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10 Words in E-mail Subject Lines Readers Respond Well To

email_marketing1Effectively grabbing readers simply through the subject line of an e-mail is proving to be more and more difficult as filtering technology becomes more refined. There are typically 5 categories to choose from when you’re selecting the right words for your subject line. The more muscular your choice, the greater your outcome may be.


Merely using the words “review” and “update” generated nearly 30% more clicks and openings than any other word related to the category of what might be inside the e-mail. This is primarily due to the fact that it generates a level of inquiry stemming from the notion that something important is contained in the e-mail.


“Daily” generates an average of 35% more openings of e-mail subject lines containing this as opposed to the words “weekly” or “monthly”. The impact of the word “daily” for a reader is important to understand; “daily” implies that there is something interesting, educational, or beneficial contained within. The phrase “Just released” may have the same effect.


This category for words is less successful, so let’s look at the worst words first. Foreign money symbols actually have negative percentages attached to their statistics of even being opened, so avoid those completely. “Discount” comes back with a negative percentage upwards of 40%! Avoid this word also. “Half price” has a success rate of obtaining openings at about 10%. This is probably in part due to the idea that people are always looking for a good sale and this seems more trustworthy than “discount.” Another word that may clear up avenues for opening and response from the subject line content alone would be the word “invest”; “invest” bears a heavier weight, as it is something which requires participation and promises a return. Getting something back will always interest readers.


The use of the word “limited” in this context pulls in about 24% of readers glancing at the subject line alone. “On sale now” grabs about 16%. Here, the use of these words expresses that something the consumer wants is now available in a way it was not before, and that it’s more accessible and special. This always appeals to your desired audience.

Name Brand/ Social Media

Iconic names will always bring in interested readers, particularly if the product or forum is something they own or participate in. This is why the word “twitter” will gain opening clicks of about 18%. Media are interesting, and readers want to partake in the gaining of knowledge by the day to day tracking of their favorite brands, activities, people, and places. The use of social media in a subject line makes perfect sense in this regard. With the word “iPad” in the subject line nearly 40% will click and open the e-mail based on the fact that “iPad” is a sensational, must-have product that most consumers are looking to obtain or upgrade.

What are some words that you have found to have high open rates in emails?

About the Author

Jovell Alingod is a Project Manager for eReflect, maker of Ultimate Vocabulary, a vocabulary improvement software for all ages with tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.

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3 Responses to '10 Words in E-mail Subject Lines Readers Respond Well To'

  1. Dean Saliba says:

    Sadly it isn’t that simple for me, I’ve been trying to make email marketing work for me for the best part of TEN YEARS and I still struggle to get people to open the emails.

    There is part of me that is starting to think about giving up on this and just concentrating on creating more content for the blogs. 🙂

    • Hi Dean,

      Well we’re not experts when it comes to email marketing but we’ve seen these words help for open rates. Maybe you just need to try another approach for your own campaigns.

    • Lisha says:

      Wow, 10 years? Well, no one gets 100% of their emails opened. Everyone gets too many emails and there’s just too much noise. The more awesome your first email is (and those that follow) the more likely people will want to open your emails. But again, people are busy, so even the most awesome of emails won’t be opened by many people. Also, if you’re in the make money online niche, it’s even harder to get your emails opened…

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