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Vanilla is currently more expensive than silver.
Recent worldwide food shortages have caused a panic with home cooks—like the soul-wrenching chocolate shortage that has caused some to seek out alternative sweet treats. But the latest news regarding one of the world's most ubiquitous flavors has us running for the nearest grocery store ASAP.
Vanilla is at an all-time low because the world's largest vanilla producer, Madagascar, has reportedly failed to meet crop expectations, The Economist reports. Currently, vanilla is fetching upwards of $600 per kilo—about $60 more than the price of precious silver. The cost of vanilla is about 10 times what it used to cost just a few years ago.
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The Daily Mail writes that the lack of vanilla, in addition to its sky-high cost, is driving brands to raise prices on many of our favorite grocery store finds—Nestle has already implemented a 2.5 percent increase on its vanilla ice cream thanks to early reports of another shortage.
And it’s not just the extract that’ll be affected—the price of "spent" vanilla specks (leftover vanilla beans ground together) is now $150 per kilo. Manufacturers who use vanilla leftovers alongside artificial flavouring to label their product as "natural" will have to raise prices to bridge the gap, the Daily Mail reports.
This isn't the first time we've had a vanilla shortage, either: Everyone's love of "natural" products previously pushed conglomerates like Unilever to use real vanilla in many of their products. NPR covered the first wave of vanilla scarcity last year, and explained the perfect storm that led to the global issue.
Vanilla is one of the most complicated foods to grow, as it requires workers to manually pollinate the vanilla flower with a small applicator. Nearly 80 percent of the world's vanilla is grown in Madagascar, but vanilla comes from the seed of an orchid that’s naturally found in Mexico.
If you add the past year's volatile weather to the mix and the fact that it takes upwards of five years for vanilla orchids to produce seed pods, you'll understand why everyone is nervous.
We'll have to wait to see just how bad this year's shortage is when Madagascar growers start their harvest in June. Until then, you might want to grab a few bottles of extract just in case.
More consumers are seeking out pure vanilla extracts, and that’s definitely part of it.
According to the folks at Nielsen-Massey, makers of pure vanilla products, “the global vanilla industry has been volatile for some time and prices have fluctuated significantly in the past decade.”
The demand for pure vanilla across the industry has skyrocketed, so much so that in 2015, when large food and beverage companies such as Nestle, General Mills, Hershey and Kellogg’s started removing artificial ingredients and replacing them with natural products, it triggered a price jump.
How we graded them
Because most of the ice creams served at fast-food restaurants are soft-serve, we graded the ice cream on how smooth and light the texture was, as well as the quality of the vanilla flavor. While it wasn't a deal-breaker, we also took the presentation of the ice cream cone into consideration. Because no one likes to be handed a cone with a lopsided dollop of ice cream on the brink of sliding off, do they?
From worst to best…
Listen Up, Bakers: You Could Be Saving Lots of Money With DIY Vanilla Extract
I cook a lot, bake a fair amount, and drink more flavored coffee beverages than I care to admit. Between testing recipes for my food and drink blog, EatDrinkDoWear, freelance projects, and keeping myself fed and caffeinated, I found myself running through, and running up a bill for, vanilla. Any time a recipe called for more than a scant teaspoon, I’d walk away feeling guilty—those tiny bottles are expensive, not to mention hit-or-miss in terms of flavor and quality.
One day I was searching for how to get the best bang for my buck after buying some VERY expensive Nielsen-Massey vanilla beans with a discount from my kitchen job. I settled on making homemade vanilla extract when I realized that with a few fresh vanilla beans, some cheap vodka, an airtight container, and a lot of patience, I could produce a never-ending jar of vanilla suitable for all my baking, cooking, and beverage needs. All I had to do was keep adding vodka and my vanilla supply would replenish before my eyes—a total game changer for me. Seriously, DIY vanilla is the gift that keeps on giving, and the method is pretty simple:
Cut 4–6 fresh vanilla beans open lengthwise, scooping out the seeds (or vanilla caviar, if you want to feel fancy) into an airtight container—I used a big 16-ounce mason jar so there was enough room for my vanilla experiment to grow over time. Add the bean hulls to your jar. For a decorative touch, you can use a tall glass bottle that showcases the whole bean, but chopping the beans and muddling them inside your jar actually speeds up the extraction process—ugly, but effective.
