How to Create Compelling Subject Lines for your Email Marketing Campaign

How to Create Compelling Subject Lines for your Email Marketing Campaign

A well-crafted email marketing campaign in Singapore will help your business get more customers. Statistics reveal that there are more than four billion active email accounts.

Email owners receive about three hundred billion emails in their inboxes from businesses.

These calculations approximate up to seventy-five emails in the inbox daily.

Most people do not spend time opening and reading these emails.

Most email messages are never opened and keep being marked as already read.

We want to avoid this form of inbox skimming for your business emails.

Do you want your business emails to be read in line with promoting your online sales?

How can you design a high-performing email subject line?

This article goes through the process of creating an attention-grabbing subject to enhance your email marketing campaign in Singapore.


  • Develop FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Response

Why is FOMO so bad, and what does 'FOMO' mean in social media? - Quora

The fear of missing out is the psychological response that pushes a person to do something due to the fear of missing experience or free information that other people know.

This gives your audience an urge that keeps them stuck on their news feed, waiting for your next post.

Thus, you want to create fear that they could miss out on a business opportunity or promotion if they do not open the email.

This tactic makes people click on your emails in their inbox to avoid missing out.

A good example is a FOMO by Warby Parker, an eyeglasses company, saying,” Your glass prescription is expiring.” This line creates a physiological fear of whether it is true or not.

During a sales promotion, you could use a FOMO such as,” You are missing out.

Most people will get curious enough to click and see what they are missing out on.

One of the primary FOMO subject lines is” hey”, followed by the recipient’s name.

It may not be beneficial for ordinary people, but it probably works for high-profile celebrities.

Try it on your existing or new email marketing campaign in Singapore to see if it works.

  • Create Subject Lines That Have Humor

Sigmund Freud, a renowned psychologist, said that humour is one of the best and few ways to get straight to a person’s subconscious mind.

Humour dissolves the mechanisms of defence, mental blocks, and logical thinking, which may prevent connections between two people.

By making people laugh, you will earn from them. People have continuously put barriers in the way of marketing strategies.

Some are aware of FOMO subject lines businesses use to lure them, and thus, they will not click. However, the majority of people won’t react negatively to humour.

You must monitor and understand your audience first before creating these funny subject lines.

This is because people have different tastes in humour.

What I find funny is considered offensive or of poor taste by others — first, research the type of humour that works best for your audience.

The most humorous email subject line is “don’t open this email” developed by Manicure.

  • Offer Solution to People’s Needs at The First Glance

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People love that you can solve their problems regarding savings, weight loss, or any other topic.

It doesn’t have to be workable, but the idea that they will get a solution without appealing to many people will make them curious to click on your email.

A science professor says that people develop discomfort, which results in physiological self-denial.

Since the existence of humanity, the mentality perspective is to use the opportunity at hand, and it is tough to resist this instinct.

You have to understand the needs of your audience to produce an email subject line with instant gratification.

This is one of the secrets of succeeding in email marketing.

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  • Generate Curiosity

Curiosity is the act of creating an understanding gap resulting from mental deprivation.

Human beings were created curious about wanting to know more about something.

You want to make the person fill the void in which he or she has to click into the mail to fill the gap.

The pursuit of fulfilling their curiosity makes them click on these best curious email subject lines while skipping the rest.

A great example of such a subject line is” not cool guys,” created by Buzzfeed. You want to know what’s not cool.

  • Create Insider-Like Subject Lines

Inside jokes provide an excellent option for email subject lines. Most people feel special in something that they understand, while other people do not.

This makes them feel they are a part of your brand. Insider-like lines apply correctly to a group of audience who use a particular common language.

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You get to engage with them more as they see you as part of the insider.

  • Generate Outrageous Lines

When running an email marketing campaign in Singapore, you must be careful about outrageous lines, as some may offend some of your audience.

However, it is one of the most effective methods of getting away from boring email lines daily.

Few people respond to standard and simple email descriptions.

Outrageous subject lines are not about engaging in personal issues or igniting controversies.

You want to cause an unbelievable state to your audience by what you said or stuff like that for the people to react differently.

