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10 Tricks to Write a Compelling Email Subject Line to Grab Customer Attention

June 10, 2021
June 10, 2021

How to write email subject lines that increase your email open rate:

  1. Keep it short and clear
  2. Create a sense of urgency
  3. Personalize
  4. Ask questions
  5. Be honest
  6. Use numbers
  7. Offer real value
  8. Include call to action
  9. Proofread
  10. Test

Emails aren’t going anywhere. They’re still the predominant form of communication for salespeople, despite live chat’s advantages. As many as 50% of customers also prefer to receive offers to their email.

However, 15% of marketers reported that their company still doesn’t regularly review email opens and clicks.

The subject line is the first, and often only, part of your email that your recipient will read. That’s why you must create a subject line that leaves your reader waiting for more.

Here are 10 ways to write compelling subject lines that catch your readers’ attention:

Keep it short and clear

The purpose of your subject line is to engage your audience and catch their attention. Subject lines that are too long are not reader-friendly and rarely manage to hook your audience.

For this reason, you should aim for subject lines that provide enough information and motivation for your audience to open them but are short and concise at the same time. In particular, this relates to mobile devices with smaller screens where longer subject lines could be cut off.

Based on a recent survey, 55% of people open their emails on mobile devices. This makes the demand for short and clear subjects all the more important.

In general, it’s a better strategy to use simple words and avoid any complicated terms to ensure that your subject line is easy and fast to read at a glance.

Create a sense of urgency

It’s well-known that communicating a sense of urgency and scarcity can compel readers to act faster. Try to be creative and strategic about the way you formulate it. It’s better to use these subject lines sparingly and only when there is some justification for demanding immediate action.

You need to offer a reason why buying your product or service is possible only now and not later. The easiest way to do this is to give a time limit for your offer. If your potential customers know that the same deal won’t be available later, they’re more likely to at least consider your offer.


Personalized subject lines get higher open rates for your emails. It can be as simple as using your recipient’s first name.

If you want to use more detailed information, you can analyze your customer’s data, for example recent purchases, activity, and preferences. There is a lot of data about your customers available that you can utilize to write more relevant, personalized subject lines.

Ask questions

Presenting a compelling question as part of your subject can draw your readers in. Make sure that this question is relevant to your recipient. It’s a good practice to pose relevant questions in the body of your email, too. But even better if you manage to catch your reader’s attention with a question in the subject line.

For example, “What are the most effective SEO strategies in 2018? Take a look.”

This subject line promises to answer the question in the body of the email. The question is relevant to readers who are interested in reading about SEO and improving their knowledge.

Be honest

Hard sell tactics are not an effective way to increase open rate. Given that, 74% of customers find themselves overwhelmed by the email overload, it’s better to forget about hard sell and direct promotion.

Instead, opt for an honest approach. Try to explain in the subject line what you have to offer and how your readers could benefit from it. Keep in mind that you’re offering a solution to a problem. Be honest in the subject about your intentions.

Use numbers

Too many emails make vague statements and claims that aren’t supported by any hard data. That’s why using numbers is a good way to stand out and build your credibility. Numbers are good for setting the right expectations.

For example, you can use numbers to describe how much discount you’re offering. Or you can convince your readers by explaining how effective exactly your product or service has been to past customers.

Offer real value

Today, people can detect email promotions from a mile away. If your subject line is just a generic promotion, it doesn’t provide any incentive to open the email. You must offer your reader some motivation to open the email. A good hook is to promise some real value such as a discount or free trial in the subject line.

Include call to action

Your subject line should inspire people to open the email. To make your subject more clickable, you can use action verbs. Tell your readers what they should do.

For example, a call to action can be a suggestion to subscribe to your newsletter. Remember to also provide motivation for doing that, for example by offering a discount for those who subscribe within some limited time.


You want to avoid any mistakes in those few words that make up your subject line. Emails with spelling errors are more likely to end up in the spam folder.

Mistakes in the subject line give your readers the impression that they should expect more mistakes from the actual text. This will put many of them off and offer a reason to skip opening the email.

Proofreading is thus a crucial step in the email writing process. If your content could use some editing, there are tools and services that can help you. For example, you can check Grammarly, Handmade Writing, or Hemingway App.

Test them

To achieve the best results, you have to know what works for your audience. The best way to do this is by testing your subject lines. Testing can offer better insight than simply trusting your intuition.

There are also tools that you can use to evaluate how well your subject line is expected to perform. For example, Email Subject Line Grader provides a numerical score for your subject based on its effectiveness.

We hope that these tricks will help you create killer subject lines that increase your open and click-through rates. To write the best email subject lines, you need to be honest, engaging, and straightforward all at the same time. It’s not an easy task but following these guidelines will get you closer to your goals.

Josh Carlyle is an experienced writer and marketing professional, who is creating and editing content and at Writing Guru and Write my essay today. As a business strategist, Josh is always eager to find creative solutions to different economic issues and communicate his ideas and insights to readers.

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