The email subject line in an email is the first bit of text recipients see in the inbox (apart from the sender’s name) when they receive an email.
What makes the subject line so critical is that this short snippet can convince a recipient to open or discard your email. As attention span drops worldwide, the subject line will dictate how your email campaigns perform — you cannot afford to classify it as basic hygiene anymore. It needs more of your care and attention.
Join us as we break down the humble email subject line and share 202 examples that can maximize your open rates!
Understanding the Importance of the Email Subject Line
The subject line in email marketing serves as the first impression and influences whether your recipient will open your email or not. But there’s a lot more to it.
The subject line is important for these reasons as well:
- The subject line is the first thing recipients see when they receive your email. It’s their initial glimpse into the content and purpose of the email. A compelling subject line can make readers curious and encourage them to open and read your message.
- A well-crafted subject line can positively impact the open rate of your emails. If the subject line is enticing, relevant, and personalized, recipients are more likely to open the email.
- Personalized subject lines that resonate with the recipient’s interests or previous interactions can create a connection. Including the recipient’s name or referencing past interactions can make the email feel more personalized and increase the likelihood of engagement.
- Your subject line should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. It should accurately reflect the content and purpose of your email while being brief enough to capture attention quickly. Long or confusing subject lines may deter recipients from opening your email altogether.
- Consistent use of branding elements, such as logos, taglines, or brand voice, in the subject line can help reinforce brand recognition and amplify the impact of your email marketing efforts.
- Mailbox providers often use engagement metrics, including open rates, to determine the quality and relevance of emails. A compelling subject line can improve open rates, which in turn can positively impact your email deliverability rates.
Clearly, the subject line is a critical aspect of an email — but how do you get it right?
What Makes an Email Subject Line Great?
Writing cookie-cutter subject lines will negatively affect your engagement rates, which means you need to invest time to figure out how to get the best out of its limited character count. So let’s explore best practices.
Follow these pointers to write the best subject lines:
- Grab attention: Craft a subject line that immediately captures the recipient’s attention and entices them to open the email — use intriguing language, pose a question, or make a bold statement.
- Relevance: Ensure the subject line is relevant to the content of the email and aligns with the recipient’s interests or needs.
- Curiosity: Spark curiosity by hinting at what’s inside the email without giving away too much information. A well-crafted subject line should make recipients eager to open the email to find out.
- Personalization: Personalize the subject line whenever possible by including the recipient’s name or referencing previous interactions or preferences.
- Conciseness: Keep the subject line concise and to the point. Long subject lines can be overwhelming and may get cut off on mobile devices.
- Avoid spam traps: Stay clear of spam triggers such as excessive punctuation, spammy phrases, or overly promotional language.
- Utilize preheader text: Preheader text can further entice recipients to open the email by offering a sneak peek of what’s inside.
- Create urgency/exclusivity: Limited-time offers, exclusive deals, or event invitations can drive action and engagement.
- Avoid all caps: Refrain from using all capital letters in the subject line, as it can come across as shouting and may be off-putting to recipients.
An excellent email subject line can make or break your campaigns and is one of the most important points to address as you create your emails.
Subject Lines and Preheaders: A Powerful Combo
In email marketing, the preheader/preview text and the subject line form a dynamic duo that can significantly impact open rates and engagement.
Here’s why savvy marketers should capitalize on their relationship:
- Enhanced clarity: While the subject line captures attention, the preheader text provides additional context. Together, they offer a more comprehensive preview of the email’s content, helping recipients understand its relevance and encouraging them to open it.
- Extended messaging: The limited space in the subject line may not convey the full message effectively. The preheader text allows marketers to expand on the subject line, offering more details or incentives that entice recipients to open the email.
- Increased curiosity: When crafted creatively, the subject line and preheader text can work in tandem to create even more curiosity than a subject line could by itself.
- Reinforced branding: Consistency across the subject line and preheader text reinforces brand identity and messaging. By aligning both elements with the brand’s tone and style, marketers can strengthen brand recognition and trust.
- Optimized mobile experience: With the prevalence of mobile email users, the subject line and preheader text become even more critical. They provide a concise yet compelling preview that captures attention and encourages engagement, especially on smaller screens.
The subject line and preheader text work together beautifully to capture attention, provide context, and drive engagement. At Campaign Refinery, we understand this synergy perfectly — we include a field for our clients to add preheader text, so they can take advantage of this precious real estate in the subscriber’s inbox.
But that’s not all.
Campaign Refinery: Elite Email Performance
The biggest reason clients apply to partner with Campaign Refinery is our deliverability rates. We’ve turned inboxing into an art form, and our clients are enjoying the amazing engagement rates they deserve.
We put a vetting process in place to ensure only serious emailers work on our platform, to ensure no spam emails are sent from our servers. We constantly monitor our outgoing emails to ensure our excellent sender reputation stays intact.
Here’s what else you get:
- Want to talk about engagement rates? With our gamification feature, we’ve tracked open rates of 76.37% and click rates of 72.76%, plus a 0.0% complaint rate. Magic!
- The automated list-cleaning feature moves silently through your email list, sniffing out troublesome email addresses that could tank your sender reputation, and removes them.