Pour enough vodka over the beans and seeds to cover them. Feel free to use the cheapest vodka you can find—all the flavor comes from the vanilla anyway. You can also substitute bourbon or rum, but I find that vodka, since it’s flavorless, offers the cleanest flavor. Whichever spirit you choose, use approximately 8 ounces of at least 70-proof alcohol per 4–6 vanilla beans (the same standards issued by the FDA).
Secure the lid on the jar and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dark place, like a cabinet, for as few as two months, shaking daily for the first week or two and then occasionally after that, until the alcohol turns a rich brown color and smells of fragrant vanilla. For the best, most potent final product, you can let your extract bloom for up to six–12 months before using it.
As you use it up, you can just keep adding vodka to the bean hulls and bottom-of-the-jar-seeds to keep the extraction process going. If you notice that the flavor is getting less intense, which it will as you keep re-upping the alcohol, you can always replace a couple of the spent beans with fresh ones to bolster the flavor.
I’ve had my personal jar of homemade vanilla extract going on five years now and it hasn't let me down yet. But because I am a novice baker, I wanted a pro to test out my DIY vanilla and see if it passed muster. So I gave a tiny vial to Lara Adekoya, founder of boutique baking company Fleurs et Sel. Lara uses vanilla in virtually every one of her recipes—she probably goes through more vanilla in one day than I do in a month.
Fleurs et Sel is a relatively new venture for Lara—she popped up with pickup and delivery services in the L.A. area shortly after she was furloughed from her fashion job due to COVID.
As a new business owner, Lara got a quick lesson in scaling up. She quickly went from baking for her family and boyfriend as a hobby, to accepting orders, buying in bulk, and making the most of every dollar and ingredient. Vanilla is one of the most expensive products on her grocery list. Even though she buys in bulk from Costco at $50 for 32 ounces, it still gets pricey.
A bit of simple math reveals that DIY vanilla is the more economical choice. In five years I would likely have gone through at least 10 bottles of vanilla extract—if each jar is $12, that’s $120. But with my homemade jar, which has lasted me as long, I spent $30 on four beans and $6 on cheap vodka, then maybe another $5 for the jar. Even if you’re an average Joe like me and not a pro baker, the homemade stuff pays for itself pretty quickly.
After trying my homemade version, Lara was a believer. She was pleasantly surprised by how potent and fragrant the extract was. That said, I made sure to add a bunch of seeds and a couple of pieces of the vanilla hull to her bottle, and I’m sure the constant shaking during the delivery process helped draw out some good flavor. But as it turns out, Lara has a ton of fresh vanilla bean hulls from her popular vanilla bean sugar cookie recipe, and with this newly acquired life hack, she expects to have her own vanilla extract just in time for holiday cookie season. Start your jar today and you can too.
Courtney Sprewer is a freelance writer based in Chicago, where she runs the blog EatDrinkDoWear.
Here's What's in Imitation Vanilla
W e don&apost mean to alarm you, but you probably have a taste for wood pulp waste. You&aposve mmmmm-ed and ohhhhh-ed over it for years in your favorite baked goods, sweet breakfast dishes, and frozen treats without even knowing it, but yeah. It&aposs fine, it&aposs just lignin—or wood polymer—waste from the process of making paper, and it&aposs one of the many stand-ins for the flavor of vanilla in imitation vanilla extract. Minus seeing a label, you might be hard-pressed to smell or taste the difference between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract, especially in dishes where it&aposs just an accent note, but it never hurts to know exactly what you&aposre stuffing in your cakehole.
Pure vanilla extract is obviously excellent, or else it wouldn&apost have spawned so many imitators. But it can also be incredibly pricey, and contains alcohol𠅊 no-no for plenty of bakers and eaters for various reasons. That&aposs where imitation vanilla comes into play. Pure vanilla extract is made by steeping vanilla beans in ethyl alcohol and water. The beans are painstakingly grown, hand-harvested, and shipped from just a few countries—hence the high cost.
Imitation vanilla, however, is made from synthetic vanillin, which is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it that distinctive flavor. This synthetic vanillin can come from the previously mentioned wood pulp waste (though that&aposs recently fallen out of favor) or coal tar, cow poop, secretions from a beaver&aposs castor glands (located conveniently near its anus), clove oil, pine bark, or fermented bran.
