Killer Terms for Subject Lines & Calls to Action

  |  November 1, 2013   |  Comments

Check out these top performing terms to use in email subject lines, SMS, social media and in your landing page call to action to increase conversion.

A subject line, SMS message, social media post, and even the call to action on a landing page are important in guiding the consumer to where you want them to go.

Here are some top performers: words in action that are proven to drive results, as determined through my company's research.

1. Sale versus Save

Like it or not, the word "sale" drives us towards paying attention. "You save" drove response rates of 3 to 5 percent. On the other hand, "On sale" was able to get more than 20 percent of the list to pay attention. "Sale Ends on Friday" did even better with 31 percent clicking through to learn more. Save seems finite, but sale seems to inspire possibilities.

Try: "On Sale Today."

2. Sharing Progress

"We're only 2194 away" gets your community involved. Your list begins to pay attention to the progress you are making. Sharing how you are doing with your community gets them to contribute towards your success and helps your list accelerate the progress towards your goal.

Try: "We're almost there."

3. Driving Urgency

"Closes tomorrow" or "Your last chance to enter" or "Grand prize drawing tomorrow" all seem to alert the consumer about the urgency or expiration of your offer. By contrast, "You still have time" tells the consumer that they can take the time they need and this tends to delay efforts to drive a response.

Try: "Ends in 12 hours."

4. Intrigue is Better than Incentive

"Why do cardinals kiss?" This one line helped one company save over $20K in advertising costs, plus it drove up engagement by a factor of nearly 1,500 percent with those interested in this company's products. Intrigue gets you compatible consumers and gets more people to pay attention to your messages.

Try: "How much does a..." with the answer embedded at the bottom of the campaign.

5. Information Drives Long Term Interest:

"Everything you needed to know about..." gets the consumer to pay attention to your message. You need to show them three things; first, that the message is important; second, that it is timely; and third, that it has everything the consumer is looking for.

Try: "Enclosed/attached is everything you need to know about..." 

Intrigue is a powerful way to get people to remember to connect with you. You don't have to be witty, as you can be very effective by providing useful information. You can make your communications even more powerful by showing testimonials. Reinforce your message on the landing page.

If you give your consumers time to respond, they will take their own time in getting back to you. Instill a sense of urgency in your messaging and keep them in the loop as you try to drive engagement.

Title image courtesy of Shutterstock.


Sundeep Kapur

Sundeep Kapur has been assisting organizations with their converged channel marketing strategies since 1990. From direct marketing to digital to converged, he is a passionate teacher who works with businesses across multiple industries, helping them to enable technology and services to brand, and personalize and speak to consumers more effectively.

He is an industry-recognized expert who has delivered keynotes, run panels, and delivered "relevant, inspirational, and outstanding" education for organizations around the world.

Sundeep is also an avid user of social media, having leveraged words, pictures, and video into a conversational digital book. His daily dose of best practices can be found at, where he has more than 1,200 articles on best practices.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Social newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

2015 Holiday Email Guide

2015 Holiday Email Guide
The holidays are just around the corner. Download this whitepaper to find out how to create successful holiday email campaigns that drive engagement and revenue.

Three Ways to Make Your Big Data More Valuable

Three Ways to Make Your Big Data More Valuable
Big data holds a lot of promise for marketers, but are marketers ready to make the most of it to drive better business decisions and improve ROI? This study looks at the hidden challenges modern marketers face when trying to put big data to use.