How To Write Killer Headlines And Subject Lines (+ 200 Templates)

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First impressions dictate our decision-making process on a daily basis.  

From meeting a new person to shopping for a new car, we choose to act or not act based on emotions that last mere seconds. That’s how long you have to convince someone to take the desired action when marketing your business online.

As internet marketers, the two most powerful tools we use to convince people to act in our favor are headlines and subject lines.

Why? 

Because these two elements are like first impressions. 

Headlines and subject lines are often the first step to someone entering a funnel, so it's critical to learn how to craft them for maximum results.

While similar in many ways, headlines and subject lines have different goals.

Let’s explore each.

Headlines

The importance of writing good headlines

 

Whether we’re selling products on a sales page or giving away content to build our subscriber database on an opt-in page, the headline is the first message they see.

Now, people typically buy based on emotion and then justify their actions with logic after the fact. This tells us that our headline must immediately connect with our prospect and trigger an emotional reaction.

To do that, we need to understand our target prospect. 

To do so, you need to do two things:

  • Put yourself in your customer's shoes
  • Know the problem you're solving

You can ask yourself a few questions to better understand both of these:

  • What problems and frustrations are they experiencing on a day-to-day basis?
  • What are their dreams?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their obstacles to reaching their goals?
  • What would their life look like after they purchase the product?

Once you've answered these questions and have a better understanding of where your customers are coming from, you're ready to write your headlines.

Crafting Your Headline

Now that you know your prospect’s wants, needs, and desires, the question becomes how to put that into words.

The easiest way is to start with “How To”.

When people search for a solution online, those are typically the first two words people type into the search engine.

For example, they might search for something like:

  • How to get rid of bed bugs
  • How to get a raise
  • How to lose weight
  • How to start a business

Now, let’s take one of those examples and make them better by adding two things:

  • Benefits
  • Specifics

Let’s take “How to get rid of bed bugs” as our example.

What would the benefit be to someone who’s looking for this solution? It’s safe to say a benefit might be to eliminate fear so they can get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Let’s add that to the headline:

1. Headline With A Benefit Added

“How to get rid of bed bugs and sleep well."

Not bad. 

Now, let’s add specifics by stating exactly when they can achieve this solution.

2. Headline With Specifics Added

If you’re providing a solution that takes 12 minutes, for example, then let’s revise our headline to say, “How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs (& Sleep Well) In Just 12 Minutes."

Now we’re speaking directly to our prospect’s emotions.

The “when” could also be a specific number of steps, ways, etc.

The “How To” method is a quick and easy way to create a great headline from scratch, but there’s another way that’s a well-kept secret among copywriters. 

It’s called using a “swipe” headline.

(RELATED: How To Sell The Sizzle, Not The Steak (It's Simple))

Using Swipes

These are headlines that have already been proven to convert browsers into buyers and information seekers to subscribers.

With a swipe headline, you simply fill in the blanks with benefits and specifics.

Every good copywriter needs a swipe file.

Now, a swipe file doesn't mean that you completely copy what another writer has written.

It just means finding good headlines and adjusting them to fit your needs.

We went ahead and started a swipe file for you.