- We’re proud of our talented customer care department; our reps work closely with customers until their issues are resolved.
- Concerned whether your marketing tools will work with Campaign Refinery? We offer third-party integration for thousands of the most popular tools, so relax — everything will work smoothly!
- You can add unlimited contacts to your email list, and won’t have to pay a cent more; we only charge for sends, not for list size!
If you’d like to experience A-grade email performance, sign up to be a Campaign Refinery customer today!
Types of Subject Lines
There are different types of subject lines you could adopt to have a better impact on the performance of your campaigns.
Subject lines can fall under these categories:
- Offering exclusive access,
- Asking a question,
- Offering immediate value,
- Cart abandonment,
- Social proof,
- Re-engagement subject lines,
- Event announcements,
- Thank you.
We’re going to break down each of these and list examples you can use, too!
Urgent/FOMO Subject Lines
Using urgency in subject lines is a clever tactic in email marketing because it taps into psychological triggers that drive action.
Let’s examine why it works:
|How They Achieve It
|Prompts immediate action
|Urgency creates a sense of impending opportunity or loss, compelling recipients to act quickly to avoid missing out.
|Positively impacts conversion rates
|When recipients feel a time-sensitive need to respond, they’re more likely to engage with the email content and take the desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for an event, or redeeming an offer.
|Heightens perceived value
|Limited-time offers or exclusive deals associated with urgency convey a higher value proposition to recipients, making them more inclined to act to secure the benefit.
|Improves open rates
|Urgency injects a level of excitement and anticipation into the email, driving recipients to open and interact with the content to learn more about the time-sensitive opportunity.
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a technique that is used in various marketing channels, for a very simple reason — it works.
Subject lines utilizing urgency can be persuasive, as these examples demonstrate:
- “Last Chance: 24-Hour Flash Sale Ends Tonight”
- “Act Fast: Limited Inventory Left, Get Yours Now”
- “Don’t Miss Out — Early Bird Registration Ends Tomorrow.”
- “Final Hours: Grab Your Exclusive Discount Before It’s Gone”
- “Hurry: Sale Ends at Midnight Tonight”
- “Limited Time Offer: 50% Off Ends Soon — Don’t Wait”
- “Only 3 Seats Left! Reserve Your Spot Now Before It’s Too Late”
- “Urgent — Your Invite Expires Tomorrow”
- “Time is Running Out — Redeem Your Free Gift Today.”
- “Ends Today: Get Double Rewards Points on Your Purchase”
- “This Flash Sale Ends In One Hour — Shop Now”
- “Limited Rooms Left for Labor Day Weekend Getaways — Book ASAP”
- “Sign Up Now for Our 7-Day Fitness Challenge — Starts Monday”
- “Reserve Your Table for Valentine’s Day Dinner Before It’s Too Late”
- “We’re Down to the Last 10 Units of Our Limited Edition Sneakers”
Witty Subject Lines
Using wit and humor in subject lines is a savvy approach in email marketing due to its ability to captivate recipients’ attention amidst a sea of emails. By infusing emails with clever humor, brands create a memorable and engaging experience for recipients.
Funny subject lines can have the following results:
|How It Works
|Witty subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes, capturing recipients’ attention and encouraging them to open the email.
|Creates positive associations
|Humor evokes positive emotions, making recipients more receptive to the message and fostering a connection with the brand.
|A clever or humorous subject line can pique curiosity and encourage recipients to explore the email’s content further, leading to higher open and click-through rates.
|Strengthens brand personality
|Witty subject lines can help define and reinforce the brand’s personality, making it more memorable and distinctive in the minds of recipients.
|Drives brand recall
|Recipients are more likely to remember and recall emails with witty subject lines, increasing the likelihood of future engagement with the brand.
Funny subject lines have a high risk-to-reward ratio, but be careful when you write them — when they go wrong, they can go really wrong.
Here are 13 examples of creatively witty subject lines for different industries:
|A boutique socks company
|“We Found Your Missing Sock(And Other Great Deals Inside)”
|“Let Your Smile Be as Bright as the Sun ☀️, Not as Yellow! Book a Visit Today”
|“I Forgot my Phone Number, Can I Have Yours?”
|“Donut Worry, Be Happy: Sweet Deals Inside…”
|“We’ve Got Your Back… Pocket: Exclusive Offers for You”
|“For All the Guys Who Forgot ♥️Valentine’s Day ♥️: Top Flowers to Say You’re Sorry”
|Star Trek merchandise store
|“Let Us Beam You Up with Exclusive Deals”
|“It’s Raining Discounts! Grab Your Umbrella… and Your Savings”
|“The Only Thing Stronger Than Our Coffee is Gunpowder”
|“Our Copywriter is on Holiday — Please Buy Our Bags”
|Pet food store
|“Treats Aren’t Just for Pets 🐶🐱. Here’s a 20% Discount for Being a Good Owner”
|“Free Hugs (and Discounts!) Inside”
|“Need a Pair of Sunglasses to Go With That Cute Smile?” 😎
It’s a good idea to establish a brand guideline for humorous email content and ensure you test them out with all types of people before you email your customers!
