It’s almost a New Year and that means the inevitable New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions is getting into shape. We’re here to act as your personal email trainer and help you chisel your subject lines into lean, mean open inducing machines.

Here are some tips to whip your subject lines into shape this year:

1. Trim the excess

Subject lines should be concise and punchy. Many people check their email on their phones, which means longer subject lines can be cut off. As we mentioned in “Successful Subject Lines Deconstructed,” most email programs limit the subject line to around 50 characters. If your subject line is too long or too wordy, trim it down.

2. Avoid fatigue

When you start a new workout regime, you want to mix it up with new things to avoid fatigue. When you’re creating stand out subject lines you also want to stay away from overused marketing terms.

Words like “money,” “deal,” “sign-up” and “gift” are used in subject lines often, however these cliché words may turn off your recipients.

We’ve got a list of 20 powerful marketing words and phrases that sell or repel that can help you too.

3. Strengthen your marketing muscles

We’ve covered marketing words to avoid, so let’s talk about marketing words you should use. Think about emotions. People want to be in on something new, but they also want a great deal. That’s why power words like “new” and “sneak peek” and “off” (as in $100 off your first dental exam) can work well.

Check out our post, Psst! Want to write irresistible subject lines? to learn the power of negative and positive emotional response subject lines.

4. Motivate with urgent calls to action

Everyone needs motivation. When it comes to subject lines, create a sense of urgency. Tell your customers what you want them to do with a call to action.

For example, “Only 4 spots left for the cooking class! Reserve yours today!” or “Call today to get your sprinkler deal before temps drop!” This sense of urgency tells your recipient what your email is about and what immediate action they should take.

5. Mix up your routine

Have you hit a marketing plateau in terms of open rates? Try something different each time you send and then check your email analytics. Here are a few ideas to experiment with:

  1. Pique their curiosity. Try a joke or a can’t-resist deal in your subject line.
  2. Be ironic. Ryan Hughes, co-owner of Port Crossfit, spotted an article that fit his business, so he shared it with his clients. The article, “The Top 5 Ways to Gain a TON of Holiday Weight” made for the perfect segue into his call to action in the body of his email: “Today is the last day to sign up for our New Year Transformation Challenge at the early bird rate. You will have until 12 p.m. tomorrow to sign up for just $99 and then it will go up to $149. So what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up.”
  3. Make recipients feel good about themselves. Say thanks or promote a cause in your subject line. For example, a nonprofit could thank supporters for recent donations.
  4. Give them an incentive. Offer deals to customers if they refer a friend or share your content on social media.
  5. Personalize it. For example, an auto repair shop could send out a reminder email with this subject line: “Jessica’s car is thirsty for its 3,000-mile oil change.”

6. Get a spotter

Just as you have a partner at the gym, get an email partner. Have a second set of eyes review your email before it goes out. Still, mistakes happen. If you accidentally send the wrong discount, date or even the wrong name, don’t worry. Follow our advice and make a correction. Your subject line can say, ” Oops – We made a mistake. Please accept this coupon.”

Once you get your subject lines in shape, it’s only a question of maintaining a steady pace of creativity. For more extensive personal training, check out our blog for additional tips.

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at

Send emails with strong subject lines by using VerticalResponse.

© 2014 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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