How to Write Attractive Email Subject Lines (in 4 Steps)

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Do you think you can’t write attractive email subject lines? A few years ago, I believed the same, but I’ve got better now. Did I take a course on email marketing or something?

Nope. I just read a couple of blog posts, but practice made all the difference. I’ve sent over 100 campaigns in the last three years, and my newsletter open rate kept on getting better.

I can definitely share the secret sauce with you so that you can also write attractive email subject lines. I have been seeing great results ever since I started to experiment with my email newsletter subject lines.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to set up an automated campaign or you’re just starting with a regular campaign — attractive subject lines are a must.

how to write attractive email subjects

I’ve narrowed it down to four steps.

1. Choose a Good Story 

Your subscribers are likely to respond to something exciting, big news, or a great offer — all these elements have one thing in common: a story.

You must come up with a great story to write your email newsletter. Companies send out a newsletter when they have a discount to offer. Bloggers often send out a newsletter when they publish new blog posts. Others send out newsletters when there is a new development to share with the audience.

A story could be anything:

  • A new project
  • A discount offer
  • An acquisition
  • New blog post
  • Product update

The reason why a good story matters in writing an attractive email subject line is that it entices the respondents to open up the email. We can look around and choose the best story to share with the audience. Moreover, the words you choose or the way you’d tell the story would also matter in the process. The next step will help you understand this even more.

2. Pick Simple Words

Words can make all the difference here. Once I sent a newsletter and I included a short phrase before the statement, it said, “DON’T MISS THIS,” and it got a lot of attention. Later on, a subscriber messaged me on Facebook and said that the newsletter’s subject line was so irresistible and he couldn’t ignore it.

So I learned that sometimes simple yet compelling words can do the job. Make sure that the words you’re choosing are giving a message and revealing a context to the audience.

Here are some random examples:

  • I DID IT!
  • The blog post that changed everything!
  • It’s big news!
  • You won’t believe this!

These are just examples of simple words, but their impact is massive. You could always try to use different words, but don’t make your subject lines misleading, otherwise, they’d backfire. Let’s be clear, no one likes clickbaits.

3. Add a Curiosity Factor

Let’s admit, you open your inbox, there are a dozen emails popping up right away. Do you know what we all do? We skim through the subjects and see the most important or interesting one to open. I can say based on my experience that I either open the most urgent one or that has seemingly an interesting subject line.

So by keeping that behavior in mind, I learned that adding curiosity can help you achieve a better open rate. Now, it’s difficult to pull this off, but it’s certainly not impossible to do. If you send out more than four email newsletters a month, you can easily experiment with the subject lines and see how the curiosity-factor helps the cause.

Moreover, you don’t have to lie or make a clickbaity-title for your newsletter — keep it simple and real instead.

For instance, if you publish a blog post with the title, “How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online.

And, now you want to send out the blog post link to your email newsletter subscribers. You can make the subject such as:

  • Finally … The Blogging Secret is Here!
  • STOP WORRYING. START DOING. [Just for New Bloggers]
  • If you have 8 minutes, then read this blogging guide!

Now, tell me, if you receive an email in your inbox with such titles, you won’t open it.

I know you’d open it because they’re irresistible.

I added curiosity, which is why readers would want to see what’s in it.

4. Analyze the Impact

The last step is crucial to improving your email newsletter subject lines. I’ve been testing different kinds of subject lines for quite some time. Meaning, if you don’t look back and analyze your open rate, response rate, CTR, and more details, then you aren’t doing enough.

So analyzing the impact is an essential part of the growth of your email newsletter. Watch out for the following things:

Words in the top-performing email newsletters

Go through your top email newsletters via reports or statistics option to find out this thing: the words that made all the difference in making those email campaigns better than others. You must figure out a few words that captivated the audience’s attention. Then, try using those words or phrases again to see if they work again.

The length of the popular subject lines

There is no specific length for better subject lines. All you need to do is go through your most successful email campaigns and see the length of your subject lines. If shorter ones have done better, go all in and keep pushing harder with shorter subject lines.

The overall size of the newsletter content

The size of the newsletter content means how long your newsletter’s matter is. I noticed that I instantaneously lose interest in an email that has too much content to read. So I learned this through others’ mistakes that one shouldn’t write a hefty email that becomes harder for the recipient to read. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with your subscribers. You should find out what works for you.

The type of newsletter content

An essential part of analyzing the impact of a newsletter is by finding the popular type of newsletter content that the subscribers liked the most. Check out your newsletter reports and see the content type of your popular newsletter campaigns. It could be a blog post link, an update, or a guide email.

These factors would help you analyze the impact of different types of email subject lines so that you could understand what to do next for your newsletter.


The punch line of this blog post is simple: try things out and you’ll learn a lot. I can’t tell you what subject line you should write next. All I can tell you is that I’ve learned these things just by doing stuff.

You’d learn too if you step up and try things out.

Of course, I apply all those four key elements of making attractive email subject lines — that’s why I shared with you.

Your job is to apply these four principles and figure out eight more things in the next two years.

Don’t hesitate to share those things with me; just drop me an email at has (at) startedblogging (dot) com.

Does this blog post make any difference in your next email newsletters?

If it does, please let me know via email!

Disclaimer: The blog post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure section for more details.

Comments (5)

  1. Shaheer Farooq June 20, 2019
    • Hassaan Khan June 20, 2019
      • Shaheer Farooq June 21, 2019
        • Hassaan Khan June 22, 2019
  2. Aadarsh Roy June 26, 2019

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