first thing you do with your email subject line? We happily trust someone more who can bring a smile to our faces, according to psychology.

Some examples of humorous subject lines:

  • Hi [name], If it smells like fish – you can’t have it as a dish – unless you wish
  • Hi [name], What’s brown and sounds like a bell? DUNGGGgggg
  • Hi [name], What’s up and what’s going down? Your mood when you open this mail.

5. Use randomness

Using a subject line that plays on the subject of randomness can cause curiosity for the recipient to open the email and read the content.

Some examples:

  • Hi [name], a belly so fat it can be used as a ball blank
  • Hi [name], who knew? Something got him started.
  • Hi [name], in the name of love, where is the love?

A subject line that focuses on humor, curiosity, scarcity, or a dose of randomness can increase email open rates. But knowing which powerful words trigger an emotional response from the email recipient can prove even more powerful. This is what we call the art of power words.

But which are these so-called power words that trigger an emotional response?

A study by Smart Insight concluded that the following TOP 5 power words have the biggest impact on email open rates:

  1. Introducing
  2. Celebrate
  3. Buy
  4. Continue
  5. Get your

Another study by Alchemy Worx showed that the following TOP 5 power words affect email open rates positively:

  1. Upgrade
  2. Just
  3. Content
  4. Go
  5. Wonderful

Takeaway: There is really no magic bullet for which words to use in a subject line. The research can give you an idea of which words to use. But it ultimately comes down to a simple truth: you got to A/B test your subject lines to build your own research.


If your small business hasn’t started focusing on email marketing as the primary marketing channel, you are surely missing out on a big piece of the profits that email marketing can bring your small business. In fact, 86% of businesses reported that they plan to increase their email marketing budgets. So make sure that your small business as well includes email marketing as a crucial element of your marketing strategy.

Next: Visual Elements in Email Marketing: A Brief Overview

Despite many restrictions email marketing has, we all want to make our emails look professional and engaging. Proper use of visual elements in our emails can help to create beautifully designed templates, enhancing the content and calls-to-action. So, in our next blog post, we’ll have a closer look at visual elements in email marketing.

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