7 Tips for Writing Compelling Newsletter Subject Lines

Ed Pronley


June 6, 2022 (Updated: January 23, 2024)

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Sending newsletters to your audience in the hope of making conversions is an effective marketing strategy. But it’s hard to break through the inbox noise. How do you make your emails stand out? How do you get your emails to generate more clicks and opens than your competitors? It’s all in the subject line. That’s literally all you have in your corner to earn an email open. Learning a few tips for writing compelling newsletter subject lines can help you boost your marketing campaign and entice your readers to open your emails.

Tips for Writing Compelling Newsletter Subject Lines

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Image via Pexels by Torsten Dettlaff

Here are some tips to help you write stronger newsletter subject lines:

1. Emphasize the Problem and Solution

Some of the most effective newsletters provide a solution to a problem or challenge your target audience is experiencing. This solution not only improves their satisfaction but encourages them to interact with the company further by reading additional content or even making a purchase. Don’t bury the lead with your subject line. Use it to immediately entice your readers. Mention the problem or challenge they might have, and tease a solution to it in the newsletter itself.

For example, let’s say you run a book publishing company. You might write a newsletter for authors on tips for getting their work published. Your subject line might read: “Constantly getting ignored by literary agents? We’ve got you covered.”

2. Target Emotion

If you can get your audience to feel something, no matter the emotion, you’ll definitely have their attention. Tickle their curiosity. Offer them hidden tips for sales or secret marketing strategies. Enhance their trust in your company. Promise them verified information or dependable services. Using powerful words, like the ones bolded in the previous sentences, help to invoke emotion in your readers. They want to know more about what your newsletter offers and feel more inclined to open it.

3. Perform Split Tests

Split tests, or A/B tests, occur when you send out the same newsletter with two different subject lines. If you have a smaller email list, sending one subject line to 50% of your audience and another subject line to the other 50% shows you which one might be more effective. You can use the analytics of your newsletter service to see which email gets the most opens. Using that information, you can see what attracts your audience the most and how to craft more compelling subject lines in the future. You can even identify trends (for example, does your audience usually open emails with a statistic in the subject line?) that you can use for other forms of content like the title of case studies and eBooks or print marketing materials.

If your email list is large, try A/B testing your subject line to 50% of recipients, with half of those (for a total of 25% of your entire list) receiving one option and the other half of 50% receiving the other. Give the test a fair amount of time to perform so you can see which subject line comes out on top. Then, you can use that winning subject line when you send your email to the other 50% of your total subscriber list. If the people have spoken that this is the more enticing subject line, why not listen?

Read more: 5 Crucial Tips for A/B Testing Your Copywriting

4. Personalize It

Some email newsletter services allow you to collect information on your audience. That includes their name, recent purchases, and more. Using their systems, you can add personalization to your subject lines. For example, when someone makes a purchase, you could send them a newsletter with the subject: “Thanks for Your Purchase! Learn The Best Ways To Use Your New Product.” If you know your reader’s name, you could even send them a subject line like this: “Alicia, Do You Know The Best Way to Boost Your Sales?”

Email is already a personal marketing tool because you send the marketing materials straight to your audience’s inbox. Adding some extra personalization can help your email stand out from the crowd and hook their attention.

5. Use Numbers or Statistics

Numbers and statistics quickly attract the eye to your subject line. That’s because numbers are intriguing and statistics can be shocking. Instead of writing “Tips for Improving Your Focus” as a subject line, try “9 Tips for Improving Your Focus.” It might seem like a trivial change, but adding a number to the front makes the newsletter feel quickly readable and digestible. It also makes the tips feel more intentional, as in “There might’ve been ten thousand tips we could’ve told you about, but we narrowed it down to the nine most helpful ones.”

Statistics can be shocking and can immediately grab your reader’s attention. If it’s crazy or intriguing enough, your audience can’t ignore it. People love learning new things. Even better, they love learning new things they can share with others. Adding statistics not only helps your newsletter stick with your audience well after they’re done reading it, but it also helps them feel more inclined to forward it to someone they know.

Read more: 12 Online Sources To Find Statistics for Copy and Infographics

6. Include a Deadline

Deadlines in your subject line help to create a fear of missing out (FOMO). You want your audience to feel like they need to open your newsletter now and take advantage of its information before it’s too late. For example, your subject line might read, “Ten Things To Do For Your Business Before the New Year.” Sending that just before the holidays might have a big impact on its open rate. Sending it in the middle of the summer might be less. But the deadline is still there, and it can intrigue your audience to read further.

7. Ask a Question

Asking a question gets your audience thinking about the answer and how it might affect them. It’s an intriguing way to get them to open your email. For example, “How Do You Generate Backlinks? Your SEO Might Be Suffering.” This question sticks in the back of your audience’s mind and makes them wonder if they could be doing more for their search engine optimization (SEO). The hope is that they wonder enough to make them click.

Using some or all of these tips in your newsletter campaign can help improve your open rate. But what’s next? Do you have the calls to action in place to bring them to your site? Do you know how to move them into the next level of your sales funnel with effective content? It’s important to think about how improving your newsletter’s subject line fits into your overall marketing strategy. After all, it’s not just a subject line. Clicking your subject line and opening your email is often one of the very first steps someone takes in interacting with your brand. Make sure where they go from there keeps them coming back for more.

At CopyPress, we have a team of expert writers, editors, and quality assurance specialists who know how to develop compelling content for any brand and its target audience. No matter your industry or niche, we can deliver quality written content that pairs well with all your current marketing strategies. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can boost your content marketing campaign.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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