Email Subject Lines – 7 Formulas You Can Start Using Now

Image of E=MC squaredHow do you create catchy email subject lines so enticing that your subscribers simply can’t resist opening them?

What you need are easy to use formulas that get emails opened. Formulas that inspire and spark ideas and kick your brain into gear, while applying best practices.

These examples are tried and true. They simply work.

Some work better for networking, some are a little more professional, some help you keep it personal, and some of these subject lines are down right funny (I’m not going to lie).

Swipe, test and deploy.

Use these formulas and let me know how things turn out.

 

Jump to any formula by clicking on it below.

The 7 Formulas To Create Powerful Email Subject Lines

 


1. The Report Formula

We all want to know what’s going on in the world whether we’re watching the news on TV or checking our friends Facebook statuses.

We want to hear the latest reports, stories, studies and ideas that are impacting our lives both directly or indirectly.

There’s no way to know everything and if you can highlight new things happening in your market you’ll always peak interest from your subscriber list.

The key is to focus on new information, inventions, innovations or etc. in your target market.

You want your subscribers to think, “That sounds interesting, I wonder what that’s all about?”

Having a firm grasp on your market and audience is crucial if you want to share the latest reports and happenings in your market and business, so you can turn subscribers into loyal fans and customers.

Find real news in the industry and report on how it ties into your product or service.

This should go without saying, but don’t make this stuff up.

Be truthful. Dibble, dabble and have fun with these.

New [Agency/Research Institute] approved [Process/Device] + [Benefit]

Examples:

  • New 30 Year Study Confirms This Invention “Unlocks” Your Fat Cells
  • New Intelligence Reveals The Secret To A Hidden Stock Market Secret
  • New Congressional Bill Opens The Door To New Business Opportunities
Innovative [System/Process/Product] + [Benefit]

Examples:

  • Innovative writing technique helps authors write 2k+ words per hour
  • Innovative software triples conversion rates
  • Innovative “straw” that purifies dirty water as you drink
Introducing [Technique/System/Process] + [Benefit/Mystery]

Examples:

  • Introducing the “Picasso”: How to design if you suck at design
  • Introducing New Buffer Analytics for Paid Plans: Find Your Most Clicked, Retweeted, or Liked Posts
  • Introducing the “zero-step” opt-in

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2. The Data Formula

The truth is in the data. If data is shockingly truthful then you’ll get an even bigger response rate with your emails. Using data in your email subject lines connects with the logical side of the brain. However, you can lure the artistic side of the brain simultaneously in one subject line by using extraordinary “data statements” in your subject lines.

The challenge most people run across is finding the data. Yes, you can Google your market’s stats and find some interesting statistics, however everyone else on the internet is using the same data.

Here are some ways to find unique data:

1. Track data over long periods of time.

For example, if you’re looking for compelling data check out the US Census Bureau and research your market over the past 30-100 years. You can find interesting data like population growth in a specific city or state. You can spot trends on where people are migrating to and share the growth stats in your subject lines.

2. Look at other government reporting sites like the Department of Labor, Department of Economics, Data.gov or etc. to gather a collection of compelling and shocking data that will support your product or service.

Places to find data:

  • Universities – Local or online there is plenty of data to find at universities
  • Twitter – One of the 4 largest social networks with a powerful search engine
  • Many-Eyes.com – Free Data visualization site by IBM
  • News Outlets – CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and etc.

With fresh data at your disposal use the email subject line formulas below to help you create compelling and powerful subject lines that increase your open rates.

[Percentage] + [Blank]
  • 25% of Harvard students aren’t getting jobs
  • 33.7% off pool installations in December
  • 0.3% of solar energy from the Sahara is enough to power the whole of Europe
[Blank] is rated as [Best/Worst/Most] + [Noun]
  • U.S. is rated as 3rd best country to build a business
  • In 2014 the most revenue was generated from search traffic ads
  • SweetBallz was the worst deal made on SharkTank so far
Something cool gets [Percentage growth/improvement] over old way
  • Image posts get 120% more engagement
  • Increase customer value up to 600%
  • Little known Facebook tip increased my leads by 132%

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3. The How To Formula

Everyone wants to learn how to do something.

No matter what niche or industry you serve it’s hard to go wrong with the classic “how to” email subject line.