100 Headline Templates

#1: It’s Raining ________ In The ________

#2: First Major ________ To ________

#3: What ________ Means For ________

#4: ________’s Worst Nightmare

#5: 35 ________ Who Can’t Even ________ Because ________

#6: Effortless Ways To ________ Your ________

#7: What To Do (And Not Do) During ________

#8: ________ Hack To Withstand ________

#9: 10 ________ You Have To ________ For ________

#10: World’s Most ________

#11: Think ________ Are ________? Check Out These ________

#12: ________ Expert Shares The Secret To ________

#13: Everyone Is Going ________ Over ________

#14: Use This Simple ________ Trick To ________ 

#15: Massive ________ Approaches ________

#16: ________ Pop Out Of Nowhere At ________

#17: 7 ________ You Should Do First Thing In The ________

#18: Create Your Own ________

#19: A New Way To ________

#20: The Best ________ For ________

#21: 113 ________ Anyone Can Use

#22: All Hail ________

#23: ________ Is About To Be Easier Than Ever

#24: 7 Tricks For ________

#25: ________ Will Eat You Alive

#26: How ________ Really Feels About ________

#27: ________ Are Actually The Best At ________

#28: Why This ________ Will Suck For Everyone Except ________

#29: The Difference Between Good ________ And Great ________

#30: ________ Gets Real

#31: The ________ Fix That Actually Works

#32: Your 60-Second Guide To ________

#33: Inside The Super ________ World Of ________

#34: ________ Just Got ________

#35: ________ Your Way To Next-Level ________

#36: 100+ ________ Tested

#37: Best ________ Ever

#38: The Future Of ________

#39: Who Is The New ________?

#40: ________ Better (It’s Science)

#41: 15 ________ Tips From The Master Of ________

#42: How To Power Up Your ________

#43: Does Your ________ Make You ________?

#44: Make Your ________ Your Superpower

#45: Your New Favorite ________

#46: Are You ________? Maybe!

#47: The Best ________, ________, & ________ On The Planet

#48: ________ Decoder

#49: 50 ________ Upgrades

#50: 6 ________ For The Best ________ Ever

#51: These 21 ________ Will Change Your ________

#52: The Art Of ________

#53: Finally! ________ For ________

#54: 7 New ________ You Need To Try

#55: Change Your ________ In ________ Days

#56: 27 Ways To Boost ________ Now

#57: Should You Buy Into ________

#58: The ________ That Will Change Your ________

#59: The Shocking Reason ________

#60: Boost Your ________ With ________

#61: The Ultimate ________

#62: The Ultimate Guide To ________

#63: Easy Ways To ________ Today

#64: 150 Fresh Takes On ________

#65: Fun ________ To Try

#66: The Worst Way To ________

#67: Simple Secrets To ________

#68: Say Goodbye To ________

#69: How To Make The Perfect ________

#70: Own Your ________

#71: How To Banish ________ For Good

#72: 19 Best ________ (We Tested Them All)

#73: Experts Agree: You Should ________

#74: ________ Made Simple And ________

#75: The One Thing Your ________ Needs

#76: 29 Super Easy ________

#77: Surefire Ways To ________

#78: Best-Tested Ways To ________

#79: Dream ________ Ideas For Any Budget

#80: ________: Should You Try It?

#81: The 1-Minute Way To ________

#82: Who’s At Risk For ________?

#83: Try My Favorite ________

#84: My #1 Rule For ________

#85: Can ________ Save Your ________?

#86: My Favorite ________ For My Favorite ________

#87: What ________ Really Thinks About ________

#88: The 8 Cures For ________

#89: The Pain-Free Guide To ________

#90: When Life Gives You ________, Make ________

#91: ________ In A Hurry

#92: This ________ Is Much More Effective Than ________

#93: ________ Is Within Reach

#94: Crush ________ With These 5 ________

#95: Trim Your ________ With ________

#96: 13 Truths About ________

#97: Eye-Popping ________

#98: The ________ Vs. The ________

#99: 5 Ways To Beat ________

#100: ________ Myths That ________ Wants You To Know

10 Tools For Headlines

10 tools for writing headlines

 

As you're writing your headlines, you may find yourself getting stuck trying to come up with ideas or wondering whether you're doing it right. 

Luckily, there are several free tools online that will help you write great headlines.

Here's 10.

#1: Sharethrough Headline Analyzer

The Sharethrough Headline Analyzer takes the headline you've written and runs it through a series of tests to:

  • Rate your headline
  • Tell you the strengths
  • Tell you where you can improve

It's a great tool to get a sense of where your headline stands.

#2: Blog Post Headline Analyzer

The blog post headline analyzer from CoSchedule is similar in function to the previous option, so you can either choose one or the other or use them to supplement each other.

#3: Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer performs sentiment analysis on your headline to determine both how much emotion you're evoking and the type of emotion that you're evoking.

#4: Charcounter

The general recommendation is to keep your headlines between 50-60 characters for SEO purposes, and Charcounter counts your words for you to help keep you in that range.

#5: Capitalize My Title

Remembering which words should and should not be capitalized in your headline can be difficult, so use the Capitalize My Title to tell you which words should be capitalized and which shouldn't.