Guaiacol, which is derived from wood creosote or the guaiacum flower might also be pulling faux-vanilla duty, but due to some FDA labeling wackiness, most manner of these flavors might be labeled as "natural" since they were technically derived from edible sources. (Sorry, cow poop—you don&apost make the cut. Weirdly, the beaver excretions do, but due to the highly labor-intensive and frankly nasty collection process𠅏or both partiesstoreum is used extremely infrequently and the average consumer will likely never encounter it.)
On the flip side, real vanilla extract (which can also be labeled as "extract of vanilla") is the only flavor that&aposs regulated by federal law. Per the official FDA code: "In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume and the content of vanilla constituent, as defined in 169.3(c), is not less than one unit per gallon." If the extract is made from vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label must say "made from" or "made in part from" those particular ingredients.
In 2009, Cook&aposs Illustrated conducted an intensive taste test to see if subjects could tell the difference between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla. The results varied, depending on how the vanilla was deployed—in a cake, pudding, cold dessert, or solo𠅋ut the upshot was that while pure vanilla extract is ideal, there&aposs not a huge drop-off in quality if you opt for a well-made imitation.
Got a few months to spare? It&aposs incredibly easy to make your own vanilla extract at home using vanilla beans and high-proof alcohol. Just flatten and split the vanilla beans, put them in a jar, pour alcohol over them, and open three months later—no cow poop or beaver butts needed.
Vanilla prices drop by a third from recent highs
MOUNT ROYAL, QUE. – Current vanilla bean prices in Madagascar, which provides most of the world’s supply, are about one-third lower than a recent peak price of $600 per kilogram, according to a report released Nov. 27 by Aust & Hachmann Ltd.
“As we approach the end of 2019 it has become abundantly clear the global vanilla market is now officially a buyer’s market for the first time in more than four seasons,” the report said.
The quality of Madagascar’s 2019 crop is good and on par with 2018. Aust & Hachmann expects the 2019 crop to finish in a range of 1,100 to 1,200 tonnes, which, along with other growing regions, should satisfy global demand that has fallen in recent years.
“Prices in Madagascar have continued to fall but perhaps not as much as many had anticipated,” the report said. “The market on the ground remains very quiet as most buyers sit on the sidelines hoping for further price softening.”
If the 2020 Madagascar crop reaches its full potential, the harvest could hit 2,000 tonnes.
Besides Madagascar, production is increasing in all origins and should accelerate even more in 2020. Prices for vanilla sourced from other origins like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have fallen in a range of 40% to 50% from recent highs.
“We are seeing varying degrees of price erosion,” the report said. “While quite significant in secondary regions, like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, thus far in Madagascar the reductions have been more tempered. The anticipated collapse of vanilla prices has yet to materialize, and we see little chance of such an eventuality in the near term.”
Gourmet black vanilla from Papua New Guinea has taken market share from the traditional retail and food service quality usually supplied by Madagascar and the surrounding Bourbon islands. Papua New Guinea could produce 250 tonnes in 2020, according to the report. Vanilla production is rising in Indonesia, and prices have fallen 50% from recent highs.
“With the collapse of demand for vanilla, it is not difficult to see a path to oversupply in the global vanilla market in the near future and a subsequent collapse in prices,” the report said. “However, we would caution against such an assumption given the variables of the vanilla trade. Although it took some time for industrial demand to recover after the last crisis came to an end in 2004, today the global demand and consumption for vanilla is far more entrenched.”
Mount Royal-based Aust & Hachmann imports, stock and distributes vanilla products.
How Strong is your Vanilla?
Most supermarket vanilla extracts are single-strength (a term used to describe the concentration of vanilla flavor) and must be made from 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid solvent, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards. Double-strength, or two-fold, vanilla extract, which can be purchased from specialty stores and mail-order spice houses, is adjusted in the final stages of the manufacturing process to increase the "extractive matter" to 26.70 ounces (13.35 doubled).
We purchased a bottle of double-strength vanilla extract from Penzeys Spices and tried it two ways—using half the amount of vanilla the recipe called for in one batch and using the full amount in another—in the following recipes: yellow cupcakes, vanilla frosting, pastry cream, and chocolate chip cookies. As a control, we also made the recipes using our recommended brand of single-strength vanilla, McCormick.