Some will find it offensive and funny, and others non-conformist. The goal is to get them clicking on your emails.

  • Promote Their Ego

Everybody has an ego in one way or another.

You will become their friend by saying things that make another person feel great about themselves.

A subject line that touches on people’s feelings or emotions triggers them positively.

Thus, you want to stroke the ego of those with high perceptions of self-importance and pride.

One of the best examples of such lines was developed by Fabletics, “your butt will look great in these workout pants.”

Nobody who doesn’t want to hear such lines.

  • Share Their Pain

People are interested in businesses that understand their pain points.

Your email subject lines should give the impression that you know well why and how your audience uses your products and services.

Frame it so that you speak from the side of your audience rather than your company.

You can fill in a couple of templates to produce a perfect subject email line. One of the best examples is the Uber subject line,” Since we can’t all win the lottery.”

  • Personalize Your Email Subject Lines

Personalized email subject lines are mostly meant to send specific emails to people at particular sales times.

In these, you may include the recipient’s name in the email’s subject line.

Personalized emails effectively welcome new subscribers, thanking the people for the purchase, proposing other items regarding the purchase, and reminding them to complete a video.

The message and timing are what bring the effectiveness of personalized email subjects. Email automation provides the best way to achieve these.

  • Grouping Your Email Subject Lines

This involves grouping your email recipients into segments according to their main characteristics.

These groupings may include geography, industry, age range, behaviours, and job roles.

You will then design the email marketing campaign subject lines based on these characteristics to make them more engaging and relevant.

According to research statistics, non-segmented emails have a fourteen per cent lower open rate than segmented emails.

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More so, segmenting your email subject lines can improve your business email-generated revenues by about fifty-eight per cent.

  • Avoiding Spam Language

You will not always want to make your subject line sound spammy.

However, the rampant misuse of some headlines has led to spam filters referring to some languages as spammy.

Spammy language has proven to be very costly for business brands who accidentally use it.

It won’t be cool for you to spend much time and money creating a great list of subscribers only for you to be blocked.

Some of these spam words are innocent but may be used in spammy ways. Your email deliverability will be improved by evading spam language.

  • Building A Sense of Earnestness

Creating a sense of urgency is an effective tactic for your digital and email marketing. Naturally, when people feel they can do something later, they leave it to come back later.

However, they will rarely come back.

Research conducted showed that more than twenty per cent of people procrastinate often.

Most online users perceive themselves as busy and have no time to open their emails.

You want to make people feel they must act now to avoid missing out on an opportunity.

This way, they will at least click on your email to see what it contains.

For you to achieve the highest email open rates, create a great earnestness so that people feel they must open your mail now.


12 Email Copywriting Hacks to Give You an Unfair Advantage

The above 12 tips will increase your email open rate but may not result in sales if the copy is poorly written.

The email copy must be compelling to encourage the target customers to convert or take any desired action.

Here are 12 email copywriting hacks to give you an unfair advantage over your competitors.

All of them are acceptable to Google and the digital marketing fraternity.

  • Set a Goal for Each Email

What do you want to achieve from the email?

Without goals, it will be impossible to know whether the email campaign was successful or not.

You won’t be able to know whether the email copy should be used in the future to achieve the same objective or tweaked.

Every email you send out should be tied to a specific goal that is relevant to your business and measurable.

The goal can be anything from booking a slot in an upcoming webinar to convincing the recipient to buy a product and signup up for the weekly newsletter.

How To Create Compelling Subject Lines For Your Email Marketing Campaign

Borrow a leaf from the above email from SEMRush.

Everything in the email, from the subject line to the copy, is working towards one objective – finding the right keywords for paid advertising and content marketing.

  • Remember to Edit Before Sending

You may be in a hurry to send out the email, but the last thing you want is to send an email riddled with typos and grammar errors.

Like other forms of content, such as blog posts, it’s essential to take at least five minutes to proofread and edit the email copy before sending it out.

Concisely, the copy should be devoid of grammar, punctuation, stilted sentences and other errors that could mislead the customers.

Your emails should stand out for being authentic, having stellar visuals, and not having grammar errors that ruin your reputation and credibility.

