Tired of Low Open Rates? Try These Simple Strategies for Click-Worthy Email Subject Lines

Ever stare at a blank email draft, your cursor blinking accusingly, while a million other tasks swirl around you? Yeah, me too. As a busy entrepreneur juggling a million things, crafting perfect ecommerce email subject lines often feels like an afterthought. I mean, the email content and design is the heavy lift, right? Time-consuming, yes; the most important piece of your email, nope!

Why Subject Lines Matter More Than You Think

Your entire email strategy means nothing without a powerful subject line. The truth is, that tiny snippet of text can make or break your email’s success. It’s the first impression that convinces your subscriber to open, the difference between a potential customer from lost opportunity. All that beauty on the inside is not even getting seen if the subject line doesn’t convince them to open it.

So, what can you do about it? First, you can put these email subject line best practices into play. The email pros at Klaviyo identify these as contributing to high open rates:

  • Personalized emails earn higher open rates.
  • Most great subject lines create a curiosity gap.
  • Short subject lines that look complete on mobile perform better.
  • Urgency and scarcity prompt people to open emails.
  • Context rules all good email content performance—including subject lines.
  • Emojis aren’t bad in subject lines, but use them sparingly.
  • Thoughtful preview text can make a good subject line great.

4 Simple Strategies to Transform Your Emails and Get Results

Now, let’s dive into the good stuff – the formulas and strategies that will transform your subject lines from forgettable to phenomenal.

1. The Power of Personalization (Because Everyone Loves Feeling Special)

Personalization is like having a secret sauce that makes your messages stand out in a crowded inbox. When you tweak your emails to match someone’s interests or past actions, it’s like giving them a personalized gift – they can’t help but open it up! Whether it’s using their name, suggesting things they might like based on what they’ve bought before, or just making them feel seen and appreciated, personalization turns boring emails into little moments of connection.

  • Use Customer Names: “Hey [Name], Don’t Miss Out on This Special Offer!”
  • Reference Past Purchases: “Looking for more amazing finds? We curated these based on your love for [product].”
  • Nudge Abandoned Carts: “[Product Name] is still waiting in your cart, [Name]!”

2. Infuse a Touch of Mystery (But Keep it Intriguing, Not Creepy)

People are naturally curious, and a hint of the unknown can be incredibly enticing. Don’t reveal all your cards upfront. Instead, use intriguing phrases that spark interest and compel them to open the email to find out more. Whether it’s teasing a surprise announcement, hinting at exclusive offers, or posing thought-provoking questions, a touch of mystery piques interest and compels recipients to click. Just remember, keep it intriguing, not misleading. You want to pique curiosity, not leave them feeling frustrated.

  • “This One Simple Trick Will Solve Your [Problem] Forever.”
  • “We’ve Got a Secret You Need to Hear About [Product Category].”
  • “[Question] Here’s the Answer (and It Might Surprise You)”

3. Speak Their Language: Benefits Over Bragging

Let’s face it, your customers don’t care about the nitty-gritty technical specs of your product. They care about how it will improve their lives. Ditch the feature-heavy lingo and focus on the benefits your product offers. Instead of a dry “Introducing the XYZ Widget,” try something like “Sleep Like a Baby with Our Cutting-Edge Sleep Technology.” This emotional connection grabs attention and makes them see the real value you provide. Remember, you’re not just selling a product, you’re selling a solution to their problems or a way to fulfill their desires.For example:

  • Instead of “Introducing the Revolutionary XYZ Gadget,” try “Sleep Like a Baby with Our Cutting-Edge Sleep Technology.”
  • Don’t say “20% Off All Clothing,” go with “Upgrade Your Wardrobe for Less: 20% Off Sale!”

4. Embrace the Power of FOMO (But Use it Wisely)

We’ve all experienced it – the fear of missing out (FOMO). It’s a powerful emotion, and you can use it strategically in your subject lines to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. Limited-time offers and scarcity can be highly motivating. Phrases like “Last Chance for 20% Off!” or “Only a Few Left! Get Yours Before They’re Gone!” can light a fire under indecisive customers.

  • “Last Chance for 20% Off! Don’t Miss Out!” (be sure the offer truly has a deadline)
  • “Only a Few Left! Get Yours Before They’re Gone!” (for limited-edition products)
  • “Flash Sale Ends Tonight! Shop Now and Save!” (create a sense of excitement)

Pro Tip: Don’t overuse urgency tactics or your audience will become desensitized. Instead, use FOMO strategically for special promotions or limited-edition products to create a sense of excitement and encourage immediate action.

Need help increasing your open rates?

Swipe my top performing ecommerce subject lines. This isn’t just another collection of generic subject lines. Inside this easy-to-use spreadsheet are the exact subject lines I use for my clients, the ones responsible for driving massive engagement and sales.

  • Welcome emails that turn casual browsers into lifelong fans.
  • Abandoned cart emails that bring back forgotten purchases with a gentle nudge.
  • Promotional emails so irresistible, they practically force clicks.
email subject lines
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I'm Alli Clough

I’m a web designer, email nerd, and numbers girl. I design and manage online stores for 1m+ brands from a sunny home office. After 18 years in the biz, I’ve tried and tested a lot of tools and strategies, and have the numbers to back up some big decisions you might be hung up on.

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