The differences in the uncooked applications—the frosting and pastry cream—were noticeable. While the samples that used the full amount of double-strength vanilla definitely had a more pronounced vanilla flavor, they didn't necessary have a better flavor. In fact, several tasters found them too strong, citing "medicinal" or "alcohol" notes. When we compared single-strength versus halved double-strength vanilla, most tasters preferred the single-strength versions. In the baked goods, the differences were more difficult to detect. Some tasters appreciated the stronger vanilla flavor of the cupcakes that contained the full amount of double-strength vanilla. In contrast, several tasters complained that the double-strength vanilla was "overkill" in the cookies. In general, the single-strength vanilla was again preferred over the halved double-strength vanilla.
So if you happen to have a bottle of double-strength vanilla on hand, use half the amount called for in most recipes, especially those in which the vanilla is stirred in raw. But don't run out and buy a bottle: Even though you only use half as much, a typical 4-ounce bottle costs about three times as much as single-strength supermarket vanilla.
What? French Vanilla Beans Don't Exist?
Yes, in fact, there is no such thing as a French vanilla bean. Vanilla beans come from orchids, and originally came from Mesoamerica, though variations on the vanilla orchid have now scattered around the world.
Fun fact - vanilla can only grow 10 to 20 degrees north and south of the equator, which really limits the areas in which it is produced. 75% of the vanilla that's on the market today comes from Madagascar and the island of Réunion. The rest of the world's supply of vanilla comes from Mexico and Tahiti.
So, if you prefer the taste of french vanilla to that of regular vanilla, you'll only find it in ice cream, because it's a method of making ice cream, rather than an actual type of vanilla itself. I bet you didn't know that when you made your ice cream choices.
Why You Need Good Email Subject Lines
Did you know that 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone? At the same time, 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.
In other words: your subject lines have the power to make or break your email marketing campaigns.
The best way to write email subject lines for higher opens (instead of being marked as spam) is by leveraging natural human tendencies and psychological principles.
Here are 164 examples of the best subject lines for email marketing, and the proven principles that make them work…
Fear of Missing Out
One psychological principle that is practically impossible to resist is the fear of missing out. You can use this fear in your subject lines by adding an element of scarcity (limited availability) or urgency (limited time).
In fact, subject lines that include words that imply time sensitivity–like “urgent”, “breaking”, “important” or “alert”–are proven to increase email open rates.
Here are some great sample subject lines for emails that use the fear of missing out…
- Warby Parker: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring”
- JetBlue: “You’re missing out on points.”
- Digital Marketer: “[URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to watch this…”
- Digital Marketer: “Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight…”
- Digital Marketer: “[WEEKEND ONLY] Get this NOW before it’s gone…”
- Jersey Mike’s Subs: “Mary, Earn double points today only”
- Guess: “Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream”
Humans have a natural desire for closure– we don’t like having gaps in our knowledge. You can leverage this desire for closure by leaving your subject line open-ended so subscribers will be curious, like a cliffhanger that can only be satisfied by opening the email.
You can make subscribers curious by asking a question, promising something interesting, or simply saying something that sounds strange or unusual.
Here are some great examples of curiosity-inducing subject lines…
- Manicube: “*Don’t Open This Email*”
- GrubHub: “Last Day To See What This Mystery Email Is All About”
- Refinery29: bizarre money habits making Millennials richer”
- Digital Marketer: “Check out my new “man cave” [PICS]”
- Digital Marketer: “Is this the hottest career in marketing?”
- Thrillist: “What They Eat In Prison”
- Eat This Not That: Disgusting Facts about Thanksgiving”
- Chubbies: “Hologram Shorts?!”
- The Hustle: “A faster donkey”
- Mary Fernandez: “? a surprise gift for you!
Funny Subject Lines
If your subject line makes your subscribers laugh, then they’ll simply have to open it. After all, have you ever read a subject line that tickled your funny bone and you didn’t read it?
Being humorous requires a bit more thought and creativity, but it can really pay off in terms of your open rates.
Here are some funny email subject lines to make your subscribers laugh.
