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We can’t understate just how important subject lines are to email campaigns. They’re the first thing your subscriber sees when your mail pops up in their inbox, they’re the driving force to open your email, and they could also be the last thing your subscriber sees of your email if it’s not interesting or engaging enough.

So how do you make a good subject line? We’ve got some tried-and-tested formulas to help you grab your customer’s attention.

1 – The Question

Birdie has questions

Questions make for great subject lines as they immediately engage with the customer, making them think about how the question you’ve asked relates to them. So, straight away they’re thinking about your campaign, and they haven’t even opened it yet!

The right kind of question to ask is one that will resonate with your customer and their previous experiences, one that will make them curious to know more about the answer to the question you’ve asked and whether or not their answer was the “right” one.

Some examples:

  • Do you check your emails before you get out of bed?
  • Are you also a zombie before you’ve had your morning coffee?
  • How about not opening this email?
  • What can you afford?
  • Do you often miss out on amazing offers?

The reason these subject lines work is they’re broad enough that the reader can most likely relate to the question (either yes or no), but they’re also compelled to click through to learn more about how their answer or their experience will affect them. Don’t make your question too specific (unless you know your target audience really well), and remember that people will respond better to affirmatives, so phrase your question so that most people will be answering Yes.

2 – The How To

How to questionThe How To subject line is an easy formula that works incredibly well, and helps you get to chase when it comes to the content of your email. All you need to do is start your subject line with “How to” and take it from there. For example:

  • How to get your marketing right first time
  • How to survive in this crazy marketing world
  • How to increase your sales tenfold

The trick with the How To subject line is to focus on the benefits that will be gained. Nobody’s really that interested in learning new processes or completely overhauling their practises, they just want to know about the end benefit that’s going to be to their advantage and take a shortcut to getting that benefit – the shortcut is up to you to provide!

3 – The In Demand

Limited time offer

Rarity or scarcity is a powerful driving factor, when something is limited or in short supply we tend to be much quicker to act than if we think we’ve got more time or more resources are available. Things that are perceived as “In Demand” are seen as worth more to us. So, it stands to reason that adding a time, availability or resource limitation will encourage your customers to jump on your email immediately:

  • Only 1 day left to get 30% off all books
  • Act now! We’re 90% Sold Out!
  • Hot prices only valid today

When using an “In Demand” subject line, focus on the importance of your offer. Make sure your offer matters, otherwise your customer won’t really care and adding limitations to make your offer seem more “In Demand” won’t be relevant to them.

4 – The Announcement


A good subject line is going to pique your customers’ interest, and what better way to do that than by using words like “New” and “Introducing” and “Welcome”? An “Announcement” subject line is going to offer some breaking news for your customer, and get them curious about whatever it is that you’re letting them in on.

Some examples of an announcement subject line are:

  • Introducing the brand new TouchBasePro
  • We’ve updated our app, here’s what’s new
  • Have you seen our new designs?

By encouraging your customers to access this brand new information, you’ll increase opens and clicks on your campaigns. Just be sure it’s pertinent to your customer’s interests!  

5 – The Personalisation

Coke bottle with personalized names

We’ve touched on personalised email campaigns before, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t go over it again. A personalised subject line adds a sense of familiarity, and is also eye-catching in the inbox. People respond to their names being used, just like calling them from across the room.

Talking to your subscribers directly encourages them to interact with your email by coming across as more sincere and more relevant than the other mails in their inbox.

In conclusion

Your subject line is vital to your email campaign, it’s what will entice your readers to open your email so don’t get lazy with it. Play around with the types of subject line formulas we’ve suggested here, try combining one or more ideas and don’t forget to use TouchBasePro’s A/B Testing feature to see what your subscribers respond to.

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