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Persuasive Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

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One of the biggest pieces to a successful email marketing strategy is simply getting your emails opened in the first place.

Of course, there's a lot more that goes into it after that, but if people aren't opening your emails at a high rate to begin with, it really won't matter how good the emails themselves are. You want readers to open them! 

Before we get started, let's talk about what a “good” email open rate looks like.

According to Campaign Monitor, a good email open rate is between 15% and 25%.

Does that surprise you?

Between the number of emails most people get on a daily basis, the promotion filters, and a number of other factors, few businesses see more than a 40% open rate on any single email, consistently.  

My recommendation is to aim for 20% to 25% (which is higher than average), and if you meet that you are doing pretty good.  

So what goes into getting a high open rate? Here are a few of the main factors that determine whether your open rate will be high or not: 

  • An enticing email subject line 
  • The quality of your emails in general
  • How much trust your readers have in you
  • Whether your emails are being flagged by the promotional filter in Gmail
  • Whether your email stands out among the rest of reader’s inboxes or not

In this post we're going to talk primarily about how to craft an enticing email subject line so that a high percentage of readers who receive your email want to open it. 

I'm using a handful of my very best email subject lines to give you examples of the different types of statements or questions you can use to get your emails opened.

These are the exact email subject lines that have done well for me in the past, and we're going to go in deep and examine why. 

While I ask that you please don't copy these directly, feel free to adapt them to your niche and writing style! 

persuasive email subject lines

1. The Shocking Question-  

Is blogging as a business DEAD? 


persuasive email subject lines

This email subject line has been one of my most successful to date, and to me it's no wonder why.

I call this type of email subject line a "shocking question", because it's purpose is to grab people's attention and make them want to know the answer.  

This tactic is especially successful when you can tap into a question many of your readers have on their minds, that maybe hasn't been answered before. As a blogger, you've probably heard around the internet that blogging is dead or that there are new and up-and-coming things that are better uses of your time business-wise.  

If you've come across these rumblings, you've probably spent a little bit of time worrying whether blogging was still worth it, whether you should put time and money into it, and whether it would pay off in the end. 

(By the way, if you want to hear my answer to this question you can check out this post here.)  

Using a shocking question in your email is a good idea in my opinion because it also gives you the chance to teach your reader something they really need to know.

It isn't just about getting them to open the email! You also want to follow it up with really strong content, and a question like this can give you a prime spot to lay it all out there and teach your readers something important.

2. Freebies and Gifts-  

A blogging template for you + exciting news for 2020 


persuasive email subject lines

One of my tried and true favorites for getting a high open rate is to simply include a freebie.

No matter what niche you are in, it's highly likely that your readers will really appreciate any high quality freebie you give them, and it will increase your open rate.  

Not only is increasing your open rate good for that particular email, but it also sends signals to Gmail that people love your emails and that they should keep them out of the promotional filters.

 Of course, that's only one piece of data that goes into the promo filters (and we don't know all of them because Google is rather secretive about that sort of thing), but sending happy signals to Google is very important. 

The key here is to make sure that your freebies are high-quality.

They don't have to be huge and complicated, but they do need to be worthwhile. In the past I have created a blog post checklist, my secrets to getting Pinterest traffic, and a fully clickable Profitable Blogging Blueprint to give to my readers who sign up for my email list.

I also often give away free sets of blog photos and pin templates to help make my readers lives easier.  

This is one of the big perks to being on my email list, and it's something I learned from bigger bloggers than I a while back.

Readers may sign up for your email list to get a single freebie, but they will stay on your email list if you continually give them more and more great resources. So do that!

You certainly don't need to do this all the time, but if you can give away a new freebie every couple of months your readers will get a lot of benefit out of it and really appreciate you for it. 

3. Quick Wins-  

How to insert 13 years of blogging know how into your brain 


persuasive email subject lines

Another fun and simple email subject line that always gets opened is the quick win. The quick win is a promise of something your readers will learn how to do or make without too much effort.

Everyone is busy these days, and we're all crunched for time. If you can give your readers quick wins with fast knowledge and new skills that don't take very much time or practice, they will certainly love you for it and those emails will get opened!

So how can you adapt this technique to fit your niche? Here are a few other examples to get your creative juices flowing: 

  • How to convince your toddler to eat a vegetable in under 1 minute 
  • How to change your brain to want to exercise in just three steps
  • How to get your puppy thoroughly potty trained in one week

4. Surprises-  

Up your blogging game in 2020 + HUGE surprise tomorrow 


persuasive email subject lines

Unsurprisingly, the promise of a surprise is enough to make many people open your email if they think it might be something good! The interesting thing here is that usually people who like surprises and people who don't like surprises will open these types of emails, simply because the curiosity kills them a little bit.  