Subject Lines That Promise Exclusive Access
Employing exclusivity as a strategy in subject lines can be highly effective in email marketing for several reasons.
It creates a sense of importance and value around the content of the email, making recipients feel privileged to receive it. By highlighting exclusive offers, invitations, or content in subject lines, brands can incentivize recipients to open the email promptly to access the limited-time opportunity or special treatment.
Exclusivity also fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty among recipients, as they perceive themselves as part of a select group receiving the exclusive offer or information. This strategy can drive higher open rates, engagement, and conversions, as recipients are motivated to take advantage of the exclusive benefits presented in the email.
Exclusivity in subject lines can convince readers to react; here are inspiring examples that convey exclusive access effectively:
- “For Your Eyes Only: Exclusive Insider Deals”
- “Limited Access: VIP Invite to Our Private Sale”
- “Exclusive Sneak Peek: Be the First to Shop Our New Collection”
- “Reserved Just for You: Unlock Your Exclusive Offer Now”
- “Members Only: Here’s Your Exclusive Discount.”
- “Secret Sale Alert: Exclusive Savings Inside — Don’t Miss Out!”
- “Exclusive Preview: Get Early Access to Our Black Friday Deals”
- “By Invitation Only: Join Us for an Exclusive Event”
- “For Our VIP Customers Only: Special Rewards Inside”
- “Exclusive Content: Unlock Insider Tips from Industry Experts”
- “Limited Availability: Grab Your Spot in Our Exclusive Webinar”
- “Exclusive Gift for You: Open to Reveal Your Special Surprise…”
Pro Tip: If you can personalize the subject line, it can have an even greater impression on your recipients!
Promotional Subject Lines: Be Direct
Promotional emails are a cornerstone of email marketing due to their ability to communicate value and incentives to recipients directly. And good promotional emails should be upfront with their subject lines.
Here’s why you need to write effective promotional subject lines:
|How to Accomplish It
|Promotional subject lines cut straight to the point, clearly outlining the benefit or offer recipients can expect from opening the email.
|By highlighting promotions, discounts, or special offers, these subject lines incentivize recipients to open the email and take advantage of the opportunity presented.
|Promotional subject lines often include time-sensitive language or limited-time offers, creating a sense of urgency that encourages immediate action.
|Drives sales and conversions
|The direct and compelling nature of promotional subject lines can lead to increased click-through rates and conversions, driving revenue for the business.
Mentioning your promotion in the subject line often prompts recipients to open your email for additional details. Find a balance between enticing readers and creating suspense.
Promotional subject lines should be compelling, like in these 10 examples:
- “Limited Time Offer: 50% Off Your Next Purchase”
- “Don’t Miss Out — Save Big 💰💰💰with Our End-of-Season Clearance Sale”
- “Flash Sale Alert: Today Only, Get 40% Off These Popular Products”
- “Unlock Exclusive Savings: Enjoy Free Shipping 🚢On These Electronics”
- “Last Chance to Save: Extra 20% Off Clearance Items”
- “Special Deal Inside 🥳: Buy One, Get One Free — Today Only”
- “Early Bird Discount on New Arrivals”
- “Hurry: Limited Inventory Available — Shop Your Favorites Now”
- “Get Rewarded: Earn Double Points on Every Purchase”
- “Exclusive Offer for Subscribers: 30% Off Your Next Order”
These subject lines effectively communicate the value proposition and incentive for recipients to engage with the email, ultimately driving sales and fostering customer loyalty.
Make Your Subject Line a Question
Using questions in your subject lines captures recipients’ attention, sparks curiosity, and encourages engagement with the email content. When asked an interesting question, a subscriber would love to know the answer with a quick click to open the email body. Using questions can have numerous positive effects besides open rates.
Other benefits include:
|What They Do
|How They Do It
|Questions naturally engage recipients by prompting them to consider an answer or solution, increasing the likelihood of them opening the email to find out more.
|Questions can be relatable for customers, and create curiosity and intrigue. They can compel recipients to open the email to discover the answer or explore the content inside.
|You can tailor questions to address recipients’ needs, preferences, or pain points, making the email feel more relevant and personalized to their interests.
|Questions that address common challenges or problems faced by recipients position the email as a valuable resource offering solutions or insights.
|Questions implicitly encourage action by prompting recipients to engage with the email content, whether it’s to find an answer, learn more, or take advantage of an offer.
If you frame your question well, it can have a powerful effect on your open rates. Avoid tropes, though!
Let’s review examples of question-based subject lines that compel users to open emails:
- “Ready to Upgrade Your Wardrobe?”
- “Looking for the Perfect Gift?”
- “Tired of Wasting Time on Cleaning 🧹?”
- “Want to Save Money on Your Energy Bills?”
- “Struggling to Find Your Perfect Workout Routine 💪?”
- “Dreaming of Your Next Vacation 🌴☀️🕶️?”
- “Wondering How to Boost Your Productivity?”
- “Need Help Planning Your Next Event?”
- “Frustrated with Your Current Haircare Routine?”
- “Curious About Our New Menu?”
