Email marketing is one of the best ways to develop long-term relationships with an audience. In addition to quality email content, your emails should also include a subject line that is clear, interesting, and concise. Market data compiled by OptinMonster shows that 33% of email recipients will open a message with a title they think is catchy.
What is an Email Subject Line?
For those who don’t already know, an email subject line is the line of text that appears after the sender’s name in an email client like Gmail or Outlook. In other words, it’s the first words that your recipient sees in their inbox, aside from your name or your business’s name. It’s the first impression you’ll make on your recipients and is the deciding factor in whether they’ll choose to open your email, ignore it, or send it directly to the trash.
You only have so much space in your subject line to convince your subscribers or recipients to open your email, and that can vary depending on whether they’re checking their email from their laptop or a mobile device, which has a smaller screen size and therefore less space. That means your subject lines have to be compelling, making use of powerful words that grab attention and entice the recipient to open the email.
At the same time, subject lines must be concise to ensure that the most important words don’t get cut off on their screens and descriptive to effectively convey what the email message is about. It’s a delicate balance that can be difficult to achieve. And that’s not even considering factors like tying each message into your overall email strategy and sending your emails at the right times for the most opens and clicks.
Top-Notch Email Subject Line Examples
We are naturally drawn to emails, books, and blog posts that have great titles. An email subject line is really a promise, and if you combine a compelling message with great email content you can truly achieve excellent open rates and generate increased sales. In this post, we have compiled 50 of the best email subject line examples we could find. We begin with a list of subject line types and then share a list of specific examples that you may find helpful as you generate your own ideas.
These email subject line examples are organized by the following categories and are not rated or ranked in any way:
Types of Subject Lines
Asking a direct question in your email subject line is an important tactic for getting your audience engaged with your content. Punctuation such as a question mark sticks out to the reader and will instantly get them to think about what is asked. Many times, a person will open the email simply to learn about the answer out of curiosity.
Why It Works: A question engages the reader’s imagination and gets them thinking about your chosen email topic.
Introducing an email with a numbered list is a proven way to get more clicks. People naturally respond well to lists because they are quantifiable and often very easy to read and understand. Numbers also get more attention due to their simplicity, and an email subject line is a great place to highlight this information.
Why It Works: People are naturally interested in numbers and lists of information.
There are many ways to personalize an email beyond simply putting a subscriber’s name in the subject line. Examples include location-specific offers or speaking to your audience using local language or communication styles. An email approach that makes someone feel recognized and presents a familiar tone is more likely to get opened.
Why It Works: Personalized emails are an excellent way to make customers feel recognized and understood.
An informational email subject line shares your important message right upfront. People are busy, and many customers will have hundreds of emails to scan through each day. Sharing some useful information, such as the release of a new product or a date for an upcoming event, gives your readers a clear reason to click and learn more details.
Why It Works: Informational email subject lines are simple, direct, and easy to understand.
When crafting a marketing email, take time to think about what your email is truly trying to communicate. Your email subject line should be clear and also concise so it can be read and understood in seconds. When introducing a topic, product, or offer, speak directly and don’t try to craft something so clever that you lose your core message.
Why It Works: A clear and concise subject line will best represent your core message.
One proven marketing best practice is to clearly describe a call-to-action with all of your content. You can include a command in your subject line to tell readers exactly what opportunity they are being offered. Examples include signing up for an offer, joining a workshop or event, or collecting a discount or coupon code.
Why It Works: A command is direct and presents your email offer right away.
Building a sense of urgency is one way to create a fear of missing out (FOMO). You could be promoting the final hours of a major sale or the completion of an enrollment period that will be closing soon. This type of email subject line is designed to get immediate attention and may also be effective when used with capital letters.
Why It Works: A sense of urgency gives your customers a very clear reason to click on your email right now.
A how-to email subject line can create a sense of intrigue. Many people subscribe to email newsletters as a way to learn new tips and tactics directly from the sources and thought leaders they follow. Promoting a how-to guide in your subject line can bring more opens, traffic, and clicks from those readers that are truly interested in learning more about the subjects you cover.
Why It Works: Many readers are interested in learning new ways to do things.
Neil Patel describes the importance of including special offers in your email newsletters. The word “free” can be a particularly effective offer that many people have a hard time avoiding. When a free or discounted offer is combined with excellent customer service and a wonderful product, it can be an excellent way to gain new long-term customers.