Here's the key though... 

Most people know now that a surprise often means you are launching a new product. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's important to occasionally offer surprises that aren't a sales pitch. You could offer a surprise freebie, a discount code, interesting news about your life or business, or the launch of something new like a podcast or YouTube channel.  

This is a great way to keep people engaged with your brand, excited to hear what's going on in your business, and happily opening your emails as they come in. 

And as you've probably noticed, I like writing email subject lines that essentially have two subjects. They typically read something along the lines of… 

(How to do something) + (something they should know about) (emoji) 

I like this method because it gives my readers a pretty good hint as to what they're going to find when they open an email.

This is consistency, and consistency is a big part of encouraging your readers to open your emails.  

They want to know that the subject line they read is going to be directly related to the email itself. There have certainly been times where I've used email subject lines that were more vague or not directly related to the content of the email, and I can tell you that that reflects not only in the open rate, but also in the response rate. The number of people who click a link or respond to that email by writing me back tanks!  

Everything is a learning opportunity, right? 

Okay, let's move on to the next one. 

5. The Winning Combination- 

The viral pin formula every single blogger should know!  


persuasive email subject lines

Here's another email that topped a 30% open rate. There are two parts to this particular email subject line that I think are really important to understand.

The first part is that this subject line promises a quick win, and the second part is that it suggests every blogger needs to know about it (to be successful).  

This is a killer combination because it subconsciously promises your readers that they will learn something utterly invaluable that won't take them very long to implement, and that is critical to their success. Of course, this isn't all said in the email subject line but it is the feeling in your mind's eye as you read it.  

The "viral pin formula" piece is the promise of a quick win. You see, “formula” is one of those power words that is so important to writing compelling blog titles and email subject lines.

It makes readers want to click because it compels them with the promise of straight information where they don't have to decipher what to do next.  

And of course, the “viral pin” part is important because it literally gives the reader a picture in their mind of one of their pins going viral online and bringing in tons of traffic to their blog.  

Who wouldn't want a formula for that? 

To craft this email subject line successfully, I highly recommend pairing a quick win with the idea that every reader in your niche needs to know about it.

Whether your people are knitters, moms, bakers, or business people, there is something that your readers should know about, and this email subject line can help them get there. 

6. The How To Email 

How to plan a year of blog content in one day  


persuasive email subject lines

Another one of my favorite ways to craft a really good email subject line is to make a promise that is (almost) too good to be true. Of course, it does actually have to be true! You must be able to deliver on your promises, or people will stop trusting your emails and quit opening them. 

One of the most common pieces of feedback I get from readers is that they really struggle with blog content.

They get behind easily, they procrastinate, they aren't sure what to write about, and they generally just feel a little bit pressured trying to keep up with a content schedule. Who doesn’t?? 

This is what led me to write my post How to Plan A year’s Worth of Blog Content in One Day It's a great post, and I decided to share it in email as well to get more eyeballs on it.

And because the title of the post was so great, I decided to reuse it in the email subject line. 

This subject line really goes back to the idea that people are busy. Time is more of a premium than ever before, and we want knowledge and results fast, fast, fast. If you can legitimately promise an awesome result that comes quickly, you're going to see a blog post and email that does very well.  

Of course, the rub here is that these can be hard to come up with. But when you do come up with a few, they are gold! 

7. Another Version of the “How To” Email 

How I got my first 100 email subscribers  


persuasive email subject lines

If you've been on my email list for long, you probably have noticed that I love my "how to" emails. That's not by accident!

I love them because my readers love them too. In the blogging world, readers really just want to know how to do things as efficiently as possible, and that's why how to's can be so great.  

With this email subject line, I use the promise of showing my readers how to do something that many struggle with, without promising anything too complicated or unattainable.

Most bloggers who are new to email marketing would love to see 100 subscribers. It's the perfect number where you have significant results, but you don't feel too overwhelmed trying to get there either.  


8. Before You Do This, Read This 

Before you write another blog post, read this  


persuasive email subject lines

This may be my highest open rate to date (although I will admit that I didn't look through all of my past emails to check! That would have taken way too long.) This may be the perfect email subject line for grabbing attention.  

Before you do X, read this.  

I love this subject line because you can adapt it for any niche, and any writing style. It's a great way to lead into an informative email where you establish credibility and teach your readers something they really need to know.  


A big part of perfecting your email subject lines is simply experimenting with new ideas and seeing what sticks! 

I definitely encourage you to use these subject lines above and adapt them to fit your niche. The more you email your readers, the more you'll start to understand what drives them and what kind of content they are looking for. 

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