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Ashley GrantFeb 22, 2021 12:00:00 AM7 min read

Power Words to Use in Email Subject Lines

The blogging education website Create and Go wrote a really awesome article last year about power words, and how they could be used for bloggers. This got us thinking about using power words for email subject lines. Could power words be the thing that entices a reader to open an email that they might otherwise skip, or worse, delete?

It’s a question worth pondering because here’s the thing - Most companies battle for people's attention in their email inboxes. Catchy email subject lines can help.

A good subject line grabs interest. It also gets more readers to open the email. Power words help create the best subject lines. They make readers feel an emotion or want to act.

For example, words like "urgent" or "exclusive" build curiosity. When used the right way, power words boost how many people open and click emails. With this in mind, below we’ll explore the power words' meaning, and how you can use them in your own email subject lines to increase your open rates. When used the right way, power words in subjects make emails stand out. They turn plain emails into ones that get noticed and opened.

Now don’t miss out! Read this post immediately for some powerful tips and ideas.

By the way - In case you didn’t catch it, we just gave you an example of using power words to draw attention. Let’s dive in with even more, shall we?

Table of Contents

Why Email Subject Lines Matter - They Can Make or Break Your Open Rates!

The beginning of an interaction with an email for your audience is email subject lines. This short phrase can determine if your message gets read, deleted or in the worst cases, flagged as spam. Research shows that subject lines have a powerful impact on how readers engage with your email. In fact, more than 60% of people decide whether or not to even open your email based on what you include in your subject lines.

It's a Seriously Competitive Inbox Out There

Your subscribers' inboxes are jammed with unread messages every day. Their time is limited. You have to catch their eye and inform them why they should open your email. With inboxes so crowded, weak subject lines get overlooked. But strategic power words make your subject appeal to emotions and indicate value. This convinces more subscribers to open, read and act.

Power Words Give Your Subject Magnetic Pull

Power words are strategic terms that trigger curiosity, urgency and interest. Power words create an irresistible pull that draws the reader in. Just two or three compelling words make your subject stand out. Words like "Exclusive," "Sale Ends" and "Mistakes to Avoid" signal importance. Power words motivate subscribers to open and engage with your message. Sprinkle them into your subject line to see opens improve.

Breaking it Down Further What are Power Words?Breaking-it-Down-Further-What-are-Power-Words-Internal-Image-29-Jan-2024

Power words are influential terms that spark curiosity, urgency or emotion. They are great for capturing attention because they trigger the brain to focus.

Certain power words make readers feel they must open an email to satisfy their interest or desire for exclusive information. Others build urgency by signaling they need to act now before missing out. Some create anticipation of useful tips or valuable content.

Power words work because they target psychological responses and innate human motivations. Everyone wants to be “in the know” or get beneficial guidance. Power words play to these needs in short, compelling phrases. Just a word or two can get clicks.

This makes power words perfect for subject lines, where space is extremely limited. A subject with “insider tips” or “urgent update” stands out. Power words motivate subscribers to open, read and act. Sprinkle them into your subject line, and watch open rates rise.

Top Power Words & Phrases for Email Subject Lines

Let’s look at some highly effective power words and phrases to use in your email subjects. These strategic words compel opens and clicks.


The promise of exclusive content is very enticing because it makes the reader feel as though you are giving them special access. Use “Exclusive” or “VIP Access” to indicate readers will get info not available to just anyone. Triggers like this can make them feel special and like an insider.

Example - Exclusive: Don't Miss Out - Exclusive Offer Inside!

Sale Ends (Soon, Shortly, Etc…)

Create urgency with the word end or ending. If you’re running a limited-time sale or promo, saying when it “Ends” or using the phrase “Last Chance” is a great way to spark action now. Then, you can use a countdown timer counting down the days or hours left within the body of the email to ramp up urgency.

Example - Sale Ends Soon: 24 Hours Left! Prices Expire at Midnight


We all want to avoid missteps, and this power word appeals to that. Pointing out costly “Mistakes” or “Errors” indicates your email will help readers prevent them. The word mistake could be all you need to prevent an email from being deleted.

