The Best Subject Lines For Emails & How To Write Them
Fact - over 305 million emails were sent in 2020, but a third were never opened.
They probably had poor email subject lines!
But how do you avoid this with your subscribers and email campaigns? By writing the best email subject lines!
I've compiled a list of 21 types of the best subject lines so that you can send out more relevant and engaging messages to your customers, clients, or friends. These tips will help ensure that they'll be opened and read!
Have you seen a great subject line in your inbox today?
Why is the subject line of an email so important?
People are inundated with endless emails every day, so good email subject lines are more important than ever. This one line of text can often decide whether an email is opened or sent straight to trash.
No matter how sophisticated or well-crafted your campaigns are, they are worthless if your audience doesn't open the email. Investing a little extra time on your subject lines will help increase email open rates and prevent emails going to the spam folder, and get the message to people in the right people, such as consumers and business executives.
Try to create a catchy, clear and unique email subject line for your email content.
Here are 21 types of the best email subject line styles
1. Personalized subject lines
Personalization techniques are a great way to grab your recipients' attention and make sure they open your emails. Personalized email subject lines include the name of the recipient or the company name.
Using personalization when you write subject lines helps you stand out from all the other emails competing for the same audience's attention in their inboxes.
If you're trying to get your email opened by a specific person but don't have that person's email on hand, try "Hi There."
This a simple and common technique you'll see being used by email marketing professionals everywhere to increase open rates. The greeting has a friendly tone, which personalizes it.
2. Subject lines with numbers
Using numbers in email subject lines is a good way to make your email subject line visually stand out.
It's also effective because it makes it easy for email recipients to quickly scan their email inboxes and pick yours to open.
Here are some email subject line styles that include numbers:
"16 Tips to Increase Your Traffic."
"7 Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Email Deliverability."
"4 Crucial Email Marketing Tips for Beginners."
"13 Tips to Create the Ultimate Landing Page."
It's important to note, however, that email recipients won't automatically open email subject lines that have numbers in them. Numbers only help to grab the email recipients' attention - it's your email content that ultimately wins them over and gets them to open your email.
3. Single-word subject lines
It's just one word, but it's an emotionally charged one, like PANIC
Just a single small word, but it makes a big impression!
This email subject line style is an effective marketing technique because it gets the email recipient's attention and introduces a sense of urgency.
The email title you choose for your email content should be short, clear, and to the point to help pique the email recipients' interest in taking action when they open your email.
It's short, to the point, and gets straight to the point about what you're offering. This style of subject line is suitable for email marketing campaigns that are offering a limited-time free trial period or special offers.
4. Funny subject lines
Most email subject lines are dull. Make your email stick out with a humorous subject line. A well-placed joke will surely get your email opened. Be careful, however, not to overdo it. Email subject lines that are too "in your face" can do more harm than good for email open rates.
Try humor as an email title here and there - see how your email subscribers respond. But if you're going to use a funny email subject line, make sure the email content is funny, too.
5. Simply great subject lines
People are busy, and they get sent a huge number of emails every day, so be clear and concise in your subject lines.
Make it easy for people to understand what your email is about by using a title that says it all in just one sentence. Here's an example of a simple yet powerful subject line:
"Do you know those days? - Yes, me too."
It's simple and makes the point without any extra information...
When MailChimp conducted an email subject line study, simple subject lines fared better than cheesy lures.
The study conducted by Mailchimp found that simple subject lines with no nonsensical words were the best ones to use. It also found that you should send out emails with simple, descriptive subject lines to people who are already connected to the content being delivered.
This type of email subject line style is ideal for sending newsletters and updates to your email subscribers. It's a great way to keep them in the loop.
6. Factual subject lines
Factual subject lines are another type of email title that you can use, especially if the content in your email is about a specific topic.
For example: "How to make chocolate mousse." or "10 Chocolate recipes to die for."
