How to Write a Killer Ecommerce Subject Line (With Examples!)

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Pretty much everyone talks about how important it is to grow your email list.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not enough.

An uninterested email list is worth NOTHING.How to write a killer ecommerce subject line

You need your subscribers to click-through & read your content.

This is particularly frustrating if you run your own ecommerce site.

Google automatically labels ecommerce emails into the “promotion” section of gmail. 

This drops our clickthrough rate – a LOT.

I wrote this guide with these facts in mind:

Sit back as I teach you how to write a subject line that converts & brings in sales.

First I’ll teach you the ecommerce email marketing fundamentals.

Then I’ll give you some useful tips & tricks and we’ll analyze one of my email campaigns.

Then I’ll share 58 killer ecommerce subject lines which you could copy & start using NOW.

So let’s get started!

How to write a subject line that people can’t help but click

clicking subject line

Now:

There are four fundamentals of writing a good, well converting email subject line.

#1. Be useful to your reader

Is there something your reader will gain from clicking on this email? There better be…

Every single email you send out has to give direct value to the reader.

If someone sent me an email with a headline like

30 GREAT tips for cleaning your labrador 

I would never click it. Not because it’s a bad headline.

It’s nothing special for sure,  but mostly because it just isn’t relevant to me.

#2. Make sure your reader feels a sense of urgency

Your reader should feel like if they don’t click this email RIGHT NOW – they will be missing out big time.

However, never pressure people & push them into purchasing. Instead, use pressure to PREVENT them from procrastinating.

You do NOT want to  ‘manufacturer’ urgency & not follow through.

Don’t be that she kind of shop that has a

LIMITED TIME ONE-DAY ONLY FIRE SALE

that ends up lasting a month…

Your customers won’t trust you and

definitely won’t come back & shop with you.

With that in mind,

These 4 strategies are an easy way to add urgency to an offer:

1) Set a deadline.

2) Use time-sensitive language

3) Create demand with scarcity

4) Keep your writing brief

#3. Explain how your main benefit is unique

If your headline looks just like every other headline….

How do you expect to convince people to keep reading?

Try to get your headline to stand out as much as possible (within reason).

Copyhackers logo

I’m particularly fond of the Copyhackers tagline.

It’s not a boring tagline that reads the same as the thousands of other taglines that copy each other.

It’s also brazen. It shows personality. It stands out. It gets customers’ attention.

To write a headline like Copyhackers – you have to take a risk.

You might alienate some customers, but you’ll attract even more for your personality & uniqueness.

If you want to stay on the safe side,  make sure you avoid using these overused phrases in your subject lines:

As seen on Buy Buy direct
Buying judgments Clearance Order
Order status Orders shipped by shopper

Not only are these phrases overused, but they also increase your likelihood of tripping a spam filter.

#4. And do all this in an ultra-specific way.

Your headline should give enough information to let customers know whether the offer you’re presenting is interesting to them.

If your headline isn’t specific enough, customers won’t know whether what you’re selling is something they’re interested in.

Here’s a headline that used specificity and convinced me to click

good converting headline
You know why it worked so well?

Because he’s right – I do wonder “Why do THEY rank above me”

The email that got me $400 in sales in one day.

pstml email conversion rate

I recently got a shipment of samples in for PSTML and wanted to see how my customers would react to them.

Fun Fact: The average ecommerce email has a 16.92% open rate.

I only had one of each, so supply was very limited.

This gave me the opportunity to play with scarcity.

This was the headline that I sent out:

Extremely Limited Supply: Limit 1 Turkish Towel Per Customer

This isn’t the most innovative or creative email, it’s simple & to the point.

But sometimes – that’s what works.

It was useful – It let my customers know about a limited quantity offering.
It was urgent – The supply in question was truly very limited.
It was unique – I didn’t use any clichés or over the top statements.
And it was ultra specific – It clearly communicated that I was offering turkish towels.

Here are 19 Actionable & Useful Ecommerce Email Marketing Tips

These tips are important to keep in mind when you’re writing your headlines.

