Your email subject line is the first thing recipients see in an email. Before even opening and reading the rest of your message. People usually skim email subject lines in their inbox before either opening a message, skipping it, or even deleting it.
Therefore, your email subject line can be the difference between making a good first impression and not making an impression at all.
Best subject lines by category
The impression you make is just the first step. Essentially, your goal with your subject line is to get more people to open your email so that more people see the content of your email and hopefully convert.
One of the ways businesses try and optimize their open rates is by testing different types of subject lines to see what works best.
A funny subject line might work well for one brand but falls completely flat with another, so there’s no one-size-fits-all subject line that works for every occasion.
Still, it’s important to have an arsenal of various subject lines at your disposal. Here, we’ll go over some of the best email subject lines for nearly every kind of email so that you can get a good overview of subject lines that have had success.
Why Are Email Subject Lines So Important?
Around 35% of recipients will open an email based solely on the subject line. That statistic alone should show you the importance of a good subject line.
A good subject line can spell the difference between your email being opened or even being marked as spam, so it’s crucial to your campaign that you nail your subject line.
Imagine, all the hard work you’ve gone into creating a strong email campaign, complete with discount codes, branded graphics, personalized content, and hand-picked promotions, all get thrown into a recipient’s trash folder simply because your subject line didn’t strike the right tone.
Of course, this is bound to happen occasionally to some of your emails. However, you should be learning from what worked and what didn’t to improve your subject lines, since if they continue to miss the mark, you risk recipients never opening your emails and unsubscribing.
11 Essential Tips for Writing Email Subject Lines with High Open Rates
Clearly, you don’t want your subject lines to deter people away from interacting with your email, but how do you grab their attention enough to click on your email? There are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re crafting new subject lines.
Using these tips, you’ll be able to craft subject lines that are a lot more impactful when they land in your customers’ inboxes.
1. Personalization is the key
Personalized marketing is the key to success and that goes for email marketing as well. is one of the most effective strategies for email marketing success. So, work on personalizing your emails to give them a more human touch and ultimately accelerate your conversion rate.
You can do this by including the recipient’s first name in the email. Do you know emails, where a customer’s first name is mentioned, have higher click-through rates than those which don’t? It’s a great way of giving value to customers. In addition, you can even personalize the subject line by keeping close track of your customer’s interests, location, birthdays, etc.
2. Remove spam words
There are certain words like “buy, “sale”, “deal” and many more that have been overused by marketers and spammers as well. These words at times can trigger the emotional quotient of people in a negative way.
They might associate it with a sense of loss, work, or obligation. So, in order to give a more human approach, try not to use such words in the subject line. Replace them with something creative and more fun. After all, it is always better to stand out from the crowd and be a little different from others.
3. Make use of the preheader text
Preheader text gives you the opportunity to grab the customers’ attention by giving them a sneak peek of what you are talking about in the subject line. Therefore, optimizing can help you hit the right chord at the right time. Have a look at the effective preheader text by Butlin’s.
4. Have a clear and precise approach
Keep your subject line simple, clear, and precise. Remember, people have a very short attention span these days. Therefore, you should summarize your subject line in 50 characters or less You can say the rest in the preheader text.
With 20.9% of people checking their email more than 5 times a day, all you need is an effective subject line to become a customer’s favorite brand. Do it the way Blurb does in just three words. Take a look:
5. Get mobile-friendly
With 35% of professionals checking their emails on their smartphones, it becomes imperative to optimize your email subject line for mobile devices. Further, any mobile device can only show the first 5-7 words of a subject line.
So, make sure you keep this in mind and create a subject line that delivers the exact message and is creative enough to catch a customer’s eyeballs. To put it in other words, it is the first two words of your subject line that should do the needful.
6. Ask enticing questions
People always look for answers. So, tap on that instinct by asking enticing questions in the subject line itself. It wouldn’t only help you create a more humanized personal level of communication with your customer but, would also intrigue them to open and click through your email to find the answers. See how UncommonGoods does it like a pro:
7. Highlight the benefits
Instead of featuring the benefits of your products or services in the email copy, highlight it in a short and crisp way through your subject line. It will deliver value to the customers and drive better conversions for your business. Here’s how Blurb does it in an effective way:
8. Instill a sense of urgency
Creating a sense of urgency in your email subject line can help you spark off the “FOMO” or fear of missing out among the subscribers.
