Email Marketing, General

Follow C.U.R.V.E. for Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

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Follow CURVE for Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

Krista Neher

Apr 18 2023

Follow C.U.R.V.E for Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

It doesn’t matter how many emails addresses you have if people don’t open them. When you follow my C.U.R.V.E. model for email subject lines, you will improve your open rate.

What is in a Great Email Subject Line?

Writing great email subject lines is important and the biggest driver of whether people open them. While there are some best practices here, every business is different, and different things work for different audiences.

Some pro-tips for subject lines that work are:

  • Short (<30 characters perform best)
  • Grabs attention
  • Personalized
  • Avoid spammy words
  • Don’t mislead

Follow the C.U.R.V.E Model


Hooks the reader by causing mystery and offering solution.

  • “Buffer is hacked – here’s what’s going on” and “DO NOT Commit These Instagram Atrocities”


Plays on FOMO- fear of missing out.

  • “Save today only” and “Where we’re drinking beer right now”


Solves a problem or offers solutions.

  • “You’re missing out on points” and “Top 3 baby formulas for healthy babies”


Provides helpful information.

  • “Follow these 11 interview tips to get hired” and “Everything you need to know about email copy but were too afraid to ask”


Tugs at the heart.

  • “Put down your phone to save a child’s life” and “Boom shakalaka! Let’s get started.”

Additionally, don’t mislead in your subject line just to drive open. It is important to realize, that you need people not just to open this email, but all of your emails. Be creative but not misleading.

Want to improve your skills? Check out our Email Marketing course to get your emails from spam to land!

Test Email Subject Lines

The best way to know what works is to test, test, test. Test different subject lines to see what your audience responds best to.

You can send a test to a small portion of your list to see which subject lines generate the most opens. The winner can be sent to the entire list. Additionally, many email software providers have A/B split testing built into how they operate.

Retarget Non-Openers

Another strategy to improve open rates over time is to resend emails that haven’t been opened with a new subject line.

For example, a business emailed their list and only 20% opened it after a week. So they sent the same email to the 80% who didn’t open with a new subject line.

In the above example, the strategy lead to more email opens over time.

Manage Your Track Record

One of the factors that impacts your email open rate is the previous emails you’ve sent and how valuable they were to people. For Example, if someone opens an email, and it isn’t valuable to them, they may stop opening your emails or unsubscribe.

This is an excerpt of Krista Neher’s best-selling book, “Digital Marketing That Actually Works”. You can find this and more books at Boot Camp Digital.

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