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Techniques for High-Performing Newsletter Email Subject Lines

Discover the science behind high-performing newsletter email subject lines with our 5 proven techniques. Improve your open rates today.

newsletter email subject lines

Last updated on November 22, 2023

You’re walking by a newspaper stand, scanning the headlines. The right one catches your eye, piques your curiosity, and you can’t resist grabbing the paper. Well, my friend, that’s precisely how newsletter email subject lines work.

If you want to boost your open rates and make meaningful connections, you’ve got to nail your subject lines. The good news is that with a few simple tricks, you can become a subject line master in no time. Did you know emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened?

But that’s not all! Short and snappy newsletter subject lines with 50 characters or less can take your open rates to the next level. They result in 12% higher open rates and a whopping 75% higher click-through rates compared to their longer counterparts. Your email inbox is about to become a lot more interesting.

Keep It short, sweet, and scannable

Once in a while, we all order food online. And when you’re scanning a menu, you spot a dish with a tantalizing description in just a few words. It grabs your attention instantly, right?

Well, the same principle applies to email subject lines. People skim over newsletter email subject lines to quickly understand the message, so they should be easily digestible.

So aim for subject lines of around 5-8 words or 40–60 characters to make them easily scannable and prevent truncation. But first, make sure you know the reasons why your subject lines end up in the spam folder.

How to write short subject lines

  • Use actionable language: Use action verbs or phrases that prompt recipients to take action. for example, “shop now,” “save big,” or “unlock.”
  • Create curiosity: Pique curiosity without giving everything away. leave some room for recipients to wonder what’s inside. For instance, “Don’t miss the best deal…” or “The unknown fact about…”
  • Highlight numbers: Numbers can stand out in a subject line and convey a specific benefit. For instance, “These 5 tips can improve…” or “Save $60 on your next purchase.”
  • Leverage urgency: Create a sense of urgency or scarcity, if applicable. Phrases like “last chance” or “act now” can be effective.

Ask questions to trigger curiosity

Curiosity is a powerful motivator. When you ask the right questions in your newsletter email subject lines, you pique your readers’ interest and drive them to open and engage with your message. We all have a natural curiosity about certain topics or subjects.

Think about your audience and the types of things they’re inherently curious to know more about. For example, if you’re emailing customers, consider asking open-ended questions that get them thinking, like:

  • What if you could double your savings?
  • What’s the story behind this mouthwatering recipe?
  • What if the ending isn’t what you expect?

Share a compelling statistic or information

Surprising or counterintuitive facts often trigger curiosity. Include an attention-grabbing stat in your subject line, then explain more in the email body. Some newsletter email subject line examples are:

Subject: Did you know 80% of companies don’t do this?

Body: According to a recent study, 80% of companies don’t provide ongoing customer experience training for employees. We’re in the minority – here’s how our program helps set us apart.

Tease valuable information

If you have useful tips, case studies, or resources to share, highlight them in your subject line without giving away all the details. For example:

Subject: The 3 tools you need to know about
Body: To stay on the cutting edge, here are 3 tools that every marketer needs to utilize:

  • Tool A: Allows you to…
  • Tool B: It helps you to…
  • Tool C: Enables you to…

Keep your readers guessing, and they’ll open your email to learn more. With the right approach, you can turn simple subject lines into compelling conversation starters. Give your readers a reason to engage and keep the discussion going!

Using social proof to boost open rates

Using social proof in your newsletter subject lines is a great way to boost open rates. People are strongly influenced by what others do and think, so highlighting popular or well-received content convinces readers that your newsletter is worth opening.

Mention subscriber numbers

Using phrases like “7,000 Minds, One Newsletter: You’re Invited!” or “Our list just hit 10,000 subscribers!” taps into our herd mentality. Large numbers imply popularity and peak interest. But be honest—don’t inflate your stats.

Share testimonials and reviews

Featuring short quotes from happy readers in your subject line, like “Eye-opening and actionable!” (John, Subscriber), gives social proof through the opinions of real people. Keep these to 1 or 2 sentences so they’re easy to read quickly.

Note high click or open rates

If a previous email had an especially high open or click rate, highlight that in your new subject line. Something like “A fan favorite returns: our top-clicked article!” reminds readers of past interest and success.

Spotlight social shares

Mentioning how many times readers have shared or tweeted an article on social media also provides social proof. For example, “1,000+ Shares Can’t Be Wrong—See Why!” People are curious about what others are sharing.

Using these types of social proof helps build trust in your newsletter and brand by demonstrating reader interest and support. When people see others opening, clicking, sharing, and loving your content, they become much more likely to engage with it themselves.

Give your readers that extra nudge with strategically placed social proof in your subject lines.

Use current events or seasonality as hooks

Staying on top of current events and the changing seasons are two tricks that can help you craft compelling newsletter email subject lines. Your subscribers are more likely to open an email if the subject line catches their attention or sparks their interest in some way.

Current events

Pay attention to news and trends in your industry or area of expertise. For example, if a big product launch or software update has recently occurred, work that into your subject line. Something like “The latest on [new product name]” or “What the new [software update] means for your business.”

Your subscribers will open the email to get the scoop on this current event. You can also tie current viral internet news, memes, hashtags, or challenges into your subject lines in a clever, relevant way.


Seasonal themes are always a great way to catch attention and drive open. In the fall, try something like “Fall for our biggest sale of the year!” or “Leave your competitors behind with our autumn offers.” For the winter holidays, “Unwrap big savings this season!” or “New year, new you: Transform your business in 2023.”
Subject lines such as “Sizzle your sales with our hottest deals!” or “Make a splash this summer with new lead generation strategies” can resonate in the summer.

Combining current events and seasonality

Using seasonal references in your subject lines shows your subscribers you’re timely and relevant. And the familiar themes are an easy hook to capture interest. Of course, combining current events and seasonality into one subject line can be even more compelling.

For example, “Unwrap the latest social media trends this holiday season” or “New year, new software: latest tech for 2023 business growth” Mixing timely topics with your standard offers and promotions helps ensure your emails get priority placement in crowded inboxes.

With a little attention to what’s happening in the world and the turning of the seasons, you’ll be crafting subject lines that hook your subscribers and encourage them to open your emails. Staying timely and relevant is key to writing the best email newsletter subject lines and improving your open rates.


So there you have it: five simple tricks for crafting newsletter email subject lines that feel personal and get results. Email marketing may require a bit more work and a WordPress Newsletter Plugin. But the payoff in building stronger customer relationships and driving more engagement is well worth it. Keep testing, keep learning, and keep improving. Your subscribers will appreciate your dedication to crafting messages just for them.

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