It’s a good idea to step into the shoes of your subscribers and ask yourself what they want from you. Once you have the answer, use the question as bait in the subject line!
Propose Value In the Subject Line
Using subject lines that get right down to business and describe the value proposition of an email can have great open rates. Such subject lines instantly communicate the benefit or value recipients can expect from opening the email, reducing ambiguity.
For example, if you run a design website and want to give away 50 of your top templates to your subscribers, it makes sense to mention it in the subject line. Another example would be an ebook that you know your subscribers will love — mention it right away. If you’re using a lead magnet, state how amazing it is in the subject line itself, and see your engagement rates go through the roof!
In fact, there are numerous ways to maximize the effectiveness of your lead magnets. When done right, they can attract a huge number of signups, plus they’re way more cost-effective than most lead generation methods.
If you want to see your lead magnets reel in 8X the signups you’ve seen before, then the Lead Magnet Multiplier course can help you do just that. This program is 100% free and consists of 4 training videos that get right down to business and teach you the strategies and secrets to hit the sweet spot with your subscribers.
Sign up for the Lead Magnet Multiplier course today! And note that you can’t just register, watch one video, and then disappear — to retain access, you must finish the course in seven days, or you will be cut off and will have to register again.
Let’s now look at examples of subject lines that offer value right off the bat.
Want your subject line to get right down to business? These examples show you how:
- “Get Fit and Save: Enjoy 30% Off Fitness Gear 🏋️♂️Today”
- “Upgrade Your Skincare Routine: Free Gift with Every Purchase”
- “Learn the Secrets to Successful Investing: Join Our Webinar Today”
- “Maximize Productivity: Get Your Free Time Management Guide Inside”
- “Simplify Tax Season: Download Your Free Tax Prep Checklist Now”
- “Struggling to Design Web Pages? Here are 100 Free Templates for Inspiration”
- “Claim Your Spot in Our Free Online Course: ‘Introduction to Digital Photography’ 📸”
- “Don’t Miss Out — Get Your Free Whitepaper on The Future of AI”
- “What’s New with Copywriting: Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter for Daily Industry News”
- “Top Ten Reasons Shopify Stores Shut Down and How to Avoid Them”
While these subject lines are easy enough to write, word them correctly to have maximum impact. For example, “free ebook” will never have the same impact as “This Little Guide Will Boost Your Sales by 50%.”
Keep It Mysterious
Curiosity-inducing subject lines are a powerful strategy in email marketing for several compelling reasons. They work by tapping into recipients’ natural inquisitiveness, compelling them to open the email to satisfy their desire to know more.
These subject lines create intrigue and anticipation, making the email stand out in crowded inboxes. By teasing the content without revealing too much, mysterious subject lines entice recipients to engage with the email and explore the offered value. Additionally, they can foster a sense of excitement and anticipation, driving higher engagement levels.
Good examples of mysterious subject lines include:
- “You Won’t Believe What We Have in Store for You…”
- “Discover the Secret to Effortless Productivity Inside”
- “Here is the Next Big Thing in AI”
- “Find Out How to Multiply Profits with Our Exclusive Guide…”
- “Our Latest Survey Revealed Shocking Results 😱”
- “What’s Inside Will Surprise You”
- “Unlock a Mystery 🔍: Your Special Offer Awaits”
- “Ready to Explore Something Exciting?”
- “223 of 223 Participants Loved Our New Moisturizer. Now You Get a Sneak Peek.”
- “Don’t Open This Email Unless You’re Ready for a Game-Changer 🔥”
- “Want to Know What the Future of Quantum Computing Looks Like?”
These subject lines leverage curiosity to captivate recipients’ attention and encourage them to open the email to discover what lies inside.
Subject Lines for Cart Abandonment Emails
Maximizing subject lines in cart abandonment emails is crucial for re-engaging potential customers and encouraging them to complete their purchases.
Here’s how to make the most of subject lines in these emails:
- Personalization: Use the recipient’s name or reference the abandoned items to make the email feel tailored to their shopping experience.
- Urgency: Create a sense of urgency by highlighting limited stock or limited-time offers to motivate recipients to act quickly.
- Incentives: Offer discounts, free shipping, or other incentives to sweeten the deal and encourage recipients to revisit their abandoned carts.
- Clear CTA: Clearly state the action you want recipients to take, whether it’s completing their purchase, returning to their cart, or exploring similar items.
- Reassurance: Address any concerns or hesitations the recipient may have had about completing their purchase and provide reassurance or additional information.
- Value proposition: Highlight the benefits of the products left in the cart or emphasize the value of completing the purchase.
If you’re looking for inspiration to craft cart abandonment subject lines, these examples will help:
- “Oops! Looks Like You Forgot Something… 🛒”
- “Complete Your Purchase Now for 10% Off”
- “Your Items Are Waiting ⌛— Don’t Let Them Slip Away”
- “Hurry — Limited Stock on Your Favorite Items”
- “Still Thinking About It? Here’s 15% Off To Help You Decide”
- “Last Chance to Snag These Must-Have Items!”
- “We Saved Your Cart — Come Back and Finish Your Order”
- “Get 🚛Free Shipping 🚛on Your Abandoned Items!”