Why It Works: Special offers are a major reason why most people follow email content from brands and influencers.
10. Keywords (Emma)
Another great way to increase engagement is to include keywords in your email subject lines. Keyword research helps improve your email content by uncovering words and phrases with high search volume and therefore strong market interest. You can also find several excellent subject line analysis tools that can compare keywords to your chosen email topics.
Why It Works: Strong keywords can help to grab recipients’ attention.
People like to receive something of value from each email that they open. This could be a link to an amazing article, an excellent discount offer, or a useful infographic. One effective way to present a surprise offer is to include a description of what is inside in parentheses at the end of your email subject line.
Why It Works: A surprise offer represents unexpected value that readers are likely to be drawn to.
Introducing a problem in your email subject line is a great way to get attention. We are naturally curious to know the solutions to challenging problems, and this strategy works well for blog posts in addition to emails. Highlighting a common problem and offering a solution that saves money or time is a popular approach that may be worth trying.
Why It Works: People are naturally inclined to seek out solutions to a problem.
Email subscribers represent some of your closest followers, so consider rewarding their loyalty by sharing exclusive information and subscriber-only deals. Sharing a sneak peek of an upcoming event or offer will likely be appreciated by your audience. This technique not only gets attention but is also a great way to develop your customer relationships.
Why It Works: Your email subscribers are likely to appreciate sneak peeks and exclusive content.
People love to read great stories, and email content is the perfect place to introduce a story in your email subject line. Instead of placing the whole story within your email, you can also design your newsletter so it requires a click to be opened. This will give you more engagement data and help you improve future content.
Why It Works: The use of stories keeps your material fresh and helps to structure your email content.
Descriptive subject lines help your readers visualize the content. For example, when you use phrases such as “Fall into savings,” it can have a greater impact on your audience and generate more clicks. Action-oriented words and anything that conveys motion will help make your email subject lines more interesting.
Why It Works: Descriptive words stand out next to standard emails that many people receive.
Email subject lines that use a humorous tone are often unique and noticeable. Being able to make someone laugh is not an easy task with email, but when done right it can be incredibly effective. When crafting your email subject lines, look for words and phrases that are easy to understand and that fit well with your existing brand image.
Why It Works: Humor is an excellent way to showcase your brand personality.
Another great subject line style is the use of current events and trending topics. When you find an event or news topic that matches well with your brand, you should consider using it as the theme for an email. Your audience is likely to also be interested in the same subject, so you can capitalize on the recent news and interest.
Why It Works: Trending topics often receive higher search volumes and interest than less timely subjects.
Controversial subject lines often produce an immediate response from readers based on whether or not they agree with the statement you’re making. As Ian Brodie describes in this post, it’s important to make sure that your email subject matter actually addresses the controversy and has something to say. If you simply include a flashy subject line but don’t deliver, you’re likely to disappoint your audience.
Why It Works: Controversy can provide a powerful email tone when used correctly.
Effective Subject Line Examples
This example comes from Campaign Monitor and is a good example of a “how-to” email subject line. After reading this subject line, it’s clear that the content will share some information for how to grow an email list. When your email content actually provides value behind the headline, you’re much more likely to get increasing click rates over time.
Why It Works: Teaching your audience is one of the best ways to demonstrate competence in your chosen niche.
This example from Warby Parker is shared by OptinMonster and is a funny play on the idea of food pairings. Many of Warby Parker’s customers use their glasses to read dense documents such as spreadsheets, so this is a very relevant message. It’s also short and makes the point with only four words.
Why It Works: A short, relevant, and funny subject line is likely to resonate with an audience.
This post from HubSpot shares several suggestions for improving the quality of your email subject lines. This example, from Zillow, poses a simple question (“What Can You Afford?”) for an email that shares local apartment listings. It’s the perfect way to get their readers into the mindset of searching for real estate listings they may like.
Why It Works: Emails that open with a question and end with relevant content are often successful.
Campaign Monitor recommends that you avoid using all capitalized words in your email subject lines. By avoiding all caps, your subject lines will be more readable and personable, and they’ll look more like something sent by an actual person. This can improve your click rate and make your content more shareable.
Why It Works: Using normal capitalization rules rather than all caps creates a conversational style.
This post from MailerLite includes over 80 subject line examples, including this one. This email subject line demonstrates the benefit of using normal punctuation and avoiding all caps or exclamation points. Doing so can make your email appear like a spam message, and some subscribers may instantly delete it as a result.