#6: BlogAbout

If you're struggling with coming up with content ideas and headlines, use BlogAbout to generate some quick ideas.

#7: Portent's Content Idea Generator

Portent's Content Idea Generator is another tool to help you come up with content ideas for your project.

#8: HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator

If you need even more content ideas, Hubspot's Blog Topic Generator does a great job generating topics for you.

#9: SEOPressor's Blog Title Generator

If you need specific blog title ideas, SEOPressor's Blog Title Generator can help get you started with brainstorming.

#10: Blog Title Idea Generator

InboundNow also has a great blog title idea generator for when you use up all the ideas you get from other tools.

(RELATED: 162 Emotional Trigger Words And Phrases For Copywriting)

Subject Lines

The importance of writing good subject lines

 

What headlines are to sales copy, subject lines are to email marketing.

Before anyone reads an email, they must first open it. 

The only thing that’s between your email message and your subscriber is the subject line, so it’s critical that you become skilled in writing subject lines.

The difference between a headline and a subject line is that the headline reveals the solution whereas the subject line is meant to tease to convince the reader to take an additional step.

Before you write your subject line, it’s important to first understand its role.

Role Of A Subject Line

The only purpose of a subject line is to get the “open”: to make the reader want to open your email.

Never try to sell in the subject line.

That’s done on sales pages.

The more opens you get, the more clicks you get (to sales pages, etc) which equates to more sales.  

It’s just math.

Before you begin to construct your subject line, let’s understand some rules.

Subject Line Rules

The first obstacle to getting emails read is getting them delivered to our prospect’s inbox. 

If our emails aren’t being delivered, then nothing else matters.

So, it’s important to understand some basic rules:

  • Keep them short
  • Limit punctuation
  • Limit all caps
  • Avoid words that trigger spam filters

Spam filters are more advanced than ever, so be careful about your content.

Types Of Subject Lines

You’ll want to mix up the style of subject lines to avoid being predictable.

There are several approaches you can take. 

Here are four ideas:

1. Ask A Question

They'll open to either get the answer or to see if the answer in their head is the right one.

Examples:

  • Are you making this mistake?
  • Did you hear about this?

2. Encourage Interaction

This type of subject line would lead to a poll, survey, an invitation to opinion, etc.

Examples:

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • Join the conversation
  • I need your opinion

3. Tease Or Create Intrigue

With this subject line, you allude to what's inside but don't reveal.

They have to open to get details.

Examples:

  • The day I’ll never forget
  • How embarrassing
  • The one question on everyone’s mind..
  • This is controversial..
  • Don't eat this!

4. Benefit Driven

This subject line tells them what the email is about, but they have to open to get the specifics.

Examples:

  • 1 Food You Should NEVER Eat
  • “Trick” your body into losing lbs
  • Pssst - the perfect date night

Again, we went ahead and put together a swipe for you to get you started on your journey to become an elite email marketer.

(RELATED: How To Fix Email Deliverability Issues W/ Jimmy Kim)

100 Subject Line Templates

#1: The search for ________

#2: The #1 way to increase ________

#3: The ________ is almost here

#4: ________ explained in ________ minutes

#5: How to win a ________

#6: This ________ is changing the way you ________

#7: Live your ________ dreams at ________

#8: Last chance: ________

#9: Shop our top-selling ________

#10: Going ________? Here’s your ________

#11: Take your ________ to the next level

#12: Special offer unlocked: ________

#13: How I earned ________ from ________

#14: ________ ideas for ________

#15: $________ of select ________ ends today!

#16: THIS is ________ greatness

#17: A lack of ________ made his ________ ________

#18: Don’t miss out on ________

#19: ________ is easier with ________

#20: We want your help with ________

#21: Find a new ________

#22: Unique ________ + brand new ________

#23: When we own our ________, we are ________

#24: The definitive guide to ________

#25: Have you heard about our ________?

#26: Everything you need to know about ________

#27: Employ this effective ________ technique for ________

#28: ________ now has a lighter price

#29: Anyone missing a ________?

#30: Where to ________ this week

#31: 10 ________ that will help you ________

#32: ________ to make ________ simple

#33: This take just ________ seconds

#34: Don’t let your ________ slip away!