- Eater Boston: “Where to Drink Beer Right Now” (Sent at 6:45am on a Wednesday.)
- OpenTable: “Licking your phone never tasted so good”
- Groupon: “Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”
- The Muse: “We Like Being Used”
- Warby Parker: “Pairs nicely with spreadsheets”
- UncommonGoods: “As You Wish” (A reference to the movie The Princess Bride.)
- Travelocity: “Need a day at the beach? Just scratch n’ sniff your way to paradise…”
- TicTail: “Boom shakalak! Let’s get started.”
- Thrillist: “Try To Avoid These 27 People On New Year’s Eve”
- Baby Bump: “Yes, I’m Pregnant. You Can Stop Staring At My Belly Now.”
- Gozengo: “NEW! Vacation on Mars”
- The Hustle: “Look what you did, you little jerk…” (This one’s a reference to the movie Home Alone. We hope.)
Everyone has a bit of vanity. People love to be liked, accepted and even revered by others. It’s just a part of being human.
That’s why some of the most clever subject lines use vanity to get you to open the email. To do this, you can either promise something that makes the subscriber look better to their peers, or invoke the fear of being shamed.
Here are some great examples of clever email subject lines that leverage vanity…
- Guess: “Don’t wear last year’s styles.”
- Fabletics: “Your Butt Will Look Great in These Workout Pants”
- Jeremy Gitomer: “How Have You Progressed Since the Third Grade?”
- Rapha: “Gift inspiration for the discerning cyclist”
- La Mer: “Age-defying beauty tricks”
- Pop Physique: “Get Ready. Keep the Pie Off Your Thighs Returns.”
- Rapha: “As worn in the World Tour”
- Sephora: “Products the celebs are wearing”
You may not think of yourself as a “greedy” person, but it can be really tough to pass up a great deal… even if you don’t really need the item right now. That’s why sales, discounts and special offers work really well in your subject lines.
However, be careful about offering really huge discounts– the higher the percentage, the less reliable effect it has on your open rates (perhaps because consumers don’t believe large discounts are real).
Regardless, you can usually expect to see an increase in your click rates whenever you offer a discount in your subject line. That’s probably because the people who open these emails are already interested in your offer, so they’re naturally inclined to click.
Here are some great email subject line ideas for hitting your subscriber’s “greed” button…
- Topshop: “Meet your new jeans”
- Topshop: “Get a head start on summer”
- HP: “Flash. Sale. Alert.”
- HP: “New must-haves for your office”
- Seafolly: “A new product you won’t pass on”
- Guess: % off your favorites”
- Rip Curl: “Two for two”
- La Mer: “A little luxury at a great price”
- Rapha: “Complimentary gift wrap on all purchases”
- The Black Tux: “Get priority access.”
Another common trait among all humans is sloth, or the tendency to avoid work. Even people who aren’t inclined to be lazy would prefer a silver bullet over the long and hard route.
You can give subscribers an easier way to achieve their goals by offering a shortcut, or a useful resource that saves a lot of time and energy. (These useful emails are perfect for lead nurturing too!)
Here are some great examples of email subject lines that satisfy sloth…
- Syed from OptinMonster: “✔ 63-Point Checklist for Creating the Ultimate Optin Form”
- Syed from OptinMonster: “Grow your email list 10X ⚡ faster with these 30 content upgrade ideas” : “How to email a busy person (including a word-for-word script)”
- Digital Marketer: “Steal these email templates…”
- Digital Marketer: “A Native Ad in 60 Minutes or Less”
- Digital Marketer: blog post ideas”
If you really understand your buyer persona, you should know their biggest pain points. Use those pain points to get subscribers to open your emails by solving that problem for them.
Here are some examples of email subject lines that bring out the subscriber’s pain points and offer a solution…
- Pizza Hut: “Feed your guests without breaking the bank”
- IKEA: “Where do all these toys go?”
- IKEA: “Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes”
- HP: “Stop wasting money on ink”
- Sephora: “Your beauty issues, solved”
- Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery…”
- Thrillist: “How to Survive Your Next Overnight Flight”
- Guess: “Wanted: Cute and affordable fashions”
- Evernote: “Stop wasting time on mindless work”
- Duolingo: “Learn a language with only 5 minutes per day”
Retargeting emails are sent to subscribers when they fail to complete an action or a step in your sales funnel (e.g. when they abandon their cart or fail to purchase after their free trial). These emails serve to bring your subscribers back to your sales process.