- “Don’t Miss Out! Your Cart is Full of Goodies”
- “Act Fast — Your Items are Selling Out”
- “Ready to Make Your Wishlist a Reality?”
Social Proof in Subject Lines Works Really Well!
Using customer testimonials and social proof in subject lines of marketing emails establishes trust, credibility, and authenticity with recipients.
Let’s review why it’s important:
|Customer testimonials validate the credibility of your products or services, reassuring recipients that others have had positive experiences.
|Seeing testimonials from real customers makes your brand more relatable and relevant to recipients, fostering a sense of connection.
|Social proof helps mitigate the perceived risk of purchasing a product or service, making recipients more confident in their decision to engage with your brand.
|Testimonials and social proof can influence recipients’ purchase decisions by providing evidence of the benefits and value of your offerings.
Sharing testimonials in subject lines appeals to prospects who are on the fence about doing business with you and can often tip the situation in your favor.
Note how the social proof in the examples below makes them more appealing:
- “Discover Why Sarah from New York Can’t Stop Raving About Our Skincare Products”
- “John Loves Our New Fitness App; Hear His Story Inside”
- “Thoughts From Thousands of Happy Customers Who Love Our Meal Delivery Service”
- “Real Stories, Real Results: Hear How Emily Lost 20 Pounds on Our Green 🥗Plan”
- “Experience the Difference: Testimonials from Satisfied Customers Who Found Their Dream Home with Us”
- “Don’t Just Take Our Word for It — Hear from Samantha Why Our Cleaning Service Is the Best”
- “Find Out Why David Calls Us His Go-To Source for Tech Gadgets 💻📲”
- “Success Stories: Hear from Lisa How Our Financial Planning Services Transformed Her Life”
- “The Proof is in the Praise: See What Our Clients Are Saying About Our Legal Services”
- “Get Inspired: Read How Michael Achieved Financial Freedom with Our Investment Plans”
- “Maria Trusts Us for Delicious 🌱Vegan 🌱Recipes — This is Her Story”
- “Read Reviews from Our Thrilled Customers — You’ll Be Impressed by What Jenny Has to Say”
- “See Why Our Customers Keep Coming Back for More”
- “Customer Success Stories: Real-Life Experiences of How Our Online Courses Changed Lives”
- “Hear Directly from Tom How Our Mortgage Services Made Home Buying Easy”
- “Darla LOVES our X431 3D Printer. Let’s Hear Her Tell Us How it Transformed Her Business.”
Writing Newsletter Subject Lines
Writing subject lines for newsletter emails is a little different from writing regular subject lines — you have to express authority, offer value, and summarize all together. The success of a newsletter hinges on its open rate, and the subject line plays a crucial role in determining whether recipients will open the email or not.
Let’s break down why you should be investing more time in writing excellent subject lines for newsletters:
|Why You Should Do It
|Your subject lines reflect your brand voice and personality. Consistently writing good subject lines reinforces your expertise and helps build trust and credibility with your subscribers.
|Engaging subject lines keep your subscribers interested and eager to receive your newsletters regularly. Plus, if your subscribers find your newsletters valuable, they may be more likely to share them with others.
|A good subject line clearly communicates the content or value of your newsletter. It sets expectations for your subscribers and helps them understand why they should open and read your email.
|Your subject line can have a great first impression on your readers. They signed up to your list for a reason — ensure you offer value in every newsletter and that the subject line conveys it.
Ensure you combine the pointers above with your personal style/brand guide because your recipients signed up for content that is authentically you!
These subject lines are ideal examples of how to title your newsletters:
- “This Week’s Recap: Uncover the Top 5 Tech Innovations of 2023”
- “Your Monthly Footwear Style Guide is Here 👞👡👢👟”
- “Insider Insights: Dive into the Latest Research on Sustainable Living”
- “New Releases Alert: Discover the Hottest Books of the Season”
- “In the Spotlight: Meet the 🙋🙋🏻♀️🙋🏿 Behind Your Favorite Clothes”
- “Health and Wellness: Your Guide to Boosting Immunity Naturally”
- “Explore Hidden Gems in Europe’s Best-Kept Secrets”
- “Learn How to Navigate the Stock Market 📈Like a Pro”
- “DIY Décor Tips to Transform Your Space”
- “Foodie Tales: Taste Test the Best Recipes from Around the World”
Custom Subject Lines for Email List Segments
Once you break up your email list into relevant segments, you can then write subject lines that appeal to each segment, boosting your open rates. Segment-specific subject lines highlight relevance to the recipients who receive them.
