The Email Subject Line Tackle Box

email marketing

Lots of people assume email marketing is dead, but those people are just bad at email marketing. Us, on the other hand, we love email marketing and we’ve used it to get some serious results for clients. Our email campaigns have brought in thousands of dollars in sales for our clients and they all have one thing in common – lots of people opened our emails. The obvious first step to making emails work for you is getting your audience to open the emails you send, and the subject line is where the magic happens. This is easier said than done, but we’ve boiled it down to 3 tactics you can use to increase your open rates.

For the sake of comparison, the average open rate across all industries is about 20% and the average click-through rate (CTR) is around 2%.


It kills cats and gets people to open emails. When your audience reads the subject and can’t help but wonder what’s inside, you’ve got them hooked. It’s important that you keep subject lines relevant to what you’re selling. There’s a big difference between mysteriously interesting and confusingly vague.

Here’s an example of an email we sent for a bait and tackle distributor promoting a sale on shad bait. With a subject line like that, readers can’t resist opening.

Subject line- This Deal Will Make You Shad Yourself

Open Rate- 35%

CTR- 3.17%



BUY NOW! SALE ENDS TOMORROW! This kind of jargon has been used since the dawn of the salesmen. It might seem tired and cliché, but it works. Letting the reader know they only have a limited time to act tends to light a fire. This practice is best used in moderation, as readers can become numb to the threat if used too much.

We used this tactic as a final reminder to RSVP for an upcoming open house event. This is also proof that subject lines don’t always have to be particularly creative to be effective.

Subject line- There’s Still Time Left

Open Rate- 26%

CTR- 4.31%


tackle box

Trump and beer.

Pop Culture

Try to make a connection to the movies, books, TV shows, and music your audience likes. This is when having well-defined buyer personas really comes in handy. They might not care too much about the product or service you’re hawking, but you can bet dollars to donuts they’ll open an email if you crack a joke about their favorite sports team.

What do elected officials in the reddest state in the Union love? Trump and beer. We tapped into this stereotype when trying to drive county commissioners to our client’s booth at an upcoming tradeshow.

Subject line- Make ACCO Cool Again

Open Rate- 39%

CTR- 15.6%

pop culture

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