You can write effective retargeting subject lines by overcoming objections, offering something to sweeten the deal, or alerting them that something bad is going to happen if they don’t take action.
Here are some excellent examples of retargeting email subject lines…
- Nick Stephenson: “How you can afford Your First 10,000 Readers (closing tonight)”
- Bonobos: “Hey, forget something? Here’s 20% off.”
- Target: “The price dropped for something in your cart”
- Syed from Envira: “Mary, your Envira account is on hold!”
- Syed from Envira: “I’m deleting your Envira account”
- Ugmonk: “Offering you my personal email”
- Animoto: “Did you miss out on some of these new features?”
- Pinterest: “Good News: Your Pin’s price dropped!”
- Unroll.Me: “⚠ Unroll.Me has stopped working”
- Vivino: “We are not gonna Give Up on You!”
Email subject lines that are personalized by including a name boost open rates by 10-14% across industries.
But including your subscriber’s name is only one way to make your subject lines more personal. You can also use casual language, share something personal, or use copy that implies familiarity or friendship.
Here are some examples of personal email subject lines that get attention…
- Guess: “Mary, check out these hand-picked looks”
- Rent the Runway: “Happy Birthday Mary – Surprise Inside!”
- Bonnie Fahy: “Mary, do you remember me?”
- Kimra Luna: “I didn’t see your name in the comments!?”
- John Lee Dumas: “Are you coming?”
- UrbanDaddy: “You’ve Changed”
- Influitive: “So I’ll pick you up at 7?”
- James Malinchak: “Crazy Invitation, I am Going to Buy You Lunch…”
- Brooklinen: “Vanilla or Chocolate?”
- Sam from The Hustle: “I love you”
- Ryan Levesque: “Seriously, Who DOES This?”
- Jon Morrow: “Quick favor?”
- Mary Fernandez: “you free this Thurs at 12PM PST? [guest blogging class]”
- Mary Fernandez: “? your detailed results…”
- Syed from OptinMonster: % increase in revenue with a single optin + a neat growth trick from my mastermind!”
- Revolution Tea: “Thanks for helping us”
- Harry’s: “Two razors for your friends (on us)”
When in doubt, make your subject line simple and straightforward. Contrary to what you might think, these “boring” subject lines can actually convert really well.
The key to making this work for your list is to consistently provide value in all of your emails. Don’t ever send an email unless you have something important to say: always make sure your campaigns are packed with value. If you do this, you’ll train your subscribers to open your emails no matter what the subject line says.
For help with writing better emails, check out our post on 19 quick and dirty tricks for writing better emails.
Here are some examples of email subject lines that get straight to the point…
- Al Franken: “Yes, this is a fundraising email”
- AYR: “Best coat ever”
- Barack Obama: “Hey”
…and these “boring” subject lines performed the highest out of 40 million emails, with open rates between 60-87%…
- “[Company Name] Sales & Marketing Newsletter”
- “Eye on the [Company Name] Update (Oct 31 – Nov 4)”
- “[Company Name] Staff Shirts & Photos”
- “[Company Name] May 2005 News Bulletin!”
- “[Company Name] Newsletter – February 2006”
- “[Company Name] and [Company Name] Invites You!”
- “Happy Holidays from [Company Name]”
- “Invitation from [Company Name]”
Top Subject Line Keywords
There have been many studies analyzing the effectiveness of using specific email subject line keywords. Use these keywords when crafting your own email copy and subject lines to boost your open rates even further.
