Get More Email Opens with Irresistible Subject Lines

by Carolyn Edlund

One powerful tool artists should have in their arsenal is email marketing. Before you hit the send button, let’s look at the unsung hero of email marketing: the subject line.



Crafting a compelling subject line is like putting the cherry on top of your marketing emails. It’s the first thing your audience sees, and can make or break your email’s success. Let’s dive into some ways to write subject lines that captivate your readers and make them want to open your emails.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Think of your subject line as a teaser for the main event—your email content. Aim for brevity, and try to keep it under 50 characters. Short subject lines are easier to read and stand out in crowded inboxes. And, if they provide the recipient with a call to action, so much the better. For example, instead of New Art Collection Now Available, try using Discover New Art!

Create a Sense of Urgency

People tend to act when they feel a sense of urgency. Use words like “limited time,” “last chance,” or “exclusive offer” to encourage your readers to open your email right away, lest they miss out. For instance, Last Chance to Grab 20% Off Art Prints!

Ask a Question

Engage your audience by posing a question in order to pique their curiosity. Questions in subject lines create an interactive experience and invite readers to find the answers inside your email. Such as, Want to Know the Secret Behind My Artistic Process? Then, deliver on your promise to share your fascinating process inside the email. In that content, use calls to action that invite them to visit your website, follow you on social media, or whatever else you want them to do.

Use Personalization

Personalization can work wonders in email marketing. Include your recipient’s name in the subject line to make them feel special. For example, John, Your Exclusive Studio Tour Awaits! Personalizing an email subject line is a feature that most email service providers offer. This pulls the first name of each individual listed in your subscriber records and drops it into the subject line. It’s an automated process that makes it super easy to send emails that are bound to grab attention.



Be Specific and Clear

Ambiguity is your enemy when it comes to subject lines. Your readers should know exactly what to expect when they open your email. If you’re promoting a sale, say so in the subject line. If you want to invite them to an event or exhibition of your work, announce that up front. For example, Your Special VIP Pass to Our Studio Opening. Then, use the preheader line to clarify the subject line, Be the first to see our newest original paintings! (See the example above, created in Constant Contact.) The recipient will see this extra information before they even open your email.

Test and Optimize

Feel free to experiment with different subject lines. A/B testing can help you determine which ones resonate best with your audience. Over time, you’ll learn what works and can fine-tune your approach for better results. Most email service providers offer this feature. Results can be easily found in campaign analytics.

Avoid Spammy Language

Stay aware from using spammy words and phrases like “guaranteed,” “free,” and the excessive use of exclamation points. These can trigger spam filters and decrease your email’s deliverability.

Highlight Benefits

What do your email subscribers care about most? Themselves. Tap into that instinct and let your readers know what’s in it for them. Are you offering an opportunity to see your work before it’s released publicly? Will they get a special deal or bonus with a purchase? Make sure your subject line emphasizes the benefits. For example, Original Art for Small Spaces, Ready to Hang.

In the world of email marketing, your subject line is like the canvas, and your content is the masterpiece. Without an attention-grabbing subject line, your email might never get the recognition it deserves. Use these tips to start experimenting, and take note of your results. Keep an eye on your open rates and click-through rates to see what works best for your audience.

Email marketing is like running a marathon; you have to stay steady and consistent over time to win new prospects and make art sales. Continuously refine your subject lines and email content based on your audience’s feedback and behavior. Over time, you’ll build a loyal following of art enthusiasts who can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.


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