10 tips for subject line inspiration

If you wonder how to come up with a good subject line, then these 10 tips for subject line inspiration should help you with that.
Remember, the subject line is one of few factors that decides what people do with your email. It could even be the most important conversion factor in email marketing.
Now then, it is important to spend some time and effort on creating a good subject line. But where and how to get inspiration for that great email subject?
image via Flickr

Here are the 10 tips for subject line inspiration.

1. Subscribe to newsletters from other organizations

It might seem just a bit too obvious, but you can draw a lot of inspiration from other organizations’ subject lines. Not just in your industry (that’s next one) but also from way different industries.

2. Subscribe to competitors, clients and partners newsletters

On top of number one, not just for the subject line inspiration: also for staying updated on what they are up to. Your competitors roughly have the same audience as you do, so read up on how they talk to that audience.

 3. Keep up with the news

Keep up with the news for two important reasons: first of all, read the headlines to learn how people write subject lines (because that is what headlines are) that entice you to read one. These people have been writing headlines all their working life, so pay attention. The second reason is that you can keep up with current events, and put that back into your own email campaign’s subject line.

4. Have a calendar ready

Because how cheesy it may be, wishing people an Eggcellent Easter still can make them smile. Know when important (local) events are, and use that to time the wording of your subject line

5. Keep an eye on the weather

Same reason as the calendar at number 4. Hot, cold, windy, sunny outside? Use it to your advantage in the subject line. Depending on your product or service, it might be a nice tie-in too! If you’re a book store and it’s cold outside, tell people to stack up on books to read. Similarly, if the weather is sunny, advise people to stack up on books to read while having a picnic. Simple!

6. Use Google Trends for search trends insights

Google Trends has lately become one of my favorite tools to see what’s trending with people. Google Trends shows you search volume for a maximum of five trends compared. It also allows you to select a time frame and a geolocation. Here’s how Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and YouTube stack up for example.
This can not only help you create new content which involves your brand and industry, but also compile subject lines for future email campaigns and newsletters.

7. Billboards. Read them.

As you drive past in your car, bus, train or on your bike, have a little respect for the marketers creating billboard ads. There’s a lot of pressure resting on their shoulders (because big money is involved), and they are limited in how many words they can use.
For example, Dutch billboard company Interbest, which owns many big billboards along the highway, advises a maximum of 8 words. In email, you could tell yourself you can get away with more words. But what if they are cut off, or people simply don’t read them because they’ve got another 8,894 unread messages in their inbox? Therefor, read the billboards: it might just help in getting you that bit of much needed inspiration.

8. Your audience = not your generation? Talk to people who are the right generation

Cya, fml, smh, rotflol, yolo…if those words don’t mean much to you, it might be time to call in some support troops. This is especially true if your target group is not of your generation. Young people use different words and wordings to express themselves than adults. And adults express themselves differently than the elderly people.
Be sure to speak the right lingo: use the correct words, sentences and sayings and you might just get through to your audience a bit easier.  Let people from the right audience read your subject lines and have them give feedback. It might be your best chance to get some insights into their language and pick up some great tips.

9. Listen to the radio

Because radio is one of the few non-visual media, text is everything. Listen to jingles, slogans, ads and dj’s. A carefully crafted ad might be your next subject line – but then with your own content and intent in it, of course.

10. What’s in the email anyway?

If you still happen to have trouble finding inspiration for your subject line, look long and hard at what’s in the email. Ultimately, the subject line should entice people to do something with the email (or because of the email, like visiting a store).
For more on that, be sure to read this article: how to come up with a good subject line.
And please, don’t use Apple Watch in your subject line unless you are selling it, have tested it or have something news to tell. Don’t jump on bandwagons: have your own story and your own style. It makes your brand and your product more recognizable and unique to the outside world.


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