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5 Tips For Crafting Compelling Email Subject Lines

For us food bloggers (and any bloggers), email marketing is very important to us. It connects us with our readers and can help turn readers into big fans. But are you getting the open rate you hope for? If you answer no to the question, you may not be creating compelling email subject lines.

Create an email subject your readers will want to open with a person typing on a keyboard.

This may sound obvious, but the first thing you need to get right when it comes to email marketing is your subject line. If subscribers can’t open your emails for whatever reason (they don’t have time or simply ignore notifications), then any good message will go straight into delete folder without being opened. Oh no!

This means that if people aren’t opening them – there’s no point spending hours crafting an amazing information packed message just so some few might read what was sent. So before hitting send on anything, always spend a little more than 2 minutes writing catchy headlines which your readers want to open.

Think about the email subject line like the blog post title. If it’s not catchy, it’s not going to be noticed. Food bloggers need to stand out in the crowd to be noticed, it’s a high competition niche! Please do not send your readers “baked chicken recipe.” Here are a few tips to help you craft an email subject line that will get their attention!

This is a 5 part blog post series. You may find the other posts helpful too:

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Keep It Short

You want your readers to see the entire subject line before they click it. You also want to make it easy for people to scan through their emails. Try to get your point across in 50 characters or less. Pay attention to how your subject lines look on your own devices.

Another great idea is to keep a swipe file of subject lines that grabbed your attention. Even if the emails are on a very different topic, you can adapt them for your own needs.

Don’t copy somebody’s subject lines or emails, but look at what caught your attention. Was it “the world’s best chili recipe” or did something like “chili so good you will never try another.”

Are they better then “chili recipe”? Yeah we both know they are!

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Frankly the best tip when it comes to crafting compelling subject lines is to keep a swipe file of examples that got you to open the email. Even if the emails are on a very different topic, you can adapt them for your own needs.

Take note of any email subject lines that really caught your attention. Ones that you just had to open. They are doing something right so take notes about the words they used and how they used them.

Don’t copy somebody’s subject lines or emails, but look at what caught your attention. Was it “the world’s best chili recipe” or did something like “chili so good you will never try another.”

Are they better then “chili recipe”? Yeah we both know they are!

Avoid Spammy Words

Spammy words can do more harm then good.

Stay away from using any words we all associate with spam emails. Words like “sale”, “discount”, “coupon”, “free”, “limited time offer” and even “reminder” are over used and even if they don’t trigger a spam filter and actually make it to your reader’s inbox, chances are high they’ll get ignored.

Instead, start by using the emails you’re saving in your swipe file and then go back and see what subject lines got the best open rates. Or if it was emails you received, look at what got your attention.

Try to analyze why they worked well for your market. Not everything will work well in every niche. Find the types of subject lines that get your readers to open your emails and tweak from there.

Personalize It

While personalizing emails with someone’s first name has been overused in some markets, it still works well for many of us. Give it try and see if it works for you. Don’t overdo it, but use it when you really need them to open the email.

Even as a blogger running multiple blogs, I tend to open the emails that look interesting and have my name either in the subject line or the intro. Yes I know it is simple to customize, but it still makes me feel like they are writing this for me. It’s like going into your favorite Starbucks or diner and they know you by name. You feel welcome and appreciated.

Depending on what data you collect when your readers sign up, you can personalize other things like their location for example. Seeing the name of your state or even city in an email subject line is sure to get your attention. This isn’t likely relevant for most food bloggers, but if you are a food blogger that posts local events you may want to include location.

Pique Their Curiosity

We are all nosy and it’s hard to ignore subject lines that sound intriguing or only tell part of the story. Using “…” at the end of your subject line will also work.

The idea here is simple. You want them to click and open the email to find out what the heck you’re talking about or how the story ends.

NOTE – This is not the kind of compelling email subject line that food bloggers will use everyday, but it works for some. You won’t likely be using this in the average email you send (if you send mostly recipes), but it can definitely work for other broadcasts!

Examples of Compelling Email Subject Lines

This is mostly for food bloggers, but other bloggers can certainly adapt this for their emails as well!

  • The world’s best chili recipe
  • Chili so good you will never try another
  • Mom’s award winning chili
  • (first name) have you tried these brownies?
  • (first name) are you making this baking mistake?
  • I thought I ruined my pans last night – if you are adding an email about cleaning tips. This one can be big because many home cooks have stained or thought they ruined their pans at some point. Think gunk left on a stainless steel pot.
  • Well crap I forgot to thaw the turkey

I could go on for a bit here but do you see how these email subject lines can catch people’s attention? I mean there are probably a lot of people about 5 days before Thanksgiving that forgot to take their turkey out. This is a relatable email to them and they will likely be happy you reminded them!


Guys I am far from perfect with my emails. I used to title my food blog posts “chili recipe” so imagine I wasn’t much better with my subject lines for my email! It doesn’t take a lot to stand out but standing out will make all the difference. Food blogging is very competitive, boring subject lines just do not work.

If your readers are not opening your emails, they are not clicking through any of them either. Keep your readers interested and engaged with simple compelling email subject lines.

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How to write email subject lines readers open and want to read! Pinterest graphic.

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