4 Email Subject Lines That Are Proven to Get Opened

A few tests to prove which subject lines make for great open rates

Studies show that most people decide whether to open and read an email message based entirely on a quick glance at the sender’s address and the email subject line.

If you’re an email newsletter publisher or marketer, you have four tasks: Get your offer delivered, opened, read and converted.

One of my favorite new tools to play around with is MailChimp’s subject line suggester. It’s only available if you have a MailChimp account, but you can get a free account on their website, so you might as well give it a test.

What this tool does is ask you to enter a few words into their tool. It then spits out how that combination of words has worked in the past. I decided to try this method on some of our favorite subject line archetypes.

The HOW-TO subject line

The how-to subject line is more specific because it promises to reveal “how-to” achieve the benefit. It is nearly impossible to write a bad how-to email subject line. Simply join a mouthwatering benefit to the words “how to.”

Winner: “how to make”

The FASCINATION Email Subject Line

Fascinations are compelling, benefit-driven bullet points that motivate the reader to discover the answer. Fascinations exploit the reader’s curiosity. Often, fascinations include the words “discover”, “secrets” and “amazing”.

Winner: “Discover the”

Surprisingly, further down the list in the one-star section was “10 Secrets”. Guess everyone’s over all those so-called “secrets.”

Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.

The LIST Email Subject Line

Readers love lists because lists comprise convenient summaries. Note that the blog you are currently reading is a list.

Winner: “Quick Tips” (as in “10 Quick Tips for Being Awesome”)

The REASON WHY Email Subject Line

The Reason Why email subject line is a hybrid of the List email subject line archetype. Which is probably why the winning subject line works so well!

Winner: “5 Reasons Why”

So let’s just keep in mind that the results we’re seeing are based off of the subject lines sent by their customers. With that said, MailChimp delivers billions of emails per month for more than 15 million customers. So what you’re seeing is a pretty good representation of what to do – and what not to do.

Update: Read our follow-up to this post, 3 Email Subject Line Formulas Proven To Increase Open Rates.


    We test all sorts of subject lines for our mail campaigns using Mailchimps A/B split testing. This article was the inspiration for it and we’ve increased our open rates by 20%. Thanks!


    I don?t even know the way I stopped up right here, but I believed this put up used to be good. I don’t recognize who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to are not already 😉 Cheers!


    this one article is worth more than a year’s subscription to some of the ‘guru” stuff!
    Nice one, thanks for the inspiration to improve fast on the read / open / convert!

      Chris S.

      Hi Tony,

      I’m glad this article is valuable to you.



    Finally, after all these months of reading, something I can use today starting right now.

    Thank you.


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