Why It Works: Refrain from using all caps or excessive use of exclamation points to avoid appearing as spam.
This email subject line from AppSumo was the highest performing from their archive of thousands of messages. It had an open rate of 69% and is extremely intriguing to read. By leaving the actual content of the email a mystery, it entices readers to open the message to find out more.
Why It Works: Intriguing subject lines are proven to be among the most effective styles.
HubSpot shares some great examples in this roundup post, and this subject line from Drizly does a lot of things right. They state a simple offer of $5 for staying in but don’t mention what it can actually be used for. This tells readers that something is free but requires them to read more to find out the details.
Why It Works: Use numbers and a clear offer in your subject line to get more attention.
ARITIC presents this subject line from media startup Vooza as the perfect example of being authentic to your brand. They present a controversial statement about Facebook users that is sarcastic and intended as a pun. This can be risky in many cases, but it fits perfectly with Vooza’s other content.
Why It Works: A pun can be very noticeable but must fit well with your brand voice and audience expectations.
The nonprofit organization UNICEF relies on the generosity and support of its followers to drive global change. This example, shared in a post from Campaign Monitor, was timed to coincide with an upcoming congressional vote. By asking their readers to contact Congress members, they can generate interest in the causes that matter to their audience.
Why It Works: Asking for participation can be a great tactic to gain influence with your email following.
OptinMonster reports that email open rates can be increased by 10-14% if they include a subject line that is personalized. Including someone’s name in the subject line is one tactic, but this example from grooming brand Harry’s uses a personal style of writing. They are simply offering you two free razors for your friends, which is a hard deal to pass on.
Why It Works: Use personalized language to create email subject lines that are less corporate and more relatable.
LeadFuze focuses on cold email openings in this post, and this example creates urgency and makes an offer using only seven words. Email subject lines are important for marketing emails and for individual communications as part of business and professional life. This example is a great reminder to keep your subject line short and message clear.
Why It Works: Short email subject lines with a clear message are much more likely to be opened and read.
AppSumo features 80 email subject line examples in this post, and this subject line introduces the “big mistake.” By simply stating “My big email popup mistake,” you instantly get readers thinking about their own mistakes and wanting to avoid them. Many people will engage with the email simply out of curiosity and to avoid a potential future issue.
Why It Works: Many readers are interested in new information that can help them avoid common mistakes.
We’ve discussed urgency many times already, and this example from cosmetics brand Tarte hits the mark. They use this email subject line to communicate the end of an exclusive discount offer which is typically prized by customers. By reminding your readers that the offer will be gone very soon, you give them a clear incentive to click and shop.
Why It Works: Create urgency in your emails to entice readers to click on your content and make purchases.
This offer from UberEats is so good that it would be hard for a new customer to ignore it. In addition to style and formatting suggestions, don’t forget to choose compelling offers for your marketing emails. Sometimes an aggressive deal can be just the right approach to gain new customers and strengthen your following.
Why It Works: A truly generous offer can often do most of the marketing work itself.
EngageBay shares this excellent email headline example from personal care company Manicube, now part of Elizabeth Arden Spas Inc. By telling readers not to open the email, you’re instantly creating a desire to look out of curiosity. It’s important not to use this tactic too often, but it can have a dramatic effect when used at the right time.
Why It Works: Many readers will be intrigued to do the opposite of what you tell them.
Tony Robbins has become one of the most recognized authorities in the self-help space. This email headline shares a personal message describing why his first business failed. With an open rate of nearly 16%, this message obviously resonated with his audience and was among the best performing subject lines shared in this post by DigitalMarketer.
Why It Works: Personal stories about success and failure often have a special meaning for your audience.
Shane Baker shares this example as an “attention-grabbing” email subject line. Many people are looking for places to get a drink and unwind after work or on the weekends. If a message like this is sent at the right time to the right people, it can generate a lot of interest for your email content.
Why It Works: Directing your marketing efforts toward the desires of your audience is a great strategy.
This email subject line poses a question and an immediate offer of help. CRM software company Close does a great job of providing subject line examples that are perfect for marketing and pitch emails. Asking a question makes a reader curious about the answer and creates an opportunity for you to provide it.
Why It Works: Asking a question in your subject line makes a person interested in the answer you can provide.
Customers who closely follow a company are interested in having their voices heard. Speaking directly to your customers with a phrase like, “You asked, we listened,” can be an effective technique. Mailtastic shares this example as an effective way to share a product update with your audience.