Examples of subject lines for specific segments include:
|“Tesla Staff Can Now Access Our Exclusive Workout Plan”
|“Just Bought a New 🏠Home? Discover the Latest Trends in Home Décor”
|“We Miss You! Here’s Something Special Just for You…”
|Customers who just completed a purchase
|“Thanks for Your Purchase! Enjoy 20% Off On Your Next Order”
|Leads who browsed travel packages for Paris on a travel website
|“Pack Your Bags: Explore Paris with Our Exclusive Deals”
|“Parenting Made Easy: Expert Tips and Tricks for Every Stage 👶”
|Over-spending credit card users
|“Tired of Crazy Credit Card Bills? Learn How to Save More and Spend Less”
|Leads who specifically read more AI articles on a tech website
|“Stay Ahead of the Curve: Explore the Latest Trends in AI”
|Website users interested in Mexican cuisine
|“Get Cooking: Mouthwatering Mexican Recipes Await”
|Men in a specific age group
|“Look Younger: Fashion Advice for Men Under 30👨💼”
By delivering targeted subject lines specific to segments of your audience, you also increase the likelihood of conversions.
Personalized Subject Lines
Personalized subject lines grab the recipient’s attention by addressing them directly or mentioning something specific to their interests or past interactions. This approach makes the email stand out in a crowded inbox and increases the likelihood of recipients opening it. Personalized emails are effective — and the process begins with the subject line.
Additionally, when recipients feel like the email content is tailored specifically to them, they are more likely to take the desired action, whether it’s signing up for an event or clicking through to read an article.
These subject line examples demonstrate how you can implement personalization:
- “Hey Tyler, Check Out Our New Arrivals”
- “We’ve Got a Special Offer Just for You, Tyler”
- “Welcome Back, Tyler! Here’s 15% Off Your Next Purchase.”
- “Your Exclusive Invite, Tyler: Join Us for a 👯VIP 👯Event”
- “A Gift for You, Tyler: Enjoy Free Shipping Today”
- “There’s a Sale at Our New York Store Next to You, Tyler! Don’t Miss Out”
- “Hello from Tesla, Tyler! We Thought You’d Love This…”
- “Hey Tyler, Here’s Your Personalized Spotify Playlist”
- “🎂Happy Birthday, Tyler🎂! Here’s a Special Discount Just for You.”
- “Ready to Upgrade, Tyler? Here’s How”
- “We Miss You, Tyler! Come Back and Enjoy 20% Off.”
- “Exclusive Access for Tyler: Be the First to See Our New Collection”
- “Hey Tyler, You Gave Our Arabica Coffee a 5-Star Review. Here are Mugs to Go With It”
- “Thanks for Using Our App, Tyler. Here are a Few Ways a Premium Membership Can Improve Your Experience”
Personalized subject lines also have a much higher rate of opens — 29.3% — than non-personalized subject lines.
Subject Lines to Re-Engage Subscribers
By targeting inactive subscribers with tailored content and incentives, you can prompt action, whether it’s encouraging a purchase, soliciting feedback, or inviting subscribers to update their preferences. Additionally, re-engagement campaigns help maintain a clean and engaged subscriber list, improving deliverability rates and minimizing the risk of emails being flagged as spam.
But, for this to work, you need to write a banger of a subject line.
Here are the characteristics of a good re-engagement subject line:
|What it Does
|Why It’s Good
|Start by acknowledging the recipient’s inactivity in a non-judgmental way. This shows empathy and understanding.
|Offer an incentive
|Provide a compelling reason for the recipient to re-engage with your brand, such as a discount or special offer.
|Remind the recipient of the value your brand provides and why they engaged with you in the first place.
|Invite the recipient to share their thoughts or experiences, showing that their opinion matters.
|Address the recipient by name or reference their past interactions to make the email feel more personal.
Re-engagement email subject lines: Characteristics
Crafting re-engagement email subject lines requires a delicate balance of empathy, urgency, and value proposition.
These examples should help you understand the above table better:
- “We Miss You 💔. Come Back for Exclusive Offers”
- “Haven’t Heard from You Lately… Here’s 15% Off to Welcome You Back”
- “It’s Been Too Long! Let’s Catch Up with a Special Surprise Inside”
- “Your Account Misses You! Click Here to Stay in the Loop ♾️”
- “We Want to Hear from You! Share Your Thoughts and Get Rewarded”
- “Are You Still Interested? Don’t Miss Out on What’s New”
- “We Noticed You’ve Been MIA… 😢”
- “Are You Unhappy With Us? We’d Love to Hear More”
- “Before You Go….”
- “You Haven’t Opened Our App in a While…”
There’s a lot more you can do with re-engagement subject lines, especially if you use industry-specific information to add further appeal.
Organizing an Event? Make it Your Subject Line
Announcing online events or location-specific events for subscribers is a good way to get them to open your emails. These subject lines aim to capture attention, generate excitement, and encourage recipients to RSVP or attend the event.
You can get subscribers interested in your event by writing subject lines like these:
- “Save the Date: Our 🎉Annual Charity Gala 🎉Returns on May 20th”
- “This Coachella, Catch John Legend and Alicia Keys”
- “Leadership Summit 2024: Empower Your Team and Transform Your Business”
- “Grand Opening Celebration: Join Us for Food, Fun, and Prizes This Friday”
- “Exciting News: Be the First to Experience Our New Product Line on June 5th”
- “Indulge Your Taste Buds: Culinary Festival Featuring Top Chefs, May 1st”
- “Business Mixer: Network with CEOs and Entrepreneurs, April 25th”
- “Tech Expo 2024: Explore the Latest Innovations in AI and Robotics 🤖”
- “Celebrate Our Anniversary: Enjoy Exclusive Deals and Giveaways, March 28th”
- “We Invite You to Test Drive a Tesla Model S 🚗 in Chicago This Week”
- “EXCLUSIVE: Workshop with Sam Altman on Advanced AI. Limited Tickets Available Now”
- “You’re Invited to the Anniversary Party at Our San Francisco Store”
- “We’re Having A Clearance Sale For Loyal Customers, and You’re Invited”
Events are exciting occurrences — ensure your subject lines convey that energy!