People are need to fill knowledge gaps and if you target your audience at the right time with a strategic How To subject line your chances for increased open rates will explode.

Here are some example formulas that you can start using immediately:

Attention Grabbing Statement + [How To Do Something Better]
  • Don’t Drive Blind: How to Avoid Crashing & Blowing Up Your Online Business Into a Fiery Wreck
  • BREAKING NEWS Finally – How to Sell Your Business for SERIOUS Change
  • Boom! How to get 16,696 visitors in one week (new case study)
How [Outstanding Example/Normal Person] Does Something Cool
  • How Emily Faith got 76,974 YouTube views in 10 days…
  • How Marvel Comics congratulated Jurassic World for beating it’s record
  • How Uber Trounces the Competition
  • How Buffer’s Twitter Chat Reached 49,993,695 People in One Year
  • How Sean Platt Juggles a Wife and a Mistress
How to [Accomplish/Fix/Solve/Do Something]
  • How to get more Amazon product reviews
  • How to invest your IRA or 401k into real estate
  • How to Increase Sales 52% With One Technique
How To [Accomplish/Fix/Solve/Do Something] + Without “X”
  • How to find profitable business ideas without racking your brain
  • How to Double Your Writing Speed Without Lowering Its Quality
  • [Case Study #2] How to Build Your Business without Wasting Time or Money…
  • How to Get Customers Without Spending Any Money

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4. The Inquiry Formula

Have you ever sat in a meeting and the leader of the meeting asks something like, “Any questions?”

Everyone typically looks around to see who’s brave enough to ask the first question. When the first person asks their question that’s when the magic happens.

99.9% of the time the question is answered. Even if the answer is a simple, “I don’t know.”

It’s still an answer.

As humans we have a hard time resisting an open question. We feel almost compelled to say something.

Questions are powerful in email subject lines too.

People find it hard to resist opening a simple question email, because it feels personal and they feel somewhat compelled to see if they need to answer the question.

Adding that one little punctuation mark at the end of your emails subject lines is powerful.

Below are some Inquiry Formulas that have worked well for me and others in the past.

What + [question statement]
  • What were you looking for?
  • What happened?
  • What have you done since last year?
  • What areas are you looking to grow in?
  • What’s your biggest challenge right now?
When + [question statement]
  • When can we connect?
  • When do you want to meet?
  • When will you take the leap and grab your dream?
  • When can I follow-up?
Where + [question statement]
  • Where can I send your gift?
  • Where did you find us?
  • Where do you need help the most in your business?
  • Where is the best place to travel in Europe?
  • Where is the worst place to travel in July?
How + [question statement]
  • How can I help?
  • How many times will it take?
  • How likely are you to open this email?
Who + [question statement]
  • Who am I? Ever ask yourself that?
  • Who do you need to know in order to get what you want?
  • Who is the greatest blogger of all time? Details inside…
[Brief statements that end with a question mark]?
  • Quick question?
  • Is this yours?
  • Did I/we do something wrong?
  • Are you serious?

 


5. The Endorsement Formula

Why is it when a salesperson tells me, “Trust me, this is the best car on the lot.” I immediately don’t believe them?

But if a complete stranger told me, “She’s a really great salesperson – you can trust her advice.” I’d be open to what she would recommend to me.

That’s the power of endorsements.

Advertisers have known for decades that what others say about you, your brand or your product builds trust in potential buyers.

Which is why many websites, brochures and even power houses like Amazon.com have reviews and testimonials sprinkeled throughout the site.

Endorsements work. Period.

They also work really well for email subject lines.

Make a note of these formulas and start using them today.

I’d recommend that you take a look at any automated emails you might have set up in your email marketing software and test out some of these formulas.

“[Insert quote]” by [Author’s Name]
  • “Before You Question My Work/Life Balance, Read This.” published by Gary Vaynerchuk
  • “Be the Leader you Wish you had” published in IDEO Stories by Clark Scheffy
  • “I Got Fired Two Days Ago” – Justin Roberson
[Event/Group Name] + “[Insert quote]”
  • Join 11 Business Builders at “Become Friends With Hundreds of 6 and 7-Figure Income Earners”
  • New announcement on “The Complete Facebook Ads and Facebook Marketing Course 2015”
  • World Domination Summit “You have to attend!”
“[Testimonial Quote/Question]”
  • “I need help coming up with a good idea”
  • “You’d be completely dumb not to try this out!”
  • “I’ve Read 250+ Books On Finance and None Of Them Compare to This 42-Minute Audio Recording”
[Special Phrase] + [Benefit/Emotional Statement]
  • Have you heard of “The Drafting Technique?”
  • The “Old-Fashioned” Way to Know Your Market
  • Flamboozled! I couldn’t believed I was “tricked” again.