  • Write for the Web

Writing a high-performing email copy is equivalent to writing web copy. Adhere to the following requirements to get the most results.

    • Stick to a logical structure – stop trying to surprise customers by going against the grind.
    • Paragraphs should be short – most people don’t read every sentence; they skim through the email in search of the most critical points.
    • Every paragraph should focus on one primary idea – avoid confusion and make your copy easy to digest by ensuring every paragraph focuses on one primary idea or point.

Blocks of text are challenging to read and ineffective in conveying the intended message fast to the target audience.

Avoid them by using bulletin lists and subheadings.

  • Be Very Brief

The recipient already has an idea of your brand and what it offers.

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That’s why they decide to join the mailing list. With more than 300 billion emails being sent daily, the last thing you want is your email to end up in the spam rumble.

The target customers get bombarded with promotional emails every day and won’t hesitate to mark an email as spam if they feel it’s irrelevant.

Gmail offers filters such as promotion tabs to keep user inboxes clutter-free.

However, you still need to ensure that your emails are brief to avoid them being marked as spam or deleted before being read.

Make it easy for the prospects to convert or respond positively to the email by keeping them short and straight to the point.

Being concise is your best bet to having your emails read and responded to by potential customers.

Ask other digital marketing team members for their input about the copy to identify areas that should be shortened.

  • Please Stop Shouting

We understand your need to stand out from the crowd and grasp the audience’s attention.

However, shouting will only make it harder for you to get results from the campaign.

Spammy words such as Buy Now will trigger Gmail and other email service providers to mark your emails as spam.

Another common mistake we see brands make is using all caps in the subject line.

Subject lines that are formatted that way scream spam and negatively affect email open rate and conversion rate.

If too many subscribers report you for spamming them with unnecessary emails, the email newsletter service provider may opt to blacklist you.

  • Polish the Preview Text

Preview text refers to the portion of email or snippet of the email body displayed in the mobile email app.

It helps the recipients decide whether to open the email or mark it as spam.

Like the subject line, you should ace the preview text to convince the customer that the email is relevant to them and it’s safe to open.

Think of preview text as your website pages meta descriptions.

Depending on the email service provider, it should be between 35 and 140 characters.

Be on the safe side by contacting the service provider when crafting the email campaign to be on the safe side.

  • Sound like a Real Person

Customers get countless automated emails from brands. Even though email automation free ups schedules, it often compromises the credibility and reputation of the brand.

With savvy customers able to smell an automated email from a mile away, such emails have little or no chance of generating sales.

The customers will be sceptical about clicking on links contained in the copy as the email sounds spam.

Convince potential customers to respond to the email by sounding like a real person.

One way of achieving this goal is by writing in a conversational and friendly way.

That is, use words and phrases that you would use when talking with the customer face-to-face.

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More importantly, be full of life and sound excited to share the information.

If the email is boring, it won’t be successful in piquing their interest in your brand.

Spice up the copy with a joke that is subtle and not personal. The best humour is relevant to your business – not political or religious-affiliated.

  • Use Psychology to Enhance Your Email Copy

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The human brain is predictable.

It responds in a specific way to different forms of content. For instance, visuals are processed faster and more efficiently than blocks of text.

Therefore, when creating email copy, consider psychology to achieve good results.

We did our homework, and here are the factors that trigger customers to read the email copy and click on the CTA buttons or links included.

    • FOMO (fear of missing out): Customers are always looking for products that are discounted or on offer. They never want to miss such opportunities to save a few bucks. Play to this element by creating a sense of urgency, curiosity and scarcity in your email copy. The idea is to show them they only have one chance to redeem the offer.
    • Use the right colours: Different colours evoke different emotions. For example, red shows urgency, green shows eco-friendly, and blue radiates confidence. Make sure the colour in your CTA buttons evokes a positive emotion.
    • Include pictures of real people: Earlier, we mentioned the need to sound like a real person. Make the email copy more relatable and human-like by including pictures/faces of real people.
    • Include social proof: New customers are often sceptical about a new product or service. Use social proof to show them you are the best option in the market. It can be a positive written testimonial to a user-generated video of a customer using the product. The goal is to use social proof to show that the product works and is trustworthy.
  • Segment the Customers

Segmenting your customers will ensure that every email you send is relevant to the audience.

