The title

Learning Center

Mastering Email Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates

By: Holly Kindzierski, Copywriter | Mar 4, 2024 | 3 Minute Read

How to Write Killer Emails That Convert

Crafting compelling subject lines for emails is an art form that requires creativity, strategy, and a deep understanding of your audience. In this blog, we'll share valuable tips and tricks to help you create subject lines that instantly grab your readers' attention, drive engagement, and ultimately lead to higher conversions. Whether you're an experienced marketer or just starting out, these techniques will elevate your email campaigns and boost their effectiveness!

The Anatomy of a Marketing Email

A mail envelope character under an x-ray scanner, highlighting subject line and preview text ‘bones.’

There are four key components to a marketing email:

  1. The subject line

  2. The preview text

  3. The body copy

  4. The Call to Action (CTA)

In this blog, we are going to take a deep dive into your subject line and preview text!

Pre-Copywriting Prep

Two hands type on a laptop keyboard, with sheets of paper showing comparison charts and buyer persona examples on either side.

Email copywriting is the art of crafting persuasive content that prompts readers to take specific actions. It aims to engage, build trust, and establish a connection with the audience, ultimately driving conversions, increasing sales, generating leads, and building brand awareness. While images play a significant role in advertising, the words you choose are equally crucial. Therefore, thorough research is essential even when crafting seemingly simple elements like subject lines.

The Competition

Identify main competitors, review their ads and unique selling propositions, and note gaps in their strategies. Understand your competition to create copy that highlights your unique value proposition and appeals to your subscribers.

Try creating a spreadsheet to organize information about your main competitors, such as their website, social media profiles, messaging, and unique selling propositions. Use this to compare and analyze their strategies and identify opportunities for differentiation.

Your Audience

It is also of course necessary to research your target audience. Understanding their pain points is critical in email marketing because it helps you craft messages that resonate with their needs, challenges, and desires. There are three steps to follow when doing this:

  1. Conduct customer interviews, surveys, and focus groups to research your subscribers’ pain points. Gain insights into their problems, frustrations, and goals.

  2. Monitor conversations on social media platforms and online forums to identify common themes related to your target audience's pain points.

  3. Analyze data from your website and email campaigns to determine which topics and content perform well. This can provide valuable information about your audience's interests and preferences.

Subject Line

The email subject line is your first touch-point with a potential customer, making it crucial for determining whether the recipient will open the email or not. Here are some tips and tricks to help you create compelling email subject lines that drive results:

  1. Keep it short and snappy

    Research shows that email subject lines between six and ten words have the best open rate. With people reading emails on their mobile devices, a shorter subject line is more likely to catch their attention.

  2. Make a Clear Promise

    Make a promise to your subscribers and deliver on it in the email. This builds trust and encourages engagement.

  3. Use Curiosity to Create a Hook

    Use a question or intriguing statement to pique your readers’ interest and entice them to open the email. 

  4. Get Personal

    Using real names in your email subject line and "to" and "from" fields can help increase open rates. People are more likely to engage with an email from a real person rather than a company.

  5. Use Action Verbs and Create Urgency

    Use action verbs like "act now" or "don't miss out" in your subject line to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to take action.

  6. Try out a Formula

    Formulas can help craft subject lines that deliver results. For example: 

    1. The only way to [achieve desirable thing] without [doing undesirable thing]

      ie: The only way to revolutionize your wardrobe without breaking the bank

    2. [Do hard thing] in [Short period of time] even if [Shortcoming]

      ie: Run a marathon in record time even if you’ve never been an athlete

    3. [Achieve desirable thing] like [an expert] without [something expected]

      ie: Master the art of cooking like Gordon Ramsay without spending hours in the kitchen

Remember, a strong subject line can make all the difference in whether or not someone engages with your email. Keep it short, make a clear promise, use curiosity and personalization, and create urgency to encourage action..

Tool tip: Use the Headline Analyzer by Capitalize my Title to see how strong your subject is!

Preview Text

A speech bubble reading “Skip the line with buy online!!” poking out from the lifted edge of an envelope.

Preview text, often overlooked in email marketing, can entice a recipient to open and read your messages. This text appears after the sender and subject lines, and ensuring it is unique rather than extracting it from the email body, is recommended. Here are some tips on how to create effective email preview text:

  1. Write a teaser that gets straight to your main point.

  2. Expand on the subject of your email message

  3. Use action words to convince your recipient of the importance of your message.

  4. Be aware of characters and length as most inboxes only display between 35-90 characters of preview text.

  5. A/B test your preview text to determine what works best for your audience.

Overall, effective email preview text can increase your open rate, making it a vital aspect of any email marketing campaign. By following these best practices, you can increase the chances that customers will open and read your emails.

In Conclusion

Crafting captivating subject lines and compelling preview text is key to achieving marketing success through email. By creating impactful content that resonates with your audience's needs and desires you can significantly boost conversions. By doing your research, following best practices, and delivering value in every word, you can make a meaningful difference and achieve remarkable success for your brand.


When it comes to email marketing, compelling email copy is a must, but to really stand out and hook your prospects, marketers should also stay well-informed and on top of the latest trends. If you have any questions about improving your email marketing, feel free to reach out to us at

Arctic Leaf is a digital agency with over 10 years of e-commerce experience serving clients of all industries. Our entire team is Baymard UX certified and our amazing developers can build everything from simple Shopify themes to fully custom headless experiences.