Example - There Was a Mistake With Your Order!


Similarly, “Beware” and “Warning” signal you’re protecting readers from something undesirable. This compels them to open and learn how to steer clear of the hazard.

Example - Beware! These Deals Are So Good It’s Scary!


Curiosity grabs attention, and that is why an unexpected word like “Oops!” in your subject line sticks out. It creates curiosity about what you could be apologizing for or alerting them to. They'll open to find out what you “oops” is about.

Example - Oops! We didn’t mean to send that out!


Make readers feel valued and needed by saying their “Help” or “Opinion” is “Wanted” for something special. This gives them a sense of purpose.

Example - Wanted: Your Feedback is Needed ASAP!

Flash Sale

This can spur fast action. Running a flash sale or deal? “Flash Sale” conveys the discount won't last long. Use this with a deadline like “Ends at Midnight” to accelerate open rates.

Example - Flash Sale! 50% Off For 24 Hours Only


Ah, the promise of prevention - Similar to “Mistakes,” calling out what readers can “Avoid” or steer clear of indicates your email provides preventive guidance. This often stops your emails from being ignored.

Example - Avoid Missing Out! Only 73 Tickets Left.


Give subscribers a sense you're letting them in on a secret with a “Shhh” or “Keep This Quiet” subject. This feeling of exclusivity keeps them engaged.

Example - Shhh!: Top Secret Deals Inside!


Insert “Alert” or “Important News” to your email subject lines to announce something timely your audience needs to know about. This alarms them to open and read your email.

Example - Breaking News Alert - You Won’t Believe What We Heard!


We all love learning something new. Use “Reveal” or “Coming Soon” to tease subscribers about information you'll exclusively disclose in the email content.

Example - Reveal: We're Exposing Our Best Offer Yet!


Who doesn’t love free stuff? Promote giveaways, free trials or gifts with words like “Freebie” “Free Gift” or “Claim Yours” to boost open rates. But, be cautious about using this too often as sometimes the word free gets flagged as spam in many email spam filters!

Example - Freebie: Claim Your Free Gift Now!


Take the risk out of purchases by guaranteeing results with “Guaranteed” or “Satisfaction Guaranteed” subjects. This provides assurance.

Example - Guaranteed: Satisfaction Guaranteed or 100% Refund!

Amp up Your Impact with These Power Word Combos

When you use power words in your email subject lines, they become even more potent when combined for double the punch. Stacking phrases like “Urgent Notice,” “Exclusive Discount,” and “Instant Access” increases curiosity and urgency.

Mixing complementary power words forms magnetic subject lines readers can't resist opening. Test out combos using the power words above to determine which ones perform best for your audience. Track open and click-through rates to see which power duos get the highest response.

It’s Time for You to Give Power Words a TryIts-Time-for-You-to-Give-Power-Words-a-Try-Internal-Image-29-Jan-2024

Like an angler chasing the big catch, you now have expert bait to hook email subscribers with power words. These influential phrases reel in opens and clicks.

Sprinkle urgency, exclusivity and emotion into your subject lines. Curiosity and benefit quickly convince readers to take the bait. Don’t give them a chance to throw your email back.

Power up formerly dull subjects that flopped in inboxes. Turn them into compelling hooks that catch attention with strong language. Then set the hook with valuable content that exceeds expectations.

Now it’s your turn to start powering up your email subject lines!

Begin incorporating the power words and phrases from this post into your next campaign. Use them in subject line A/B split tests to see which ones resonate most with your subscribers.

Track open and click rates to determine the top performers. Fine tune and iterate on those winners to further optimize response.

Take the guesswork out of power words by leaning on consumer psychology and emotions. Words that spark exclusivity, urgency and curiosity will outperform generic subjects.

Stand out in crowded inboxes using short but influential language. Power words cut through the noise to deliver results. What compelling combo will you test first?

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