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Solopreneurs Test Out These 10 Types of Tested Email Subject Lines to get More Attention and Higher Open Rates

Screenshot OptinMonster article 150 tested email subject lines for more opens

You've heard and seen me teach and preach on the power of email marketing to drive business success for budget-minded small businesses and solopreneurs. Email marketing is far, far from dead! But sometimes our stats look sad and we worry we aren't reaching our mighty peeps on our carefully crafted lists. Look, there are a lot of reasons open rates may be down/off (and are a poor measure of overall success), but there ARE also ways we can work on getting more attention in crowded inboxes. I'm not talking about anything spammy! More like using some consumer psychology and knowledge of how human brains work – regardless of niche or industry or business size.

Now, I don't have hundreds of thousands of emails I can use as data to test everything about email writing or email subjects. I can't teach you everything I've learned on email writing – and all I still am working on. You need to dive in faster than that! 😁

BUT… I'm a researcher and a teacher, so I CAN share a source I've used. I go to this well-researched, well-crafted, and frequently updated post with more than 150 tested email subject lines from OptinMonster. It's about time I shared one of my ‘secret' tools with you too!

Check out more than 150 well-tested email subject lines in your business

This mega guide to email subjects that get attention is broken down by type or category of subject line – you should be aware of all 10 types of emails. They read like a primer on the human psyche or even the 7 deadly sins!  Check out a few, see what might work in your industry or niche – not all will be a clear fit for every type pf business, but don't write them off! Then mix, match, and test variations out for yourself!

The Core 10 Types of Human-Behavior-Driven Email Subjects

  1. FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – also known as ‘scarcity' or ‘urgency'
    e.g. ” your 6-figure content plan goes bye-bye at midnight”
  2. Curiosity – humans don't like gaps or open loops in their brains
    e.g. “9 disgusting facts about Thanksgiving”
  3. Funny/Humor– a fine line and requires creativity but can pay off (could also be a spot where you use pop culture references
    e.g. ” As You Wish” (a reference to the Princess Bride)
  4. Vanity/Ego – we all want to be liked and accepted
    e.g. “Your butt will look great in these workout pants”
  5. Greed – it's tough to pass up a really good deal
    e.g. “Flash. Sale. Alert”
  6. Sloth – we humans are a lazy lot! talk shortcuts or time-savers
    e.g. “steal these email templates”
  7. Pain Points – where are your customers on their customer journey? note the problems you solve
    e.g. “stop wasting money on ink”
  8. Retargeting subject lines (works if you have data about a subscirber – such as they failed to finish a purchase online, clicked your FB ad, didn't purchase after a trial, etc)
    e.g. “hey, forget something? Here's 20% off”
  9. Personal – personalization in subject lines (using a contact's name)
    e.g. “happy birthday mary – surprise inside!”
  10. Straightforward – when in doubt, keep it simple and clear
    e.g.” Happy Holidays from [Company Name]”


10 types of email subjects baed on human behavior psychology

Don't over think things, don't try to use ALL of these all of the time, do pick 2 or 3 types of subject to try out with your list and see what the data shows is working. Keep testing and learning. When in doubt, always be clear and give value to your people – align the subject with what's inside your email – no ‘bait-n-switch'!

To avoid landing in the spam folder, the dreaded ‘promotions' tab, or just being deleted  – take a little time to use natural human tendencies to craft a subject line that gets attention, gets opened, and gets read.

About the Author Jennifer Burke

I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.

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