As long as it's factual and gives an idea of what your email content focuses on, this type of subject line can be a good one to use in your email campaigns. You don't want your readers to open the email and be disappointed.
7. Using fear of missing out & other scarcity tactics
Email subject lines threatening scarcity (limited time offer!) tend to perform well.
Most people have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). You'll be surprised how much your click rate will increase if you use scarcity words for your email subject line to gain sales.
This email subject line style is used when selling a product or service. It's an effective email marketing technique because it introduces the concept of urgency into the email subject line. Users feel pressured into acting before they lose their chance.
You can use this email subject line style for your business emails, or you can employ this strategy when email marketing to promote sales or discounts. Just include some relevant details about the promotion in the email content.
8. "Avoid" style subject lines to create urgency
Subject lines like: "1 Reason to Avoid" or "4 Mistakes to Avoid "are good ways to create urgency for getting the reader to open it.
Users will be curious about why they should avoid making those mistakes and will open your email to find out what you mean.
It's good to be cautious, and you don't want to overuse a good thing, but if you use this subject line style sparingly, it can really help get your email opened.
A good way to stick with the "avoid" email subject line is by including only one action word in it. Then write the content of your email in a way that elaborates on what the action word means.
9. Subject lines with questions & other punctuation
Exclamation marks can be helpful but are so over-used that they don't seem to be very powerful anymore, but you can experiment with fun symbols or loud punctuation to grab attention.
Asking your readers a question, rather than making a statement, engages them.
Questions spark a conversation with users, making them more likely to open your email.
The email subject line style was found to be effective by MailChimp's email subject line study. It is proven that email recipients will open an email with questions in the title because they want to know the answer.
10. Eye-catching emojis in subject lines
Using emojis in subject lines can increase your open rates by 45%, but make sure your subject line is optimized for mobile devices, as not all emojis can be seen on all devices.
Emojis are the new way to grab attention or engage email recipients. By using eye-catching emojis in email subject lines, email open rates will increase.
This email subject line style was found to be very effective by MailChimp's email subject line study.
11. Controversial or shocking statements make good email subject lines
Controversy and insult in subject lines require you to tread carefully. You may get opens, but maybe at the cost of sensitive customers. If you want to get good email marketing results, it's good not to be offensive!
The good news is that this subject line style is used when your email content needs to be considered controversial. For example, if you are writing an email about a political or religious topic.
Examples of subject lines that are controversial would include:
"Why the Earth is Flat" or "The Scandal of Climate Change." You do not want to be politically incorrect or break any laws, but you can still get good open rates by being controversial.
If you have good content that communicates a controversial message, then pick out words in your email subject line that are opposites and create a good subject line style with them.
If you are sending an email about unproven scientific theories, then your good controversial words would be: proven or disproven. Use those good words as part of your email subject lines to grab open rates and draw controversy.
12. Show value in subject lines
Showing value is an effective way to get good open rates is by making it clear that your email contains good information. You don't want to be deceptive, but if you write good email subject lines and good content, then this strategy works really well.
It's good not to be misleading with the facts; just make sure that your good value proposition is clearly written in your subject line.
You will often see success with the tips subject line formula, e.g.:
* "How to improve your [insert the desired outcome]."
*" Seven ways you can do __ X in less than five minutes."
"Three simple habits that will change your life."
13. Subject Lines that Announce Breaking News or Upcoming Events
If you're sending an email that announces good news to your subscribers, then creating good news with words like "breaking" or "latest" is a good way to attract good open rates.
By showing that you have valuable information, it will make your good email subject lines seem trustworthy and reliable. Breaking news or upcoming events are good subject line styles that get emails opened because users want the latest information in their inboxes.
This can be most effective when you know your audience and the news and events that they are interested in.
14. Ask for New Subscribers with a catchy email subject line
This email subject line style is good for when you are trying to get subscribers, but it's risky for your reputation. According to Gmail support, you can only send one email to every user who has not confirmed their account after they sign up for good services or products.