Holiday-Themed Subject Lines: Get Creative!
The holiday season is the perfect period to connect with your audience and share the festive spirit. Holidays evoke strong emotions and nostalgia in people; using holiday-themed subject lines can tap into these emotions, making recipients more likely to engage with the email.
People often look for ways to celebrate or participate in holiday-themed activities. Using holiday-themed subject lines makes your emails more relevant and timely to recipients.
These examples show you how to get your subject lines in a festive mood:
- “🎅Jingle All the Way: Get 20% Off Your Holiday Shopping”
- “Deck the Living Room: Our Holiday Collection Is Here”
- “Giving Thanks: Enjoy 20% Off Your Thanksgiving Feast 🍗”
- “Grateful for You: Our Thanksgiving Gift Inside”
- “🦃Turkey Day 🦃 Treats: Get Ready for Thanksgiving Savings”
- “Cheers to the Holidays: Enjoy Free Shipping on All Orders”
- “Warm Wishes and 🔥Hot Deals 🔥: Shop Our Holiday Clearance Event”
- “Tis the Season for Savings: Holiday Blowout Sale Starts Now”
- “Spread Joy and Savings: Save Big This Holiday Season”
- “🎅 Sent You an Early Gift”
- “Holiday Cheers: Unlock Your Special Gift Inside”
- “Season’s Greetings: Get in the Holiday Spirit with Our Festive Collection”
- “👻Spooky Savings Await: Get 31% Off Your Halloween Treats”
- “Trick or Treat Yourself: Unwrap a 🎃Halloween Surprise 🎃Inside”
- “Our Prices are Dropping Faster Than the Temperature 🌡️this Christmas”
- “Holiday Magic🪄: Discover Our Seasonal Surprises”
Remember — you can skip the offers and discounts and just share warm wishes, and your customers will appreciate that, too!
Industry-Specific Subject Lines: Keep it Relevant
Industry-specific subject lines in email marketing are highly effective because they directly target the interests, needs, and pain points of your specific audience. By addressing industry-specific challenges or trends in your emails, you also show recipients you understand their unique needs.
This table of examples demonstrates exactly what we’re talking about:
|“Legal Compliance Requirements Home Owners Should Be Aware Of”
|“Stay Ahead of the Curve: Discover the Latest Water Jet Tech Inside”
|“Here are the Tools Used by Top Futures and Options Traders”
|“Your Health Matters: How Natural Remedies are Booming Today”
|IT boot camp
|“Python Programming is the Future: Here’s Why You Need to Join Our Course Now”
|Digital/Social media marketing
|“Keep Up With Digital Marketing: Attend Our Free Webinar on Advanced Digital Marketing Techniques this Weekend”
|“Discover What the Latest Studies Say on Nutrition”
|“The Future of the Leather Industry is Challenging”
|Plastics manufacturing company
|“How the Polymer Industry is Transforming: A Peek at the Future”
|“Tectonic Shifts: How Boeing’s Blunders Affect the Aviation Industry”
The goal is to appeal to readers who want more than information on your specific products — they also want insight into your industry. With these emails, you can also establish yourself as an authority on the subject.
A Thank You Goes a Long Way
When recipients see a subject line expressing gratitude, it creates a positive and warm impression of you. This fosters a sense of appreciation and goodwill towards your brand, making recipients more inclined to open your email.
Such subject lines may also pique curiosity as recipients wonder what they are being thanked for — this curiosity motivates them to open the email to discover the reason behind the appreciation.
These examples use the “thank you” tactic cleverly:
- “Thank You for Being Awesome ♥️! Here’s $10 Off Your Next Purchase.”
- “A Big Thank You from Nike: Enjoy Free Shipping on Us”
- “We Appreciate You! Get 30% Off Your Favorite Shoes Today.”
- “Nothing Says Thank You like a Premium Membership; This is For Being a Loyal Customer”
- “Grateful for You! Here’s a $5 Starbucks Gift Card Just for You.”
- “Thanking You for Your Loyalty: Unlock a Free Upgrade on Your Subscription.”
- “You’re Amazing! Let Us Show Our Appreciation with a Complimentary Sample”
- “Thank You for Being Part of Our Journey — Enjoy this Buy One, Get One Free Offer.”
- “We Couldn’t Do It Without You. Here’s a VIP Pass to Our Denver Event.”
- “Sometimes, Words Aren’t Enough — We’d Like to Send You a Thank You Gift”
A “thank you” can make your reader feel warm and fuzzy; that’s always a good thing!
Examples from Our Inbox
We dug into our Gmail inbox to find some examples, and the Promos tab pulled up these gems.
