Top 5 Email Subject Lines (and why they work…)

Try These Subject Lines For Higher Open Rates And Satisfied Clients

Posted by Heath W.

Subject lines can be garbage.

Or they can be magical little treats that boost trust with your list.

Question: have you ever come across a subject line in your inbox that you couldn’t help yourself and you just had to open it?

Why is that?

What was it about the subject line that made you go, “yes, please” and click??

Let’s talk about it right now.

Quick Note Up Top: I wanna get this outta the way first…

When creating subject lines, you want to create “curiosity” not “clickbait”… and here’s the difference:

“Curiosity” makes people feel compelled to open an email, read the content within the said email, and feel like they got something valuable out of it. 

“Clickbait” is garbage fuel that makes you click and then hate yourself for clicking it. (It’s OK… we’ve all done it.)


Curiosity subject line:

“I woke up and couldn’t move… (here’s what happened)”

If you were to read that subject line, then you would want to know “what happened”?

And if the content made an appropriate connection to the subject line and there’s value within the content, then it’s a win-win.

Clickbait subject line:

“You won’t believe how ‘high’ this turtle gets (NSFW)”

In other words, “clickbait” subject lines elicit the most extreme ways to get you to “click.”

Then you open up the email and the content has zero to do with the subject line. In other words, the subject line was a lie to get you to simply click. 

It boils down to this:

Curiosity creates interest and value and provides the highest CTR percentage.

Clickbait is cheap and loses trust with your customer. You’ll get a high open rate, but you’ll get an awful CTR and customers will jump ship. 

If you’re not sure if a subject line is “curious” or “clickbait” ask yourself this:

Will the customer click and then bounce?


Will the customer click and then read the whole email and receive value? 

Obviously, you know which is which…

Here’s the quick and dirty way to create good subject lines that provide the best open rates and CTRs.

Number 1: “How to” Subject Lines…


“How to ruin your life (in 5 steps)…”

“How to boost your success (do it today)…”

“How to hard boil eggs the new way…”

People love to learn.

Probably started when we were cavemen (maybe, I don’t know, that’s not the point).

The point is this: we want to better ourselves and any time we can learn “how to do” anything (especially when it’s easier than what we’ve been told), then we’ll click and read.

Number 2: Question subject lines…


“Why would you bet this on the farm?”

“What’s going on?”

“When is it going to happen?”

“Did you sign up?”

“Are you OK?”

“How come…?”

“Why do you never win?

Anything that’s asking a question immediately makes people open and read.

We naturally want an answer to the question or be part of the conversation.

But make sure the question is still connected to the content you write within the body of the email. Always make that connection so people will feel compelled to read all the way through. 

Number 3: Urgency Subject Lines…


“This is it (ending now)…”

“This is important (24 hours left)”

“Your spot is saved (if you hurry)…”

“FINAL NOTICE: This ends in 2 hours…”

Remember this… people are more motivated by what they can lose rather than what they can gain.

Who knows why we act the way we do, but when it comes to making decisions, we tend to wait until the last minute.

These subject lines work.

But fair warning: they can be burnt out if you use them ALL. THE. TIME.

Be honest with your urgency.

No one likes the boy who cried wolf.

Number 4: Mystery Subject Lines…


“I was scared for my life…”

“This unlikely tool saved my career…”

“Very bad morning I never want again…”

“I was too late to the hospital…”

“I didn’t mean to say the F word…” (note: this one is more of a “shocker” subject line, so please use sparingly…)

These border on the “clickbait” feel, but as long as you still provide value that is connected to the subject line, then you’re in the clear.

And if you are nervous, then clarify the subject line within the first few lines in the body of your email so people get where you’re coming from.

Now, why does this work?

Mystery is mystery… we want to solve. We want answers. Simple as that. 

Why do you think mystery novels and films are such a success??

They keep the person engaged, constantly wondering what’s going to happen next.

Number 5: Top X List Subject Lines…


“Top 5 Ways To Get More Leads…”

“Top 10 Copywriting Secrets To Convert…”

“Top 2389 Ways To Say ‘No’ (and here’s why…)”

People love lists.

They’re simple, clean, and straight to the point.

So use lists to your advantage.

Big disclaimer…

Are these THE ONLY subject lines that work??

Of course not.

Look at the lists you are currently on. What subject lines made you click right away and open up their emails?

What can you do to take their subject lines and adapt it to your own list?

Don’t plagiarize, obviously, but there’s always a way to take a subject line and change it to make it work for you.

And remember, online marketing is constantly evolving. There are WAY more amazing subject lines out there.

So start testing and see which ones work for you!

And when writing, always always remember this:

Would you read it?

Are you bored?

Would you subscribe?

Would you purchase?

Remember, if you bore someone, they’ll run away and never contact you again.

Make it fun, make it engaging, and of course… make it valuable.


Did this post speak to you?

Do you think some of your friends would like to read it?

Then feel free to share it on social media.

Or maybe print it out and mail it to your fun uncle that lives in the woods.

He needs to know about subject lines, too.


  • a couple of years ago