 


6. The Loop Formula

“The doctor cleared his throat. ‘I’m sorry, but I have bad news.’

He paused, looking down at the floor. He looked back up at her. He started to say something and then stopped, looking back down at the floor.

That’s when Pat began to cry.”

Jon Morrow wrote that opening section on one of the most popular blog posts of all time at Copyblogger.com.

After reading that section you’re probably wondering, “What in the world is going on with Pat and this doctor? Why is she crying? What’s the bad news?”

Jon’s opening for this post immediately creates open loops in the reader’s mind. 10s of thousands of people were compelled to read the post, comment on the post and share the post because of the open loops it created with those few opening lines.

When you create open loops in someone’s mind it’s like an itch that has to be scratched.

The reason why open loops are so powerful is because it plays on people’s curiosity and the desire to know what happens next.

Open loops are used all the time in soap operas and many late night TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Flash and many more.

Just think of all of the season finales you’ve watched over the years. The hero has her back to the wall and it looks like she’s doomed. There’s nowhere else to go. What is she going to do? She’s looking around frantically but the zombies are everywhere and there’s no place to run.

The screen goes dark and all you see next is, “Tune in next season…”

That open loop is why so many people love watching TV shows. We love suspense, and we can’t stand it when we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Leveraging these Loop Formulas below for your email subject lines is a great way to help you get more opens and more engagement.

When creating open loops make sure you close them or else you run the risk of upsetting a bunch of people. Use responsibly.

FYI + [The Missing Piece]
  • FYI…There’s more
  • FYI I messed up – Big time
  • FYI…
[Incomplete Statement] + …
  • A web developer walks into a bar…
  • I yelled, “Stop!” She turned around and…
  • The biggest thing to happen to podcasting since…
[Something Cool] + For You
  • A free gift for you
  • Jared, letter for you.
  • We made a fun video for you

 


7. The This/That Formula

There are certain words in the english language that naturally create curiosity when read or even spoken.

Have you ever stood waiting to meet a friend or family and as soon as you see them they open with something like this?

“I can’t believe Christie did this!”

or

“You’re not going to believe this.”

Naturally, when your friend, or family member makes a statement like that your curiosity shoots through the roof and you can’t resist replying with a simple, “Did what?” or “Believe what?”

Using words like “this” and “that” naturally add curiosity to a conversation, and they even work on email subject lines.

This is a simple formula, but there are thousands of examples in which it can be used.

Luckily, I’ve gathered a good group to help you get started.

End the Email Subject Line With “This”
  • What do you think about this?
  • I can’t believe the publisher did this
  • In case you missed this
Start the Email Subject Line With “This”
  • This SEO strategy is being targeted by Google
  • This shift took my business to the next level
  • This is a pretty big deal
Blend “That” or “This” Into The Email Subject Line
  • No more tricks: 5 ways to create content that Google wants to rank
  • 4 minutes that can make you a productivity machine
  • The companies that know us better than we know ourselves
Combine [This] + [That] + […] + [?]
  • This book changed my life…
  • Want to learn a simple trade that’s produce 43% avg return for the past 6 years?
  • Split test this, not that
  • Wow…that was near epic. Wait till you see this

I hope you found these formulas useful.

I created a free eBook with all 14 Email Subject Line Formulas, which you can access below.

Let me know in the comments if these formulas were useful or not.

 

Get All 14 Email Subject Line Formulas Inside This Free Ebook

Download Now

Currently for sale on Amazon for $2.99 but subscribers get it for free
All 14 Formulas that generate higher opens and more sales from your email list…
EASY TO USE book structure that allows you to jump to each formula instantly

Access the other formulas like:

  • The Boost Formula
  • The Snafu Formula
  • The Menace Formula
  • The Stupefy Formula
  • And much more…