The first email from Headspace uses a creative and product-themed subject line to share expertise with subscribers. It also adds context with the preheader.
The second email uses a mysterious subject line, but Indigo could have done a better job with the preview text.
The third email subject line is a prime example of urgency/FOMO — Unived, a supplements company, urges subscribers to apply for their athlete sponsorship program with an enticing subject line. The last email shows a subject line from an ongoing series of emails from Mint, which attracts opens by sharing a quiz.
The first subject line in this example shows us how a promotional subject line gets right down to business, and further creates urgency in the preview text. We also loved the email from Indigo in the email below it — the subject line creates an atmosphere and uses catchy copywriting to attract eyeballs.
Writing Subject Lines: 9 Tips to Remember
As you sit down to write subject lines for your next campaign, keep these pointers in mind:
- Be clear and specific: Clearly communicate the purpose or benefit of opening the email.
- Segment your audience: Tailor subject lines to different segments of your audience based on their interests, behavior, or demographics.
- Test variations: A/B test different subject lines to see which ones perform best with your audience.
- Use powerful words: Incorporate words that evoke emotion or action to compel recipients to open the email.
- Master FOMO language: Encourage recipients to act quickly by highlighting limited-time offers or deadlines.
- Don’t forget about mobile users: Ensure subject lines are concise and easy to read on mobile devices.
- Provide value: Communicate the value or benefit recipients will gain by opening the email.
- Avoid misleading language: Avoid using deceptive or misleading language that may erode trust with your audience.
- Stay true to your brand voice: Maintain consistency with your brand voice and tone to reinforce brand identity.
Remember to send subject lines to yourself or to a small survey group to evaluate how good (or bad) the impact is.
Tools to Help You Write Better Subject Lines
Given the importance of nailing your subject line, there are tools dedicated to helping you optimize them. Such tools aim to help you achieve better open rates and engagement.
Let’s take a look at what these tools can do:
- Subject line generators: These tools provide suggestions and ideas for crafting effective subject lines based on keywords, themes, or target audience demographics. They often analyze your content and provide recommendations to make your subject lines more compelling and relevant. One example would be Copy.AI.
- Spam checkers: Spam score checkers analyze your subject lines to assess the likelihood of your emails being flagged as spam. They evaluate factors such as word choice, punctuation, and formatting to help you avoid common spam triggers and improve deliverability.
- Testing tools: A/B testing tools allow you to test different variations of subject lines to determine which ones perform best with your audience. You can test factors such as wording, length, personalization, and emoji usage to identify the most effective subject lines for driving opens and engagement.
If you find yourself struggling to write good subject lines, you can just find inspiration in the examples we’ve listed above — we’ve covered every aspect of subject lines, so it’s a great place to start!
Avoid These Mistakes!
We’re confident you’re excited to get started on writing powerful subject lines — so we’d like to offer a list of mistakes we’ve noticed marketers make repeatedly, so you can avoid them.
Avoid these 8 common errors when writing subject lines:
- Being too vague: Subject lines should clearly communicate the content or purpose of the email. Avoid being overly vague or cryptic, as this can confuse recipients and reduce open rates.
- Too many words: Subject lines should be concise and to the point. Avoid lengthy subject lines that get cut off or lose impact on mobile devices or in crowded inboxes.
- Spammy language: Avoid using spammy language or tactics in your subject lines, such as excessive punctuation, all caps, or misleading claims. This can trigger spam filters and damage your sender reputation.
- Ignoring mobile formatting: With the majority of emails now being opened on mobile devices, it’s essential to ensure you optimize subject lines for mobile. Avoid using long or overly complex subject lines.
- Not testing variations: Avoid skipping this step and instead test different variations to optimize performance.
- Lack of focus: Avoid subject lines that are solely focused on your company or product and instead highlight what’s in it for the recipient.
- Overuse of emojis: While emojis can add visual interest to subject lines, overusing them can come across as unprofessional or gimmicky.
- Not analyzing performance metrics: Tracking the performance of your subject lines is crucial for optimizing future campaigns.
This list, combined with the tips we shared, will ensure your subject lines are the best they can be!
Subject Lines Only Work If You Reach the Inbox
Crafting an excellent email is something that takes years to perfect — there are so many things you can get wrong, the industry is always changing, mailbox providers constantly implement new requirements, and fighting spam filters is an issue even if you’ve never sent a line of spam in your life.
Given these challenges, how do email veterans inbox so consistently? How is it that their emails rarely get marked as spam and their engagement rates are so impressive?
This is thanks to knowledge earned after years of sending emails.
At Campaign Refinery, we feel that there’s no need for newer email professionals to face the same uphill tasks or repeat the same mistakes — this is where The Inbox Formula changes the game for you.
This guidebook lists all the best practices you will need to learn to massively improve your deliverability rates. As our deliverability rates are the best in the business, we know exactly what we’re talking about — and we’d like to share all this knowledge with you, for FREE. From technical tips to list strategies to IP and domain management, this book covers all the topics email professionals should know about to understand the nuances of elite email performance.
And you can download The Inbox Formula today and get started on your own inboxing journey!