Cut and dry
Table of contents
Controversial (just be careful with this one)
Email subject line best practices
- Test your subject lines. Write 3-5 subject lines for every email and then choose the best—or use A/B testing to pick winners Note that due to the iOS 15 update, declaring winners based on open rate may not be the best route.
- Keep it brief. Between 30 and 50 characters. According to a MailChimp study, emails with 50 characters or less have 12% higher email newsletter open rates, and 75% higher click-through rates than other emails.
- Avoid spam traps. Don’t use weird spacing, an excess amount of punctuation or caps, or special fonts and avoid spam trigger words like earn extra cash, make $, get out of debt, click here, 100% free, will not believe your eyes, and other clickbait terms.
- Personalize when possible: Not just by including their name, but information specific to their location, their purchase, interests, and more. You can use email automation with dynamic tokens for this.
- Use preheader text. This is like your subject line’s subtitle, where you can add more detail to increase the email’s appeal. Move the “view in browser” links and other mumbo-jumbo to the bottom of the email so you can make the most of the preview field.
There’s a lot to be said for minimalism. While creative marketing helps to distinguish your brand and connect with your audience, there are times when simple (presumably boring) and direct subject lines are best. Time is of the essence and your users want to know what’s what without having to think. Good email subject lines can be…
How to write great email subject lines
- Hook them immediately. Use interesting words, a compelling stat, a relatable phrase, or convey the value.
- Have fun with them. An ample amount of alliteration attracts! And rhyming. And song lyrics. And emojis. Those tiny little communication miracles of the metaverse.
- Write conversationally. Write like a human being. Even if your brand has a more serious tone, it’s still best to use a conversational style for readability and friendliness. For example, use contractions like “you’re” rather than “you are.”
- Call readers to action. It’s never a bad idea to try a call to action phrase in your email subject line. This makes it clear what your email is about and readers like that.
- Ask a question: Asking your readers a question, as opposed to a standard statement, immediately engages them. Questions enter an instant dialogue with users, making them more likely to be opened.
- Rough day?
- Are you making these X mistakes?
- Will you save 50%?
- Look at your own inbox. If you see great subject lines that you think will work for your business, snag’em! Tweak to your liking and adjust to your brand voice.
- Emphasize scarcity: We have a deep, inherent terror of being left behind, of missing out. That flock mentality was a survival instinct once, but now it’s just another way of adding urgency to our subject lines.
- Pay X for Y (48 hours only!)
- Ends today! 36-hours outlet sale. This is your last chance…
- 5 hours only!
- Use brackets and parentheses: These are a good way to call out important information without caps, or to organize lots of information.
- Use you/your. While name-calling is on the out, it’s still considered a best practice to use “you” and “your” wording to speak directly and comfortably with readers.
- Be specific. Even if you’re incorporating an element of mystery into your subject line, it should still give the reader some idea of what they can expect.
Sharing content via email can help drive traffic to your website and give exposure to content that your readers might not know to search for online. Remember, a great blog post title makes for a great subject line, so indicate the value of the content and quantify when possible to give the reader an idea of what to expect.
Catchy email subject lines
Inspired by current events
- Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local
- Why Your 5-Year-Old Is More Digital Than Most CMOs
- Pet Training Best Practices Need a Redo: Here’s Why
- Cat’s outta the bag! Surprise sale tomorrow—up to 50% off!
- It’s confirmed: Our prices are lower than the temperature outside—come on in!
- Pressure’s on: How much can you save this week?
- Wait what? Game-changing tips you’ll wish you knew sooner.
Lyrical (this is a big one)
- Marketing attribution: Tips & Types, Which One is Right?
- How’d we do? Help us help you?
- 2024 Ecommerce Trends: The Old & New, Tried & True
Call me biased, but LOCALiQ is holiday subject line heaven. It is also there that you will find a treasure trove of seasonal subject lines for every month of the year. Here’s the list:
- Join the Rover pack on social!
- Click click click BOOM dynamite.
- New arrivals! Seriously cool (warm) jackets.
- Last chance to score savings on game-time gear!
Engage your customers with customer appreciation emails, and not just on Customer Appreciation Day! (Changes annually, usually in April or May). You can send these emails whenever you want—on holidays, anniversaries or just because. Personalize these when you can, and do NOT use the words “valued customers.”
- Hmm no posts last week? [Tips if you’re stuck!]
- Madison, are you making these lawn care mistakes?
- 30 seconds to spare? [3-click survey!]
Welcome emails can welcome readers to your newsletter, customers to your business, students to your online course, and more. Regardless, your welcome email subject line should be cordial and exciting and give a hint of what they can expect—whether with your tone or with their subscription.
- LEAN STARTUP: Baby Got (Feed)Back – Putting the Lean in Learn
- Oops [figure in the news] did it again…
- Shine bright like a…[something unexpected here]?
- [Topic]: You. you. you. oughta. kno-ow.
A whopping 376 billion emails are sent every day. And yet sadly, a large percentage of them go unopened. Good, helpful emails that never even got a chance…
- [Trend] might be all the rate…but we’ve got something even better
- Kristen, take a break from [event] with [your product]
- [Event] ends [date] but our sale carries on!