1. Follow the KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

2. Make the email personable, do not use noreply@yourcompany.com.

3. Use personalization to make things a little friendlier.

4. If you don’t know their names,  use “you” or “your”.

5. Make your audience feel special.

6. Do not overuse capitalization – ITS TOO SALESY.

7. Do not make false promises – this is how you lose your subscribers.

8. If you’re sending a digital resource to the customer – mention it in the headline. “Your coupon awaits!” as opposed to “Thank you”.

9. Talk about how your readers will benefit from your content within your subject line.

10. Ask a question: “Do you know what your online store is doing wrong?”

11. Promise something good. If people know specifically what they’ll learn or how exactly you’ll make them happier, more informed, or better at business, they’ll be itching to read more.

12.Use power words. Sensory and emotional words attract attention, and make your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes.

13. Use a number. Because digits — like 4 or 37 — stop wandering eyes

14. Pique curiosity. Don’t be afraid to occasionally use bizarre words. Tickle the information gap, or violate the information gap. Your readers will be keen to find out more.

15. Point out common mistakes. Because nobody wants to be perceived as silly.

18. Learn from the masters. Subscribe to excellent email lists and analyze their subject lines. You’re guaranteed to learn something.

16. Quit cleverness. Simple, specific subject lines beat clever alternatives every time.

17. Experiment. Be a rebel and try something new. Dare to be different. You’ll be surprised by what works and what doesn’t.

19. Stop following meaningless stats like optimal subject line length. No average reader exists. Build a real relationship so your readers anticipate your emails and they’ll open them because they recognize your name — even when your subject line sucks.

28 Ecommerce Subject Lines You Could Steal Right Now

These ecommerce subject lines were written by real retailers and can serve as a great source of inspiration.

31. 25-40% off – Email-Only Offer – Today Only.

32. You’re Invited! New Product Launch Party at [Your company].

33. Ends Today! 20% Off Friends & Family.

34. Top 10 under $10.

35. Yours in 2 days (free shipping!) + 40% off.

36. Free product with purchase of [product name].

37. [New Product] has arrived. Order now before we run out.

38. Earn double points for [insert product or action].

39. Last chance to get 50% off!

40. Want 20% off your next order?

41. Enjoy [season] with rates from $65.

42. Exciting new changes at [your company1].

43. An Exclusive Offer for You.

44. TODAY. Post [holiday] Flash Sale! 2 for $20.

45. Last minute deals, special offers, and new [product name].

46. Don’t Let These Get Away.

47. Online only: 25% off friends and family.

48. Introducing our latest…[product/feature here].

49. [Product name] Promotion week. Save 25%

50. Extended for a day! Get Free shipping through Friday.

51. Read your review for John Mulaney – Ticketmaster.

52. You’re missing out on points – Jet Blue.

53. Not Cool, Guys – Buzzfeed.

54. DO NOT Commit These Instagram Atrocities – Thrillist.

55. 10 Engagement Tips to Gobble Over Thanksgiving – Addthis.

56. ! – DiningIn.

57. Abra-cord-abra! Yeah, we said it. – Quirky.

58. My Gift to you… – Digital Marketer.

Download a PDF version of these ecommerce subject lines along with 30 bonus ones!

58 Ecommerce Subject Lines You Could Steal Right Now

If this post helped you out, I’d love it if you shared it with people you think would benefit.

Thanks a lot.

Dimitry

About the author

Dimitry Apollonsky

I'm a growth marketing pro that works with early stage companies to help them gain traction and reach their milestones through user acquisition, user retention and revenue growth.

2 comments

  • “An uninterested email list is worth NOTHING.” – So true! Most people just tell you the bigger your list the more money you make. However, the reality is no matter how big your email list is, if your list is engaged or they don’t trust you, they won’t open up their wallets for you.

Hi! I’m Dimitry

I'm a growth marketing pro that works with early stage companies to help them gain traction and reach their milestones through user acquisition, user retention and revenue growth.

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