Email Marketing Headlines – How To Get Customers Clicking

Improve Your Email Open Rates with Eye-Catching Headlines

Email marketing headlines are even more important. It doesn’t matter how great the email is, even if it contains life changing information- without a good headline, it simply won’t be read.

And that would be a shame. Let’s see how we can improve on that.

If you are browsing through a magazine, what makes you turn to a particular article? The design team has put hours of work into how it looks, and the writers have crafted the content to make it sell. But what makes the article initially appeal to a reader?

The headline.

 Tips to Creating a Great Email Marketing Headlines

There are plenty of tips and tricks for writing an email headline that we will get to in a moment, but how the headline is written is just as important.

Writing a short headline means your customers will be able to see the whole thing in their email subject line. Under 50 characters is a good place to start, and will increase your open rates.

Avoid using caps lock for all those characters – using a few capital letters infrequently will draw attention, but you can have too much of a good thing.

Short, descriptive email marketing headlines get good results, especially for notification emails.

Extra points if you can make your headline appealing – try writing tactics like alliteration and good use of punctuation to make your headline stand out.

However, be aware that using both an exclamation mark and a question mark in the same headline can trigger some spam filters, so try not to use both.

More than two out of three millennials said that promotional emails influenced their decision to make purchases. What? Really? YES!

Email marketing has a higher return on investment than any other comparable advertising option, so it’s worth doing right.

Here are some ways to create a catchy, clickable headline and make sure your excellent marketing emails don’t go to waste.

The Personal Touch

Customers are more likely to click on an email that is specific to them. In fact, 55% of consumers prefer to open messages that contain relevant, personalised content.

It’s not enough just to include someone’s first name on the subject line.  No, no. It’s more, much more.

Unfortunately, many spam emails use this approach, so this tactic has lost its impact. However, there are many other details about your client that you collect when they browse your store, or sign up for a rewards program.

Birthdays are a great example – an email sent wishing the customer a happy birthday is much more likely to be opened, especially if it contains a freebie or discount to help them celebrate.

But you can also think outside the box. If you know that there has been bad weather in your customers’ location, your email heading might reflect this,

“Don’t let the weather get you down! 25% off winter clothing”

Think about the information you have that could be used to target your customers personally. You might know their:

  • names
  • location
  • transaction history
  • gender
  • birthday

All these details can be used to make an email marketing headline that makes customers feel valued and more likely to click.

Create Curiosity

Curious customers are more likely to click. If your email heading makes them wonder what’s inside, you have achieved your purpose.

You can create curiosity by withholding some information in your subject line. Your email heading might say,

“7 Beauty Tricks You Missed This Summer”


“Are You Using This Top Selling Brand?

Customers want to find out what it is they don’t know. Curiosity drives them to read on, which can be converted into click-through’s and therefore sales.

Sexy emails are also known to raise curiosity…..and more.

A Sense of Urgency

Urgency makes people less cautious, and more likely to jump into a sale. It also helps you get your emails opened – subject lines that encourage readers to act quickly are opened at a rate 22% higher than other emails.

You can create urgency by suggesting that the number of items or the time remaining to buy them is limited. But it will still have to be creative – short messages like “HURRY LIMITED TIME ONLY!!!” can often be disregarded as spam.

Personal headlines that are crafted to show you are concerned they might miss out on a deal should have good results.

“Don’t miss out! Our 50% off sale ends Thursday”

“Only 30 tickets left – have you got yours?”

Email Marketing Headlines That Scream Freebies

Everyone loves a freebie, and the promise of free goods is enough to convince most people to open an email.

There is an incorrect theory that using the work “free” in a subject line can cause an email’s junk filter to mark it as spam.

In fact, the evidence doesn’t support that theory. While you want to make your giveaway stand out, avoid spam-sounding phrases.

Remember, birthdays are a great opportunity to personalise your emails and to offer your giveaway promotion all in one. Customers feel cared for and more likely to visit your website to see what you have to offer.

 Evidence Removes Doubt

Called “social proof of concept”, the idea is that a concept seems more appealing if a large number of people are already involved and have “proven” its worth.

For example, a headline might show the large number of subscribers the page already has:

“Subscribe to our newsletter! Over 15,000 members can’t be wrong”

If a large number of people are subscribed, that shows the email recipient that the contents are likely to be worth a look.

A similar strategy uses public figures to make the subject more appealing – a makeup item used by a famous celebrity is more likely to be seen as desirable by a potential customer.

Re-Target Customers

If a customer has visited your store but left without purchasing an item, they could be a good candidate for an email with a re-targeting headline.

There are many reasons that customers may leave items in the cart without finishing the checkout process. Your customers might have been:

  • Put off by the cost of shipping
  • Making a “wish list”
  • Checking how much the total would be
  • Waiting for a discount
  • Not wanting to create an account
  • Concerned about the security of their information

If the product was in their cart, they were at least tempted to make the purchase. Your email marketing headline should capitalise on that and encourage them to make the final step.

You’ve left something behind! Get free shipping now.”

“Finish checking out for a 15% discount – today only”

Email Marketing Headlines For All Occasions

An event creates a sense of occasion and urgency, which encourages people to spend money. There are plenty of holidays and reasons you might have a sale, but you don’t have to wait for a physical event.

Create online promotional events that link to your brand – which could go along with some special offers – and include the most important information in your email headline.

Ask A Question

Questions not only make a headline seem more personal, they invite a response from the reader.

By hinting that a response is desired, you are encouraging action from your customer – starting with them opening the email, and hopefully ending in a sale.

Try headlines that make readers feel like your email needs an answer:

“Is your handbag on trend?”

“Are you coming to Sydney’s biggest party?”


While it is important to create an email that is worth opening, ultimately the most important thing is that the customer opens it in the first place.

There are many types of email marketing headlines that can encourage customers to open your email, and only a few are mentioned here.

For each email, try a few out before you hit send – popular wisdom suggests you write ten headings for each email, and then choose the best one. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Email marketing gets your business right into the hands and homes of your customers, and allows you to personalise and target your ads like never before. Make the most of this inexpensive and highly effective resource by doing your best to ensure that your emails are the ones that are interesting and appealing, and that your customers actually read.

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