Email Subject Line Swipe File: 60 Ideas

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Subject Line Swipe File, Tips & Ideas


Worldwide, billions of emails are being sent every day. If your email account looks anything like mine, it probably seems like every one of them lands in your inbox. We all know what it’s like to open our inbox to find a barrage of email messages – all asking for our undivided attention.

Your job is to craft subject lines that cut through the clutter and entice recipients to open your message. If your subject line doesn’t capture interest or curiosity, your email doesn’t get opened. And if nobody opens your email, there’s no point in writing the email.

Tips & Ideas:

  • The purpose of the subject is to get them to open the email, not to sell them the product or give deep insight.

  • Keep your subject brief, about 50 characters, including spaces. A short, snappy subject line is more likely to capture their attention.

  • Don’t waste valuable real estate by inserting unnecessary words like hello or their full name. Every word counts so make sure it adds value.

  • Watch messages you receive and take note of subject lines that capture your attention. Then add them to this swipe file.

  • Be specific and cut to the chase. People are too busy for vague or mysterious messages.

  • Scan magazine and newspaper headlines to see what gets your attention.

  • Split-test your subject lines. Check with your mailing list service provider to see what tools they offer to help you test the effectiveness of your email marketing.

  • Make it searchable. Many readers may not have time to read your message immediately but if you include a keyword, it will be easier for them to return to it later. For example, ‘newly released cookbook’ doesn’t give you many words to search for especially if you receive a lot of emails about cooking but ‘Dairy-Free cookbook” is memorable and gives you enough keywords to search for.

  • Personalize it. Create a subject line with your subscriber’s first name and then test the same subject line without it.

  • Add your company name or personal name to the subject line in brackets. “[Your Company] Frustrated with fat laden meals? 8 fat free recipes for you” If your readers look forward to your emails, this may catch their attention.

  • Create a sense of urgency. “Weekend only special”, “Sale ends tonight” or “Only ___ more hours”.

  • Match the tone to your personality. If your writing is typically informal, then your subject lines should be too. “Hey [Name], I just saw this…” If you’re a more formal person, be formal in your subject lines.

  • While some people insist on capitalizing every word in the subject, creating a more natural subject line can work wonders on open rates, especially subjects where your goal is to create curiosity.

Subject Lines

You can use the following in your own emails. Just fill in the ___________ with your topic, etc.

  1. NAME], did you see this?

  2. ___ [NUMBER] ____ [OBJECT] you cannot live without

  3. ___ reasons ___ is not working (Ex. 5 reasons you’re not losing weight)

  4. ______ ends tonight

  5. 10 great ideas for ____ (or gift ideas)

  6. 5 important ways to __________

  7. A complete and unbiased review

  8. A sneak peek at __________

  9. Are you ready for ___________?

  10. Are you still struggling with…?

  11. As a valued subscriber, I would like to…

  12. Become ___ with ___

  13. Before it’s gone forever….

  14. Can I ask you a quick favor?

  15. Can you attend (WEBINAR, SEMINAR, MEETING)

  16. Can you believe this?

  17. Can’t keep up [OR STAY FOCUSED] ___ ways to ____ [SIMPLIFY, GET ORGANIZED, ETC]

  18. Dear [NAME], do you know that you can…

  19. Do you have a few minutes?

  20. Does this bother you too?

  21. End of the week wrap up (Good stuff inside)

  22. Extended for one day! Get _____

  23. Extra Bonus! Order now and get____

  24. For ________ only [SPECIFIC AUDIENCE: “women”, “those who want to improve their backhand”]

  25. Frustrated by _________? Here’s an idea

  26. Good news!

  27. Here’s the __________ we promised

  28. How safe is your [PERSON/OBJECT] from [THREAT]

  29. How to get more [BENEFIT]

  30. How to squeeze ___ out of ____ (how to squeeze 12 hours out of an 8 hour day)

  31. I found it…finally!

  32. I’ve had enough!

  33. Introducing our latest ___ [PRODUCT,STAFF MEMBER, ETC]

  34. It’s just about that time

  35. Just ____ more hours

  36. LAST chance to get ____[NUMBER OF] ____ (REPORTS, PRODUCTS, ETC) for [PRICE]

  37. Last chance to save [AMOUNT] on the [PRODUCT]

  38. Download this must-have freebie

  39. My___ [NUMBER] ___[ITEM] for only $10 bucks (My 10 hottest selling reports for just $10 bucks)

  40. Not many people know this, but….

  41. Pictures from [COMPANY, EVENT, YOUR NAME]

  42. Subscriber exclusive: Save ____ on ____

  43. Take your pick

  44. The last time this was released, it was…

  45. The results are in! See the results of our ____case study

  46. The secret behind___

  47. There’s still time (but only if you do it now)


  49. This is the reason why…

  50. This is what I’ve been talking about…

  51. We owe a big thanks to you for___

  52. What ________doesn’t tell you about ________

  53. What if I told you __________

  54. Which option do you prefer

  55. Why some people never ___________

  56. Why they’re wrong about ____________

  57. Yesterday I gave you______,


  59. You have till midnight Eastern time to get [PRODUCT] for [PRICE]

  60. You’ll like this one…

Final thought…

Overall, the key is to test things out. In addition to testing open rates, test the overall success of a campaign. While high open rates are good, if people aren’t taking action on the offers, you may need to do more tweaking.

Copyright  2015