According to Alchemy Worx, which analyzed 21 billion emails sent by 2,500 brands, the top five most effective subject line keywords were:
In another study from Alchemy Worx, which analyzed 24.6 billion emails, the top subject line keywords for open rates were:
Based on Digital Marketer’s analysis of 125 million emails they sent in 2018, some top subject line keywords to try are:
- “$ today, $$ tomorrow”
- numbers (e.g. -figure plan”, ideas”, minutes or less”)
- [brackets] (e.g. “[EMAIL MARKETERS] $95 today, $995 tomorrow,” “[In Case You Missed It] Our best-performing blog post of all time,” “[NAME’s Last Reminder] Up to 90% off our best-selling products gone in 3…”)
Adestra analyzed over 2.2 billion emails, and found the following top subject line keywords:
- “free delivery”
In another study from Adestra, which looked at over 125K email campaigns, the top performing subject line keywords were:
- “thank you”
- “*|*|*|*|” (i.e. a subject line that has multiple stories delineated by pipes. For example, “Headline 1 | Headline 2 | Headline 3 | Headline 4”)
- “order today”
Finally, a report by Smart Insights looked at a random sample of 700 million emails, and found that the top performing subject line keywords were:
- “get your”
- “on orders over”
- “orders over”
- “off selected”
- “your next order”
- “brand new”
- “great deals”
- “sale starts”
- “back in stock”
- “sale now”
- “now in”
Did you know: OptinMonster works on any website, but it’s also got the best WordPress popup plugin on the market. Learn all about the OptinMonster Effect and how we can help you get more subscribers and customers in 3 simple steps!
Conclusion: Some Final Tips for Crafting Irresistible Subject Lines
Before choosing a subject line at random, keep these tips in mind for the highest possible open rates.
Most People Open Emails on Mobile
Regardless of which of the above techniques you decide to use, make sure your subject line is optimized for mobile users.
While mobile access to email saw a dip at the end of 2018, it’s still the preferred way people access their email.
You can use free marketing tools like Zurb’s TestSubject to see how your subject line will appear on a variety of popular mobile devices.
Originality is Key
Also, keep in mind that being original is the key to sustainable success with your email subject lines.
The truth is, subscribers get bored easily. If you want to engage your first-time openers and long-term inactive subscribers, you don’t want them to read your subject line and think, “There’s that weekly newsletter again that I always ignore.” You’ll need to keep mixing things up over the long haul.
Try Out Emojis
According to a report by Experian, using emojis in your subject lines can increase your open rates by 45%.
Well, we’ve been testing this out at OptinMonster as well, and we can confirm that the email subject lines with emojis do beat out the plain text ones!
Here are the top 15 emojis by subject line appearances.
These aren’t necessarily the “best” ones to use—they’re just the most popular. You can get creative with different emojis and different emoji combinations for your own email subject lines.
That’s it! We hope you found these 164 best email subject lines to be helpful in creating your next subject line. If you did, consider downloading the cheat sheet, so you can always have this guide handy.
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and choose one of the subject line examples above to modify and make your own. You may also want to consider incorporating some of the top subject line keywords to boost your newsletter open rates even more. Not sending a newsletter? Learn how to create and send your first email newsletter with our guide.
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out 30 content upgrade ideas to grow your email list and these email subject line statistics.
Trader Joe’s Vanilla Extract, Pure Bourbon
This Trader Joe’s vanilla extract with pure bourbon is an amazingly rich and flavorful way to make your pastries taste just a little better than they otherwise would. This adds even more vanilla flavor than regular Trader Joe’s vanilla extract, while also giving cookies or cupcakes an added hint of something extra. This is pretty pricey at almost $5 for just 4 ounces, but as far as specialty vanilla extract goes, this is actually a pretty good value. It reminds me of the Trader Joe’s vanilla bean paste that TJ’s used to carry and just recently brought back. If you are looking for something to add some flavorful kick to your same old cookies, I would give this bourbon vanilla extract a shot…..…….
- Gives baked goods a great bourbon vanilla flavor
- Net Weight: 4 oz
- Ingredients are bourbon Vanilla Bean extractives in water, alcohol (35%)
Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract
I kind of wish I had discovered this version of TJs vanilla extract a long time ago. I’ve found that I prefer the taste of my go to chocolate chip cookies with this bourbon vanilla extract over the regular vanilla extract. I could be just imagining things, but I do feel like it adds another flavor dimension to my cookies that people really love. What is everyone’s favorite pastry or baked goods recipe to use this in? Has anyone else cooked with both types of vanilla extract and have found that one makes cookies taste a lot better than the other?! Either way, this has an awesome bourbon and vanilla taste to it, and you really can’t go wrong when you’re making cookies anyways. I’d just say mix this in once in awhile if you get sick of the same old cookies! Check out these other options if you can’t make it to TJs in person…..