Opt-in subject lines to boost your list of subscribers should be tempting.
"Get 20% when you subscribe" is a great example!
15. Curiosity and fun to increase open rates
Curiosity is good to grab open rates and get good email marketing results because readers want to know what will happen next. This style of subject line will boost open rates because curiosity is a human trait.
Include words in your email subject lines that create curiosity, such as: "Who's ready to…" or "How I found out about [INSERT GREAT NEWS]."
This is a good way to keep your users wondering what will happen next.
If you're looking to have fun with your emails, then creating word puzzles and brain teasers are good ways to do so.
16. Use brand names in your email subject lines
One good way to make your good email copy stand out is by making it different from other emails that people get. Try something like this:
Best X [brand name] ever? (open this if you agree)
There are endless possibilities for this email subject line style, so brainstorm some of your own!
17. Mysterious email subject lines
Giving a little taste of something intriguing might cause readers to bite. Capture attention with a mysterious email subject line like:
"Did you know – X?"
And then tell the reader something intriguing about "X." This is another good email subject line style that will encourage readers to open your email to find out more.
18. Subject lines Social Proof
Help boost your email marketing results, try with social proof phrases like: "everybody's doing it" or "the majority of all [insert group of people] agree that."
You can also do this by writing: "What [prominent person] doesn't know about ____."
People want to see what other people think, and they want to be in the loop.
19. Subject lines for Black Friday
Drive your email open rates higher on the busiest shopping day of the year by focussing on an exclusivie offer in your email and subject line.
For example, use a pre-title with the words "Subscriber Exclusive" to encourage customers to read its Black Friday offer.
"Black Friday Subscriber Exclusive: 25% Off + Free Shipping".
Wherever you plan to promote your Black Friday sale on social media and in other channels, use the pre-title to encourage people to click into your email to learn more about it.
20. Subject lines with deadlines
A successful promotional strategy will likely include a series of emails. First send out an announcement, to let people know about an upcoming date. Send reminders as the day of the promotion gets closer, and then lock them in with a ‘last chance” follow-up email.
Create a sense of urgency with this deadline tactic and encourage readers to prioritize your messages. Use short deadlines to motivate action. "Now or never" has been proven the most effective.
21. Ta-Da! It's onomatopoeia
Words that mimic, resemble, or suggest the source of the sound that it describes. Onomatopoeia is a word that is phonetically imitating, resembles, or suggests a sound that describes.
There are so many ways to use sounds to get people's attention; embrace your inner child and use it in your next subject line. For example:
"Kaboom!" - The potato chip company Lay's
"Surprise and Delight your customers with our new product line." - A makeup company or any other relevant type of business.
The idea is to make the mind create imagery for itself using its own resourceful imagination.
So, these are the best 21 subject line styles to boost your open rates and build trust with your readers, but what are the best subject lines for emails?
Here are 10 great email subject line examples
1. Don't die of boredom this weekend...read this instead!
2. Can I show you something awesome right now? You won't believe this...
3. A sneak peek at our hottest new product! YOU won't want to miss this!
4. I am really impressed with [name of person]...check it out for yourself!
5. Do you have time for the funniest video? Guaranteed laughs!
Also, you can add something like, "Bonus: watch the whole thing to discover the ultimate surprise at the end" or whatever.
6. You won't believe what I just bought! Check it out...
7. Can you stop laughing at this? This is so funny...
8. A little behind-the-scenes look at...
9. Before I saw [name] doing this, I had no idea how to, but...now I'm a pro!
10. We all want this, but so few of us have it...
What are the best subject lines for cold emails?
Cold email subject lines should be generally considered a sales email subject line.
Great examples of cold email subject lines:
"You should be working on this NOW!"
"Stop doing THIS and start doing THAT."
"Why experts charge $1,000 an hour and how YOU can get the same results for a fraction of the price."
