13 Tips To Write Catchy Email Subject Lines (+ Examples)

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to both nurture the relationship with your (prospective) clients and convert them when the time is right. Unfortunately, most businesses are aware of this – meaning a lot of people’s inboxes are overflowing. This can result in your clients simply not opening your emails, as the majority will just skim through their emails and only open the ones that appear to be of interest to them. That’s why it’s so important (one of the most important aspects of your entire email!) to craft compelling email subject lines. There’s no point spending hours on creating the perfect email if no one will ever see it. 

If you want your potential seller to open their email and click on your free appraisal link, it all starts with the right subject line. 

The elements of a great subject line

Now you know how important the subject line of your email is, the question is: what makes a good subject line, a good subject line? There are a few elements that contribute to this. 

1. Urgency

If people feel there is a sense of urgency, they are more likely to take action. Without being too spammy, you can use this knowledge to create a sense of urgency in your subject lines. You could for example do this via communicating a certain start or end date, urging your audience to take action now (before it’s too late). 

The subject line below is a very direct example of creating a sense of urgency, letting the contact know a certain offer is expiring today. 

Example of email subject line

2. Curiosity

Take advantage of people’s curiosity. Whilst you generally want to make clear what the email is about in your subject line, it won’t hurt to maintain a sense of mystery. Your recipient needs to feel it will benefit from opening your email, and they can’t find out the full information without opening the email. 

3. Offers

Who doesn’t love a good discount or something for free? Including a special offer in the subject line is always a great way to make clients open their email. Whilst options might seem relatively limited in the real estate business, there are still plenty of opportunities. Think about things such as gifts as part of your referral campaign, or maybe you’re able to offer a discount on other services (e.g. for a local business around).

The below example shows a simple email containing a voucher for 20% off local cleaning services – this could be part of automation sequences that are triggered before your contact is either moving in to, or out of one of your listed properties. 

Example of email subject line

4. Personalisation

One of the main ways to improve both your open and engagement rates is to include personalisation in your emails, including your subject line. Include someone’s name or suburb in the subject line where possible to increase your open rates. 

5. Relevance

Often, when we subscribe to a certain email list, it’s because we want to be kept informed, or at least learn more about a certain topic. As a real estate agent, your contacts are likely to be interested in the property market and anything surrounding this topic. If your subject lines mention the latest relevant news or trendy topics in real estate, people are more likely to open the emails. It will also help you establish yourself as an authority in the real estate industry.

The example below shows a simple, concise subject line that informs your contact of the content of the email. This subject line could be consistently used each month, so your contacts know exactly what to expect. 

Example of email subject line

Top tips to write good email subject lines

So, now we know a bit more about the elements that make for a good subject line, it’s time to get into the more practical stuff. Here are the top tips to help you write good email subject lines:

1. Keep it short 

A lot of people open their emails on a mobile device – in particular their personal emails. As a real estate agent, most of the buyers and sellers in your database will use a personal email address rather than a business email. This is important to note, as mobile devices usually have less space for subject lines. When subject lines are too long, they’ll get cut off. It’s therefore best to keep your subject short and sweet – ideally this will be less than 50 characters.

Do you struggle to keep your subject line short? Try to cut out irrelevant ‘filler’ words to shorten it down. 

Comparison of email subject lines

2. Be concise 

You should not only keep your subject line short, but also use concise language. Be clear in your subject line and focus on how the email will benefit your audience. 

Let’s compare the following two examples:

  • How to increase the value of your home
  • Increase the value of your home by 10% 

Comparison of email subject lines

The second subject line is likely to generate a higher open rate, as the benefit of the email is more clear in this subject. 

3. Make people feel special

A good way to attract the attention of your audience is by making them feel special. People love to feel like they’re on the inside, or that they’re receiving something special – it gives a sense of belonging, and helps build loyalty to your real estate brand. 

Using words and phrases like ‘an exclusive offer for you’, ‘for our valued clients only’, ‘private invite’, ‘my gift to you’, can help you make your recipient feel special and therefore open the email to see what’s in there. 

Example of email subject line

4. Use personalisation

We already touched on this one before when discussing the elements of good subject lines – the use of personalisation. Add your recipient’s first name in the subject, or perhaps the name of a specific suburb. This has proven to increase both open and click-through rates. 

With bulk emails, you can easily add personalisation in subject lines, previews and the email itself via inserting merge fields

The below example shows how personalisation is used in both the subject and preview line by using the suburb and first name of the contact. 

Depending on the email platform you are using, this may have looked something like:

Subject: 10 Tips To Increase The Value Of Your [[suburb]] Property

Preview: [[first_name]], make sure you check out these 10 tips to help you increase the value of your property in [[suburb]].

5. Tell them what’s inside

Whilst curiosity is a great thing, you should let your recipient know what’s inside the email. Because people receive so many emails in their inbox these days, they just look at what’s important to them – if you just use an ‘empty’ subject line without specifying the actual content of the email, you risk looking spammy and your email might get overlooked or deleted. 