#35: Get the most out of your ________ this week

#36: How to get started with ________

#37: [Reminder] It’s ________

#38: You’re invited: ________

#39: Kick your ________ into high gear

#40: Make your ________ shine with ________

#41: Important ________ update

#42: Final ________ to ________ is almost here

#43: This is what it’s like to ________

#44: How to convey ________ in ________

#45: If you’re not ________ with ________, you’re ________

#46: There’s a better ________

#47: What are the biggest ________ in ________?

#48: Become a ________

#49: Am I too old to ________?

#50: How I’ll improve ________

#51: How ________ became ________

#52: It’s official: ________

#53: Build your ________ knowledge

#54: Feast your eyes on ________

#55: The game-changing ________

#56: What to do with ________

#57: ________ approach used by ________

#58: 5 new ________ just added to ________

#59: Must-see ________

#60: Must-read ________

#61: Must-listen ________

#62: Is ________ the new ________?

#63: There’s so many awesome ________

#64: Do not miss this ________

#65: We’ll admit it, ________

#66: What to do with ________

#67: Here’s the real reason why ________

#68: Start using this ________

#69: The 30-second ________

#70: Huge changes coming to ________

#71: ________+________+________=________

#72: ________ is open

#73: Claim your free ________

#74: ________ not ________?

#75: ________ is almost gone

#76: Does your ________ suck?

#77: Exciting ________

#78: ________ revealed

#79: ________ is not the answer

#80: Are you using ________?

#81: How she built ________

#82: At ________, we love ________

#83: The ________ tweak that ________

#84: Are you ________? Use this guide

#85: Let’s fix your ________ together

#86: 6 critical questions every ________ must answer

#87: Your cheat sheet to ________

#88: How ________ became ________

#89: Don’t buy this from ________

#90: ________: what you need to know

#91: Did you get your ________ yet?

#92: These 5 ________ will ________

#93: What do ________ and ________ have in common?

#94: Better than ________?

#95: Why ________ and ________ kills ________

#96: Are you a victim of ________?

#97: Last call for ________

#98: Become a ________ master

#99: ________ vs. ________: which is right for you?

#100: Why I hate ________

10 Tools For Email Subject Lines

10 tools for writing email subject lines

 

Just like there are tools to help you write better headlines, there are also several tools online that help you create better email subject lines.

Here are 10 of the most popular.

#1: TestSubject By Zurb

TestSubject by Zurb allows you to enter your subject line and see how it appears on the most popular mobile devices.

#2: Email Subject Line Grader By Net Atlantic

If you're wondering whether you've written a quality subject line, the Email Subject Line Grader by Net Atlantic can help you assess where you stand.

#3: Spam Check By Postmark

For those concerned about ending up in the spam box, Postmark offers the Spam Check tool to let you know the qulity of your email.

#4: Touchstone

While it isn't a free tool, Touchstone allows you to create a virtual simulation of your subscriber base to predict likely impressions, click rate and conversion rates for the subject line that you've written.

#5: SubjectLine

SubjectLine is a free tool that allows you to analyze the quality of your subject line.

#6: Headline Analyzer

Because subject lines and headlines are so similar, you can actually use many of the headline tools we included on your subject lines as well.

#7: The Hemingway App

If you have trouble with writing and grammar, the Hemingway App will help you sort out those problems.

#8: Grammarly

Just like the Hemingway App, Grammarly helps you assess the quality and grammar of your writing.

#9: Send Check It

Send Check It compares your subject line to 100,000+ other emails sent by marketers like you to see where you stand.

#10: IsNotSpam

IsNotSpam is a tool that helps you test email and newsletter content to see whether it's likely to trigger spam filters.

(RELATED: Email Copywriting Tips That Boost Opens & Conversions)

How To Write Headlines & Subject Lines

With a little practice, anyone armed with these proven tips, rules, and swipes can write killer headlines and subject lines guaranteed to convert more prospects to leads and sales.

(NOTE: Want even MORE info about how to use copywriting to grow your business? Grab your spot in this FREE course to learn about the tools and strategies you (and your business) have been missing out on.)