"I've been reading your blog and have noticed that..."
"I know this is going to sound like a sales pitch but..."
How do you write a good subject line?
To be honest, it can take a lot of trial and error and practice to get this right. You need to know your audience and create a subject line that resonates with them and that will encourage them to open the message.
I'll let you into a secret. I never write them myself!
I have a little AI buddy who is programmed to write the best ever marketing copy, and you can even try him out for free!
Try Jarvis free for 5 days and generate up to 10,000 words! That's a lot of amazing email subject lines!
What is a good call to action in an email?
There should be a call to action in all of your emails - you need people to do something, and the best way to get them to do it is by adding a link in your email that will lead them directly where you want them to go.
Keywords that convert
High-performing keywords: "update," "bulletin," and "issues" These keywords tend to repeat in successful campaigns. Subscribers like updates, but not daily, according to the latest stats.
The most common keywords: "survey" "breaking" and 'historical" – but "trending" was the most popular phrase used in popular marketing campaigns to increase the open rate.
Don't spam your email subject lines
If you are too salesy in your subject lines, they are most likely to be marked as spam. They should not use loud punctuation like all caps or multiple exclamation points.
Instead of focusing on promotion, offer your expertise and share information your audience will find helpful.
Email subject line best practices
Be consistent with how you refer to your brand in the email title. Do not use both Brand Name and The Brand Name or any other combination.
Your subject lines should not be too general; you want to make sure it is relevant to the content of your email.
If someone opens a marketing email, they are probably interested in what it has to offer, so keep the focus on your offer. Highlight benefits and features rather than talking about how great you are.
Your subject lines should be actionable - i.e., if you can remove the title and still know what to do, it's a good one - or really unique/interesting so people open them rather than delete them without even reading them (think of something completely random).
You want your email titles to have as much of a hook or eye-catcher as possible so that your subscribers will pay attention to the email and be curious enough to open it.
Check the tech
Check the preview pane in your email program to see how the text of your message looks before it gets sent. Use this tool to help you figure out if you need more space or if the font is too small. Resize and reformat until it looks right.
Check your email looks good on desktop and mobile. (Also, be sure to test how it looks in Gmail and Outlook.)
One more thing
Your 'from' field (as the sender) is even more important than your email subject line. We are more likely to open and read emails that are sent by someone we trust and know.
That means you need to deliver value in every single email to build your reputation. Your readers recognize the sender's name and want to open the email and build their reputation. Make sure your readers recognize the sender and want to read the email.
A good email subject line should entice the reader to open it. The perfect one will make them curious and/or excited about what you have to say but without being too aggressive or spammy.
Final thoughts on subject lines for marketing emails - or any emails really
A great email subject line can be targeted toward your audience's interests and use keywords that they would search for in order to capture their attention with an enticing offer or informative article. Choose your words wisely and take advantage of this opportunity to be the sender of the best email they open today.
• Understand what good subject lines are and how to craft them
• Reflect on your own experience as a reader and think about what made you want to read the email
• Think of the benefits that your reader might get from reading it
• Use relevant keywords but make sure you don't overdo it.
• Put yourself in your customers' shoes - what would they be most interested in reading about? What type of email do they like best?
• Remember that an effective subject line does not always have to include a hard sell or a major discount, just something that will entice your customers to open the email and read it.
• Use a combination of words that are related to your mailing content - simple but effective.
• Test different subject lines with an A / B test to see what works for you.
If you just don't have the time to study the art of writing subject lines for your email campaigns - delegate the task!
• Save time by using AI to write high converting copy/content
• Get a wide variety of marketing content with just a few clicks
• Stop wasting your time on boring and overwhelming tasks
• Increase the ROI on your ad campaigns
• Write more content in just a few hours than you have in months
I can tell you, from personal experience, for everything from catchy email subject lines to writing a blog post for content marketing, my AI copywriting assistant Jarvis is first class!
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