Segmented email campaigns record a 14.37% more open rate and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented email campaigns.

Some of the factors that you can use to group your email subscribers are:

    • Demographics
    • Quiz and survey results
    • Recorded email engagements
    • Geographical location
    • Past purchases
    • Amount spent
    • Position in the sales funnel
    • Behaviour on the website
    • Time-lapse since the last purchase
    • Personal interests

A few years ago, it wasn’t easy to accurately group customers based on the above factors. Today, there are many tools you can use to save time.

Here are the top 5 email audience segmentation tools online today.

The groups must be regularly updated to match changes in customer behaviour and new market trends. Use the same tools to monitor the campaigns and make these changes to point the email campaign in the right direction.

  • Reward the Readers.

Free Shipping Badge Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

Online customers gravitate towards brands that appreciate them for buying or taking other action.

Thus, it’s good practice to show the readers that you appreciate the time they took to open and read the email.

First, you need to capture their attention using a compelling subject line.

Then draw them in and encourage them to do business with you by writing a good email copy.

Don’t just list the benefits of the product or service. Show them proof such as statistics or links to recent case studies.

The goal is to show them they made the right decision to join the mailing list and should continue to be subscribers.

Go the extra mile and incorporate an extra gift for subscribing, such as a discount on their first purchase.

Free shipping also encourages first-time email subscribers to buy a product or service.

Carry out background research to know which kind of offer would be most relevant.

Consider your profit margin when giving them discounts to avoid cutting yourself too thin.

  • Promote Action

The subject line encourages the email reader to take action, but you stand a better chance of getting more results if you include one or two CTA buttons in the email copy.

The CTA should be aligned with the primary goal of the email.

Confirm that the link on the button directs the reader to the right landing page or service page.

In addition, check how it’s displayed on multiple devices as most people read and respond to emails via smartphones.

Remember colour – use a colour that evokes positive emotions.

Here are three tips on creating the perfect CTA for your email copy.

    • Be Specific: As earlier mentioned, most people skim through the email. Be specific by avoiding vague words, verbs and meh descriptions. “Generate Qualified Leads Now” is better than “See More.”
    • Stay on Brand: Your CTA button colours should match your primary brand colours. If not, it will confuse the customer and make them doubt whether clicking on it is a good idea.
    • Use Active Words: Active words trigger action, but avoid using words considered spam.

Run A/B tests to know which CTA button colours and messaging work best for your brand.

Remember, different segments of customers will respond differently to the CTA button, so don’t get confused by that when doing the analysis.

  • Stay on Brand

When writing an email copy, remember that the recipient will be interacting with your brand as they read the email, not you.

Thus, the interaction should be meaningful, professional, and memorably.

They should be able to connect the email copy and your brand by not only ready the contents of the email but also looking at the other elements of the email, such as the logo and colours.

Based on these facts, ensure you include your brand name, logo, tagline and brand colours in the email copy. The writing style should match your brand voice.

For example, if you run a formal company that is considered authoritative, your email copy should have professional language and crispy.

The use of puns and jokes may not be ideal as that’s not what your brand is known for by the customers.

  • Get Inspiration from Other Brands

Avoid common pitfalls by researching to know what other brands that are successful in email marketing do differently.

It’s OK to “steal” their ideas but don’t be a copycat. Instead, use their email copy and subject lines for inspiration.

Keep in mind that their audience differs from yours, so only apply a hack relevant to your customers and email marketing campaign goals.



Creating attention-grabbing email subject lines is one of the best ways of enhancing your email marketing campaign in Singapore.

Building your email subject lines around your business brand and target audience makes the best subject lines.

However, you can still get some tips to improve your subject line strategy by researching what is working best for other businesses.

These ways will help you to create an appropriate and perfect email subject line to grab the attention of your audience.

We can help you run a successful email marketing campaign in Singapore without charging you a fortune.

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Call us today at +65 6789 9852 for a free and no-obligation consultation session.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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