How to Make Vanilla Extract
Homemade vanilla extract requires just 3 ingredients: vodka, vanilla, and time!
Note: Makes 1 cup. Prep time does not include 2-month waiting period.
From Erica Kastner of Buttered Side Up.
Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise with scissors or a knife. Leave a bit intact at the end if desired. Cut the beans down to fit the height of your jar if necessary.
Put the beans in an 8-ounce jar. Cover with alcohol. Screw the lid on and give it a good shake.
Place in a cool, dark place. Let sit for at least 2 months. The longer the vanilla sits, the stronger the flavor will be. While it's sitting, give the jar a shake every week, or as often as you can remember.
The rate at which we consume vanilla extract in our house is a bit &hellip excessive? But it enhances the flavors of so many foods that I enjoy: smoothies, matcha lattes, homemade whipped cream, eggnog, hot chocolate &hellip the list goes on! I find myself adding a dash here, a glug there, and pretty soon, my bottle is used up!
Thank goodness for homemade vanilla extract. I can feel accomplished for making up a large batch, and somehow I don&rsquot feel as bad putting it into everything I can think of. If you make it yourself it doesn&rsquot count, right? Right.
Today I&rsquod like to show you how to make vanilla extract at home. It&rsquos a super simple process!
You need only 2 ingredients: vodka and vanilla beans. That&rsquos really it! You can use rum or bourbon instead of vodka, but the flavors won&rsquot be as clean. I used rum for a batch, and we didn&rsquot like it very much. Ideally you want something with a high alcohol content (at least 35%) and a neutral or complementary flavor.
Let&rsquos pause for a minute and talk about vanilla beans.
There are different varieties of vanilla beans. The three main types are Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican vanilla beans, but they are grown in other parts of the world as well. I personally like the flavor of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. Mexican vanilla beans have a very distinct flavor that I&rsquom not fond of. But that&rsquos just me.
In addition to varieties, there are also different grades of vanilla beans. Grade A beans are longer and more moist, and Grade B beans are less pretty and usually recommended for making extract. Grade B beans are less expensive, so if you&rsquore trying to cut back on cost, definitely go for those.
Now we can get into the particulars of how to make vanilla extract!
Start by splitting your vanilla bean pods in half along their length. You can do this with scissors (my favorite method) &hellip
If you want your vanilla bean pods to look pretty in a jar, you can leave a bit of the end uncut to keep it together. Or just chop right through them&mdashit doesn&rsquot make a difference in flavor!
If there are any vanilla beans stuck to your scissors or knife, make sure to put them in your jar. You don&rsquot want to waste any of those lovely beans!
Now stick your sliced beans in a jar.
A note about jars: I like to save condiment and salad dressing jars because they tend to be a nice height for vanilla beans and are pretty easy to clean out and reuse. I highly recommend using jars that come with a plastic insert that slows down the pour of the liquid. Vinegar jars are usually a good bet for this.
If your jar is larger than 8 ounces, use more beans and alcohol so that the alcohol will cover the beans. Just remember this ratio: 6 vanilla beans per 8 ounces of alcohol. So if your jar is 12 ounces, use 9 vanilla beans. If it&rsquos 16 ounces, use 12 beans.
Pour your alcohol of choice on top. Make sure it covers the beans! If any are sticking out, you can cut them down to fit better.
A tall jar looks pretty, but you can totally make vanilla in a squat jar as well. Simply cut the beans down to size as well as splitting them in half lengthwise.
Now put a lid on the jar and give it a good shake. Store in a cool, dark spot and give it a shake every week or so (or whenever you remember).
As the vanilla extract sits, it will get darker. You want the beans to soak in the alcohol for at least 2 months before using it. The flavor will only get better with time.
Make up several batches of vanilla extract at once so you never have to wait for a batch to brew. If you&rsquore organized enough, you can note how quickly you use up your vanilla and make a new batch 3 months before you run out.
If you&rsquod like to make vanilla extract as a gift, don&rsquot worry if it won&rsquot be ready in time! Simply package it in a pretty bottle, tie some baker&rsquos twine around the neck, and add a label that clearly states when the vanilla will be ready to be used. You can use sticker labels, or simply punch a hole in a label and tie it to the jar with ribbon or twine.