This, in turn, will help you bring new customers on board while retaining the existing ones. Remember, people love offers, and combining them with a sense of urgency will serve as a cherry on the cake. Therefore, make sure your subject lines depict offers with phrases like “limited period offer”, “the deal ends today” etc. See how Gap Factory builds urgency through its subject line.
9. Keep it short and sweet.
It’s been shown that subject lines that are 60 characters or less do better than longer ones. Most email clients will only display the first 60 characters anyway, so this is a good number to keep in mind.
10. Run A/B tests.
You should be regularly running your subject lines through A/B testing to see which types of lines perform better.
11. Target keywords
Avoid fluff or generic words, and instead, research the best keywords to add to your subject line. You can also emphasize the important words by capitalizing them.
To get an idea of how to implement these tips in different types of email scenarios, let’s take a close look at some examples of the best email subject lines to use in order to increase open rates.
Sales Email Subject Lines
Whether you’re looking to convert new clients or promote a new product, your subject line makes the first impression, which is a determining factor in the success of any sale. Here are a few subject lines that work well for more sales-oriented emails.
- Today Only! Get X now before it’s gone…
- Introducing our latest [product/service/feature]
- Better make room in your closet for…
- 50% off on [product] – Ends Tomorrow!
- Is this the solution to [problem/pain point]?
- [Name], looks like it’s time to renew your subscription
- Hurry, this deal won’t last forever!
Cold Email Subject Line
If you’re cold-emailing, then you need to be a little more strategic since it’s less likely that a customer has signed up for your newsletter.
Since they’re not expecting emails from you, it’s really important that your subject line stands out among the rest of the emails they’re used to getting, especially if you don’t want your recipient to immediately mark your message as spam.
- Hey [Name], a question about your Q4 goals
- Hoping you can help me with something…
- Let me show you how to increase [recipient’s company]’s sales in 15 minutes
- Are you feeling [emotion or emoji]? Here’s how I can help
- [Mutual connection] suggested I get in touch
- Your competitor is outranking you. Here’s how to beat them.
Top Newsletter Subject Lines
When dealing with a newsletter, you have a few options. Your subject line can reference parts of your newsletter or keep it simple with a title that you reuse based on the month, season, or holiday. Here are a few examples of subject lines for newsletters:
- Your [month/season] update
- This week’s events in [location]
- Have you seen our latest blog post?
- 10 tips for increasing your conversion rate
- Only 5 spots left on our online course
Webinar Subject Lines
You put a lot of effort into organizing a webinar, it would be a shame if you didn’t maximize your attendance because of a less-than-stellar subject line. These subject lines will help you garner more interest and signups for your webinar:
- The webinar will have your network talking for days
- Get a one-on-one meeting with [webinar speaker]
- FREE WEBINAR on how to grow your social media following
- Don’t forget! The webinar starts in # hours
- Meet the speakers of this month’s webinar
- Get your VIP webinar tickets before they’re sold out!
Networking Email Subject Line
Sometimes, an email isn’t meant to sell or promote something, but it’s just an opportunity to connect with someone new and grow your network. In these cases, it’s not unusual to take a more personal approach to your email subject lines.
- It was a pleasure meeting you at [event]
- I hope you can help with…
- [Mutual connection] mentioned you’re an expert in…
- Interested in speaking about your [article/blog post/product]
- Would love to connect with another [job title] like you!
- Question about your presentation at [event]
B2B Email Subject Lines
Subject lines should be approached differently depending on who your email is intended for. You wouldn’t compose the same subject line, or email, for a business as you would if you were messaging a customer.
Therefore, it’s important to understand the different needs of each group in order to address them right away in the subject line.
A good way to craft B2B subject lines is to focus on how you can help businesses with solutions to their pain points. Here are a few examples:
- 5 ways [your company] can help you with [pain point]
- We improved [competitor]’s sales by 20 percent. Here’s how we can help you too.
- Here’s a special 🎁 just for you
- Do you want to improve [company name]’s ROI in just one month?
- By this time next year, you can save $X by using [your company]
- Here’s the secret on how we can help [company name] succeed
Email Subject Line Examples for Meeting Request
A meeting request email goes beyond a traditional networking email by asking for something actionable: a meeting.
