4 Ways to Write Email Subject Lines that Actually Get Opened

Uncategorized Jan 13, 2020

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“Isn’t email dead, Kathryn?” is a question I hear far too often from my clients and potential clients. 

The truth is EMAIL is alive and well and the one place you should definitely invest your energy. In fact, if you haven’t started building an email list I highly suggest you start now. 


Because your email list is something you own. It’s an asset for your business. And it allows you to build a highly engaged audience that is saying yes to wanting to hear from you.

The mistake I see most entrepreneurs make is diving feet first into the social media game spending all of their energy building a following, a following they don’t technically own. 

Now don’t get me wrong, social media has a place in your biz strategy. But let me tell you a true story. A mentor of mine recently lost her entire FB biz page. 


Like that it was gone. All that hard work to grow her following only to have it gone in an instant. 

I don’t tell you this story to freak you out, but to raise awareness about the realities of relying solely on your social following to build a highly engaged audience.

This is also why I am a big supporter of growing an email list. And the subject line is the first step to get your audience taking action and reading your stuff. It’s the hook that's going to get your audience clicking heck yes I want to read this email. 

And you and I both know that our inboxes are jammed full, which creates a lot of competition for our audiences’ attention. 

That is why I want to help you write non-sucky subject lines so that you can increase your open rates and build a highly engaged audience that loves what you are serving. 

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in sista!

1. Use Power Words

Using power words is one of the most effective ways to write subject lines that get opened. When used correctly power words evoke emotion and trigger curiosity. And they spice up your content and inspire your audience to take action. 

*cue applause*

I mean we all want that, right? 

So, it’s important to get into the habit of using power words in your subject lines. Not sure what power words are, don’t worry I have your back. 

As mentioned above power words evoke emotion and trigger curiosity. Examples of these types of words include: sick and tired, overwhelmed, burnout, inspired, desirable, killer, crush, results, tested, and best-seller. 

More ideas of power words can be found here

2. Ditch Clichés

Gotta love clichés but they have no place in your subject lines. In fact, they don’t have a place in any of your copywriting. If you want to improve your copy ditch them all together. 


Because when they are overused they become white noise. And you and I both know white noise isn’t a good thing when it comes to grabbing your audiences’ attention. 


Still unsure what a cliché is, here are some common ones that slip into our vocabulary from time to time. 

    Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
    All that glitters isn't gold.
    Don't get your knickers in a twist.
    Only time will tell.

And hey, I get it. I catch myself using clichés too. 

I mean they sound punchy. They are great analogies. But they were only great the first time they were used. Not the 100th time they were used.

Got it! 

3. Create FOMO aka Fear of Missing Out

FOMO is the real deal my friend. People hate missing out on good deals, ideas, or things to avoid. So if you can write subject lines that create FOMO you’ll watch your open rates rise.

Here are some examples of subject lines that have performed well for me: 

    Don’t ever do this, trust me!!
    5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Copy
    Learn how I grew my biz from $0 to $225,000 in sales

Here are prompts for you to write your own FOMO subject lines:

    [X Things to Avoid] + [To Achieve Desired Outcome]
    Don’t ever do [x thing that will prevent desired outcome]
    Learn how to [desired outcome]

4. Avoid Using Rude Words

People tend to stray away from rude words especially if they are directed at them. For example, don’t be a fool, only losers do this, and are you a sucker like the rest of them. 

I know this might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how often I see people using these words. 

However, if you call yourself a fool, sucker, or loser that is okay. People just don’t like when other people call them that. 

Duh, right? 

I can’t quit with just four tips so I am offering up two more bonus tips just for good measure. 

Bonus Tip #1: Prune Your List

If you want to experience higher open rates, you’ll want to prune your list often. What that means is you’ll want to delete audience members that haven’t opened your email in a while. 

“But wait, Kathryn, I’ve spent all this time growing it, why the heck do I want to delete people?”

And I get it. But the people that aren’t engaging in your content shouldn’t be kept around for vanity reasons. 


Your list size doesn’t matter, it’s building an engaged audience that matters. 

Bonus Tip #2: Test Your Subject Lines

I can’t preach this enough. You can consume every freebie on the planet and follow the wise words of gurus but the results will come from testing your own subject lines with your audience. 

People often don’t want to do this because it takes time and effort. These are the people that often struggle to attract clients and make sales. 

Here are a few other blogs I’ve written that will help with writing highly converting content. 

5 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Writing Copy On Screw the 9-5

How To Connect With People And Write Copy That Sells Your Products To Anyone on Screw the 9-5


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