- 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Y
Good email subject lines
It is possible to grow your business with cold emails—if you get them right. And the first step to getting them right? A good subject line. And this may be personal preference, but whenever I see a “quick question” subject line, I immediately delete it. Here are some alternatives.
- 10% Storewide – December 1-12
- Enjoy 15% off + Free shipping ✈️
- Get ready for Easter with [company]
- PODCAST: 5 Steps to Accelerate Career Growth
- [GUIDE]: Name of Guide
- Tax Tips Webinar Monday @1pm
Here are some general email subject line best practices to follow in your email marketing efforts.
- [Important news event]: What You Need to Know
- Our hours are changing! (Opening earlier ☀️)
- Your order has shipped. Yippee! 🤸🏾♂️
Cold email subject lines
- [Your company + their company]…2 minutes later today? 🕰
- Read your blog post on [topic]
- Tips to improve [company name]’s X
- Congrats on [latest achievement]!
- A [better/easier/faster] way to [goal]
- Resources for [company]…take or leave! (this is the BYAF concept)
- A new solution for [pain point] 😮
- [Achieving goal] is easier than ever now with [your company name]
- Your thoughts on [what you specialize in/the pain point you solve]?
- How do you compare to [competitor]? Touchy subject?
Content promotion email subject lines
Event emails should almost always come in a series: the invite email, the reminder, and the thank you/follow-up.
- How to Plan Your Move in an Hour or Less 🕑
- [Ebook] ⚡️ Speeding up the Development and Design of Websites ⚡️
- Steal our Marketing Hacks (Seriously!)
- 15 Business Card Templates Up for Grabs
- [FREE GUIDE]: Name of Guide
- Guide Inside! 8 Ways to [Achieve Benefit]
- How to Start a Business [Free Guide]
- 🙌 Finally—a cheat sheet to [topic]! 🙌🏾
- The last guide to [topic] you’ll ever need.
- Top Secret! 🤫 X Lesser-Known Ways to Improve Your [X]
- Name, X% of [compelling stat from or relevant to your content]
Customer appreciation subject lines
Have great subject lines but still having trouble with your email open rates? There may be other factors at play, such as:
- Free gift. No catch. Just because. ❤️
- Our way of saying thanks…
- Hi Kristen, enjoy this token 🏆 of our appreciation.
- Customer Appreciation Day calls for a celebration…
- Customers like you deserve freebies like these
- Thank you for X years together! 🎁
- Happy [business name]versary! Grab your discount
Hopefully we’ve given you the information you need to make email subject line eye candy. These tips should help with open rates, but retaining those readers? That’s up to you! (Just kidding, we’ve got a guide to email copywriting that will help 🙂
Event email subject lines
Review/survey email subject lines
- Do you have a minute (literally) to review us?
- Let’s be friends 🎈 Like & review us!
- Loving Smile Dental? Review us!
- How was your service at ZenSpa?
- How did we do? Help us help you.
- We want your feedback! All of it.
- Thanks for your review! 🙏🏿 🙏 🙏🏽
- You rock. Seriously. 🗿
- We SO appreciate your review!
- You reviewed us?! THANK YOU!
- Your review means the world! 🌎
- Your opinion matters: 3 minutes for your feedback
- Got 30 seconds? [5-click survey!]
- Got a minute? [Quick ⚡️poll so we can better serve you.]
- Feedback requested: How are you liking [business name]
Thank you email subject lines
- Thank you for choosing [business name].
- It was great to see you! Thanks for coming out
- Thanks for your purchase! Receipt (and a treat!) inside.
- We asked, you answered. THANK YOU!
- Your order is on the way! (Thanks so much for choosing us!)
- We got your payment. Thanks!
- Thanks for signing up. Now what?
- Your support means so much to us. Thank you!
- Thank you. Just, thanks.
- We couldn’t settle on the best way to say thank you…
…Unless you have an awesome subject line. These 40-character tidbits are the MVPs of email marketing—even more important than the email body. And with so many types of emails, there are many types of subject line styles that can increase your open rates. Read on for email subject line tips, templates, and real examples to get you started.
Welcome email subject lines
- Welcome to #branded hashtag
- Cheers for subscribing! 🍻
- Welcome to [business/newsletter name]! 3 steps to get started
- Hey [name], welcome to [business]!
- You made it! ✅ Complete your registration for [product] inside.
- Name, are you ready to meet the [business name] welcome wagon?
- Welcome to the club! Your coupon awaits…
- Welcome! Important info (and fun stuff too)
- Nice move! 😎 You’re now subscribed to [newsletter/product].
More ways to improve open rates
You might also be interested in writing a holiday customer greeting email.
- Is the email viewable? If your email doesn’t read well on a user’s device, they won’t bother trying to decipher it.
- Are you being a pest? If you’ve been emailing folks every day, they may be fed up with you and won’t be as likely to open your emails if you’ve been making yourself an annoyance.
- When did you send it? Many people don’t check their emails as often on the weekend. Check out our post on the best times to send an email newsletter.
- Quality of your email list. Is this a solid, targeted email list? If your list isn’t high-quality, it may reflect in your open rates. Follow our email list building tips to get the right readers.
- Is the “from” field a person? Oftentimes, an email coming from a person in your company feels more friendly and trustworthy than the company name.