6. Don’t use ‘clickbait’ subject lines

Similar to how you shouldn’t use clickbait for your blog titles or Facebook ads, you shouldn’t use a ‘clickbait’-like subject line. If you make false promises in your subject line and disappoint your audience when they open the email, they’re unlikely to open your email next time, and you’ll risk a high unsubscribe rate. 

7. Use numbers 

Similar to blog titles, the use of numbers in your subject line has proven to increase open rates. This ties in with the ‘be concise’ point mentioned earlier: using numbers is a great way to make it clear what the benefit of the email is and what to expect. This can range from mentioning the number of your listicle (‘10 ways to..’), to a numerical benefit, or even the number of open homes for the upcoming weekend.  

8. Use action-verbs

In a way, your email subject line is like a call-to-action: you want to inspire someone to click on the email. This is why using action verbs, in particular in the beginning of your subject, can help you improve your open rates. 

Compare the two different subject lines: 

  • Tips to help you increase the value of your home
  • Increase the value of your home with these tips

Comparison of email subject lines

Using a verb in the beginning of your sentence, as opposed to a generic line, will help invite recipients to click on the email. 

9. Ask a question

Asking a question that’s relevant to your recipient can trigger them to open the email. This is because it plays into the curiosity we mentioned earlier. You could use questions in your subject line such as ‘Do you know what your home is worth?’ to a prospective seller, or ‘Which of these houses can you afford?’ to a buyer. 

10. Don’t use all caps and multiple exclamation points

I don’t think we need to explain this one too much – no one wants to receive an email with the subject line “OPEN NOW FOR A FREE APPRAISAL” or “Check out these new listings!!!!!!!”. A lot of people however still make the mistake of using these types of subject lines in an effort to grab the attention of their recipients. 

Using all caps or multiple exclamation points gives your recipients the feeling you’re screaming at them, it looks spammy (and often triggers spam filters), and comes across as unprofessional. 

So, simply stay clear from all caps and multiple exclamation points in your subject lines.

11. Never use both a question and exclamation mark

Whilst it’s less aggressive than the last point, you shouldn’t use both a question mark and exclamation mark in the same subject line, such as: “Want to sell your house fast? Here are 10 top tips!” 

This is a classic example of a subject line that is highly likely to end up in spam, purely because of the question mark and exclamation mark used together. It’s a major trigger for spam filters, so avoid using these together to minimise the risk of ending up in your recipient’s spam folder. 

You can still use either an exclamation or question mark in your subject line, like we have done in the correct example below – just make sure you don’t use both at the same time.

Comparison of email subject lines

12. Use a familiar sender name (and avoid no-reply!)

This one isn’t technically related to the subject line, but nevertheless important to improve your open rates. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, you’re simply less likely to open the email. Ideally, you want to send the email from the agent the recipient has been dealing with (rather than the generic agency email), so they recognise the sender and it feels more personal. 

In addition to that, always avoid sending an email from a no-reply email address. This makes it looks like your email comes from a robot, and there is no one in your agency to contact regarding the content. These emails easily get ignored by recipients. 

Comparison of sender names

 13. Use the preview text 

Lastly, don’t neglect setting up the preview text. The preview text provides your recipient with a snippet of the content in your email – if you don’t manually set it, this will usually automatically pull the first text of your email, which can look messy. It’s always best to manually include a compelling preview text to increase open rates.

The below example shows you what the preview text of an email is.

Example of preview text

A/B Test your email subject lines for the best results

The above tips should generally help you write better subject lines and increase your open rates. You should however keep in mind that the reality is that each agency and each client base is different. What works for one, may not work as well for another. The best way to find out what subject lines work best for your agency is to conduct A/B tests. 

To find out what A/B testing is and how to conduct one, read our article here

Steps to write the perfect subject line

Now we’ve covered the elements and top tips for writing a good subject line, let’s get into the specific steps you should take to write the perfect subject line for your email. 

1. Identify the purpose of the email

First, think about why the email is being sent and what the purpose is. The purpose of the email needs to be identified first, as this will be the foundation of your subject line.

2. Determine the Call To Action

So, you’ve identified the purpose of the email. Now, decide what the Call To Action will be. How will you make your readers click on the email – is it important information, a special offer? Determine what incentive your subject line will carry. 

3. Write down multiple subject lines

Time to get to work. Brainstorm ideas for the subject line and write down at least 5 different subject lines. Use different words and tones, as well as completely different sentences. You want to have a few different ideas to choose from. 

4. Select your top variations

Out of the list you wrote in your brainstorming session, select your top two variations. If possible, try to get feedback from colleagues to help you see it from a different perspective.

5. Conduct your A/B test

Once you’ve selected your top variations, conduct an A/B test to see which one performs best. After that, use the most effective email subject line and send out your campaign! 

Need help with your email marketing? 

Direct email marketing has always been an important and effective way of nurturing and converting clients. As it becomes increasingly complicated to reach and target certain audiences through paid digital advertising (due to things such as the iOS 14.5 update), email marketing becomes even more important. 

If you’re not sure how to optimise and automate your email marketing, keep an eye out for our new blog posts and make sure to book in a free consultation with our expert team. We’d love to help you out with your email and SMS communication.