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The best email subject line formulas: triple your open rates!

The best email subject line formulas: triple your open rates!

By on Aug 5, 2017

Reading time: 4 minutes

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So you built your email list, have some followers, and you’re starting to send out emails.

You have the data and analytics to measure your success, and you discover that your open rates aren’t anywhere near like you expected or wanted!

So what now?

The truth is, with all the distractions and messages that people deal with every day, it’s harder and harder to come up with emails that your list will actually open.

Don’t panic, you’re not alone.

Creating engaging subject lines that get your emails opened is a common problem.

According to Mailchimp (reported on by SmartInsights) after analyzing hundreds of millions of emails, they’ve found that the average email open rate is anywhere between 15% and 25%, depending on the industry.

Your number may be lower depending on your how your subscribers got on your list, how well you segment them, or how relevant your emails are, but if you can stay in the 15%-25% range, you can be confident that you’re doing well.

Why are open rates important?

Well, first off, you need your email to be opened before you can collect any other data.

In fact…

Your email needs to be opened before you can actually make a sale from your email list or engage your email list – whatever your goal is.

And besides your “from” line, the biggest factor to getting your emails opened is your email subject line.

A good email subject line is designed to get the attention of your ideal readers, convince them to open it, and read what you have to say.

The only question is how do you actually do that?

Email subject lines act just like headlines. And just like the headlines of good content, email subject lines are critical.

But it’s not easy to come up with good email subject lines, especially if you send out a lot of emails to your list. I researched the best subject lines, and collected 113 winning formulas

Why Do These Email Subject Lines Work?

To answer that question, Gary Bencivenga, arguably the world’s greatest copywriter, came up with this equation after analyzing some of the best headlines ever used in email campaigns:

Interest = Benefit + Curiosity

To give you a preview, here are 17 examples from the 113:

The desired results:

  1. Discover the [desired result] Secret
  2. To People That Want to [desired result] But Can’t Get Started
  3. You Too Can [desired result] in [time period] with [blank]
  4. How to Become [desired result] When You [something challenging]
  5. You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result]

Solve a problem:

  1. Get Rid of [problem] Once and for All
  2. A Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  3. How to Take the Headache out of [problem]

Scarcity based:

  1. Do You Recognize the [number] Early Warning Signs of [blank]?
  2. The Biggest Lie in [your industry]
  3. If You Don’t [blank] Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later
  4. X Shocking Mistakes Killing Your [blank]
  5. Do Not Try Another [blank] Until You [take desired action]

Social proof:

  1. [Do something] like [world-class example]
  2. The [desired result] That [world class example] Is Talking About
  3. Here is a Method That is Helping [world class example] to [blank]
  4. [blank] Hacking with [world class example]



When people read your subject line, they have to feel that they are going to get something really valuable.

The subject line should arouse their curiosity and make them wonder what the rest of the email will offer them—so much so that they feel they HAVE to know the answer!

Now, my last question to you is: which of the subject lines do you like best?

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