Crafting Better Subject Lines to Increase Conversions


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Let’s be honest. People open emails primarily because of their subject line, and if you want consistently high open rates, your subject lines must be top tier. That said, even the best marketers have a tough time with subject lines — so, don’t get discouraged if you’re having trouble too. 

Grab your subscribers’ attention and compel them to open every email you send. Do the following to improve your subject lines. 

Participate in Extensive Brainstorming Sessions 

Many marketers go with the first subject line they come up with. But even if you end up going with your initial subject line, it’s better to talk through multiple ideas to ensure you’re choosing the best one for the message you want to convey. 

Participating in extensive brainstorming sessions for your email subject lines is a wise idea. Ask your team members to join you or do them independently if you’re a one-person marketing team. Use brainstorming methods like mind mapping to organize your subject line ideas and flesh out their potential success. 

The more time you spend in productive brainstorming sessions about your subject lines, the better they’ll be. 

Don’t Be Overly Promotional  

When crafting better subject lines to increase conversions, a firm rule to go by is: don’t be overly promotional. To explain it another way, it’s okay to promote things in your subject lines. But you don’t need to do it all the time. 

Finding a balance between just enough promotion and too much is essential. If every subject line starts with “Buy [this],” “Look at [these] products,” or “Invest in [this] service,” you’re being overly promotional. And being overly promotional in your subject lines can be a red flag for your subscribers, especially with the recent increase in spam emails hitting people’s inboxes. 

So, refrain from making every email you send about promoting something. A “Your Favorite Product is 20% off” or “Our Summer Sale is in Two Weeks” email should only be part of your email marketing campaigns, not the entirety of them. 

Promoting things in your subject line is okay so long as you don’t come off spammy

No Clickbait Headlines 

In addition to not being overly promotional and spammy, you mustn’t ever feed your subscribers clickbait headlines. Instead, when your subscribers read your subject line, it should clearly indicate what’s to come in your email. 

You don’t have to “trick” your subscribers into opening your email with subject lines that are intriguing but have nothing to do with what your email content is about. Instead, use subject lines that give your subscribers a peek into what they can expect to read. 

For example, the subject line, “Kim Kardashian is Getting Married to Pete Davidson,” for an email about your latest product launch is hugely misleading. Instead, use something like, “It’s finally here…[insert name of new product].” 

Never write a subject line that makes it seem like you’re writing about one thing when you’re really writing about something entirely different. 

Keep it Short and Simple 

Your subscribers’ attention span is getting shorter and shorter. So, the last thing you should do is make your subject lines longer. Keep them short and simple instead. Use the least amount of words to convey what your email is about compellingly. 

Easy-to-read copy is critical. “Here’s a look at our newest product line and a discount code for when you purchase any of these new products” is way too long. “A Hefty Discount for [Name of product line] products” is much better. Even something as simple as “Hey [subscriber name]” can be effective. 

Short and simple is critical.  

Power Words are Your Friend 

Power words are so persuasive they trigger an emotional or psychological response and prompt someone to take action. As long as you don’t overdo it with power words, they can be fantastic for your subject lines. 

Use 1-2 power words max in your subject lines. Examples of power words to use are: 

  • Guilt-free 
  • Heartwarming 
  • Huge 
  • Genius
  • Stunning 
  • Embarrassing 
  • Unexpected 
  • Bold
  • Affordable 
  • Fail-proof 
  • Brilliant 

Power words are your friend, so embrace them. 

Speak to the Value in Your Email 

As much as you wish it were, your email isn’t the only one hitting your subscribers’ inboxes. They’re sifting through hundreds of emails a day. So, standing out via your email subject lines is more important than ever. Speaking to the value in your email can help.  

Define why the email you’re sending is valuable to your subscribers. Then, give them a glance at that value in your subject line. 

For instance, let’s say you’re writing an email about why buying from sustainable clothing lines is better than fast fashion. In that case, the value could be that they’re helping save the planet. A good subject line might be, “Can you save the planet by changing who you’re wearing?” 

When you can give a glimpse into the value of an email through its subject line, your subscribers will be more inclined to open it. 


It’s worth the time and effort you put into crafting better subject lines because you can get more people to open your emails and convert. Use the tips above to make your subject lines as compelling and convincing as possible. 

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She has a passion for writing about digital marketing, cybersecurity, and sustainability. You can find her on Twitter as @hamiltonjori.

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