Why It Works: A conversational tone is almost always better for email than simply stating facts.
This email message was sent out by mattress and bedding company Casper just in time for the 4th of July. The subject line is on-brand and gets people to think about where they’re going to celebrate the 4th of July. If someone is in the market for a new mattress, this might be the perfect message to entice them to buy.
Why It Works: Sharing promotional emails that coincide with holidays can generate immediate interest
This welcome email subject line is shared by MailerLite in this helpful post that’s part of their ultimate guide to email marketing. Offering your audience a free gift is a proven way to encourage people to sign-up for your mailing list. It’s also important to make sure your free gift is valuable, and a Wall Street Journal best-selling book is very compelling.
Why It Works: Offering a free, valuable gift is one of the best ways to get more email subscribers
So many people today are trying to be more productive and balance all the responsibilities of modern life. This email subject line template is a great one to use as both an offer and a question. If you have a product or service that increases productivity, a question like this can generate immediate interest from your audience.
Why It Works: Presenting an offer within a question is an excellent way to improve the quality of an email subject line.
Housecall Pro is a SaaS offering for home service businesses, and they have a lot of experience engaging with clients and customers through email. This example shows the value of sending an email that’s unexpected. A surprise offer that doesn’t align with a holiday, sale, or other events can be more interesting than the predictable offers other email marketers send.
Why It Works: Sending an unexpected email offer is a useful way to differentiate your business from other brands.
Positive customer feedback is one of the most convincing marketing assets that a brand can possess. This example from Mala the Brand is a great email introduction to a message that shares their testimonials. It’s conversational with a clear subject line that will likely be of interest to readers who want to learn more about their products.
Why It Works: Sharing customer reviews and testimonials in email can help build credibility.
An email subject line that introduces the next steps is an excellent choice for lead generation and welcome messages to new subscribers. By guiding them through a specific series of emails, you can control the narrative and set clear expectations for what happens next. This can also be a nice way to address frequently asked questions right away and reduce confusion.
Why It Works: Always provide clear next steps to your subscribers during your introduction and for specific offerings.
Shopify has e-commerce solutions for any industry, and they’ve created a lot of opportunities for artists to sell their work online. This email subject line uses a palette emoji to get attention and plays to the idea of not “selling out.” By using language your audience will understand, it’s easier to connect with them in a more meaningful way.
Why It Works: Emojis, when used sparingly and with a clear purpose, are a great way to get your email noticed.
Travelers who join frequent flier programs expect to have access to opportunities to earn and redeem points. This email subject line, from JetBlue, is sure to get the attention of customers by informing them that they are “missing out on points.” As with many other email subject line formats, it’s important not to overuse any one style.
Why It Works: Always remember the specific reasons why customers subscribe to your emails and deliver on that value.
This subject line is very dramatic and is a unique way to create a feeling of scarcity. Using the words “getting rid of” in this context can mean to shut down or to give away at a deep discount. Either way, this message from DigitalMarketer is a useful option when trying to get some last-minute sales for a product or service.
Why It Works: Creating a feeling of urgency and scarcity is a proven tactic for generating sales.
Ring Central shares this excellent example that’s very useful when trying to support customers who are considering purchasing a product or service. Sometimes a little more information is just enough to convince someone to buy. Many of these emails are also appreciated since it makes it easier for prospects to make their decision.
Why It Works: Information you share with readers can help them make purchasing decisions.
Moosend is an email marketing platform with a team that has a ton of experience with creating strong subject lines. They chose this example from Grammarly for its freshness and uniqueness. This subject line has a boastful tone but is still casual enough to engage readers in a fun way.
Why It Works: Email subject lines that are fresh and unique are much more likely to get noticed.
Databox has collected a really nice list of email subject line examples that also includes open rates when available. This subject line, “5 Best Apps for 2019,” is incredibly simple and had an amazing 51.6% open rate when shared by Mariya Bentz Media Agency. It demonstrates that simplicity should not be overlooked.
Why It Works: Sometimes a straightforward and simple message can get the most engagement.
People who work in digital marketing are constantly looking for new tools and approaches for reaching more customers. This digital media subject line is hard to ignore because it generates a sense of FOMO by not looking. Messages like this can be annoying if overused, but if the tool that the company shows is truly valuable, it can be a very effective approach.
Why It Works: Making a bold claim in your subject line will get attention and should be followed up with quality email content.
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