It helps to make this request clear from the subject line so that the recipient knows it’s an important email. Here are a few subject lines you can use to get them to open your meeting request email:
- When is a good time to chat for 15 minutes about [pain point]?
- [Name], do you have time for a meeting this week?
- Let’s schedule a call to chat about [pain point]
- Meeting invitation for [company or person’s name]
- Let’s meet at [event] next week
Thank You Email Subject Line Examples
There are many reasons you might send a thank you email. You can send one after a purchase, after a meeting, or simply to thank someone for being your customer.
Whatever your reason is, you want to give your recipient a reason to read beyond a simple “thank you” subject line. The trick here is adding some more information aside from just a thank you to pique their curiosity. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Here’s our way of saying thank you for your purchase
- A little gift just to say thank you
- Thanks for signing up for our newsletter. Here’s your discount code.
- [Name/company name], thanks for this amazing year!
- A special surprise to say thank you
- Thanks for meeting with me, here are some other thoughts I had about [pain point]
Funny Email Subject Lines
A little humor could go a long way. Whether you opt for a “punny” opening line or you simply open a joke with the reveal inside the email, injecting humor into your subject lines can be a great way to increase open rates.
It doesn’t need to be laugh-out-loud funny either, there’s no need to be a comedian.
However, adding humor can simply make recipients more interested, and therefore more likely to open your email. Here are a few funny subject lines from popular brands so you can see real-world examples that have worked:
- Licking your phone never tasted so good (OpenTable)
- Witches be crazy, and so is this box! 🎃 (Beauty Box)
- This email is littered with options (Petco)
- Sure, you *could* send a fruit basket (Blue Apron)
- Pairs nicely with spreadsheets (Warby Parker)
- Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve) (Groupon)
- Can We Cut In? Top-Rated Knives up to 60% off (Sur La Table)
Reminder Email Subject Lines
Sometimes, one email isn’t enough. Depending on the subject, you might want to send one or more reminders or follow-up emails.
These follow-up emails can be to remind your recipient of a sale that’s ending soon, an upcoming meeting or event, or simply a reminder that you’re waiting for a reply to a previous email. Here are a few gentle ways you can use subject lines to remind recipients of something important:
- Last chance to get tickets to [event]!
- Looking forward to our meeting tomorrow at [location/event/time]
- Don’t forget! Our 50% off sale ends at midnight!
- The countdown to [sale/event/launch] is on! ⏳
- A reminder that your subscription ends on [date]
- [Name], have you had a chance to look at my last email?
Holiday Email Subject Lines
These days, it seems like there’s a holiday or dedicated day for everything. While this can seem overwhelming, it’s a great idea to bring up holidays in your subject lines.
Whether it’s a holiday sale or a promotional seasonal item, mention it in your subject line to encourage recipients to open your email. We won’t get into detail on every holiday, since there are many options, but here are a few examples of holiday subject lines you can use:
- 10 tips for [subject] this holiday season
- It’s snowing sales! Take 10% off your next purchase
- Are you ready to stuff yourself with savings? 🍗
- We’ve got sales you’ll be thankful for this year
- Winning gifts for everyone on your list 🎁
- Start your new year off right with 20% off
- The holidays might be over this year, but the sales are still going!
- Since we like you a latke, we’re giving you a discount
- 8 days of savings? Yes, please!
- We’ve got some ideas of gifts mom will love this Mother’s Day
Bottom Line on Your Subject Line
Don’t neglect your subject line. If you’ve already put tons of effort into your email marketing campaign, then focusing some effort on creating the best email subject lines can go a long way.
Whatever the subject or purpose is of your email, it’s always a good idea to take just a few moments to think about how to write a subject line that will ensure your email gets read.
Even if it’s just a quick email to a colleague to follow up on something, it can mean the difference between getting a response quickly and waiting a day or two for them to eventually get to your email.
The subject line might be the first impression you make in an email, but it’s not the only occasion you have to impress your recipients. If your subject line is the first impression, your signature is the final impression, so this can also have a significant impact on how your recipient views you and your brand.
Stand out by creating a custom signature, complete with links to your site, social networks, or even a promotional banner. With the right subject line, a strong email message, and a personalized signature, your email will be a campaign from start to finish.