10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

by | Dec 11, 2020 | Marketing, Public Relations

Irrespective of what people say, recipients do judge emails based on their subject lines, be it follow-up emails, holiday emails, or any other kind of email. That explains why 47 percent of marketers test different subject lines to augment their email marketing efforts.

It is crucial to craft compelling subject lines that urge people to click through.

Do you want your emails to get clicked, opened, and read? A compelling subject line can be a stepping stone towards better email performance rates. Let’s explore your options.

While there are many PR and marketing tips for welcome emails that you can leverage, a well-rounded email subject line tops the chart.

A well-rounded email subject line is not a small feat. Here we have compiled various examples and best practices that can help you get started with a creative subject line—which will ultimately skyrocket your email open and response rates in no time.

Let’s look at some fantastic real-world email templates and subject lines that can help you create your customized email subject lines in the best way possible.

Event-based openers

As the name implies, event based email subject lines notify the recipients about the details of an upcoming event. It’s important to make sure that the participants are aware of such an event, and are equipped with the details of what they will experience once they sign up to attend.

Event invitation emails can significantly contribute to the success of your event—helping you inform and market your event to your target audience.

Subject line: “Just announced… Aaron Draplin at MU 2017!”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Really Good Emails

The Marketing United example uses the email subject line to showcase the expert speaker. It’s an information email subject line that gives event-related information to the recipient. It presents an excellent opportunity for the event organizers to let the subscribers know what they can expect.

Also, when you craft a new perfect subject line, make sure your grammar is perfect and the tone of voice is conveyed in the right way. Typos or inappropriate content can dramatically impact your open rates.

Subject line: “Invest in Yourself. See You In May!”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Really Good Emails

This email subject line is an emotional appeal to raise funds for their charity event. Naturally, this approach doesn’t work for every brand but can act as a useful tool in a few cases like the one above. Subject lines based on an emotional appeal get you high open and response rates.

Get controversial

Controversy sells, and more importantly, it grabs the reader’s attention. Using controversy, insult or shock in your email subject lines require you to tread quite carefully. This strategy demands you to be sure about your audience’s perception and taste. Controversial email openers are quite a bit of a gamble. However, its pay-off can be great and worth the risk.

Subject line: “Some Practical Thoughts On Suicide”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Sumo

Anything too touchy or controversial can get ugly in no time. So why are controversial subject lines so powerful? When brands execute it strategically, a controversial email subject line can be intriguing and unique.

Most businesses don’t even consider sending an email about anything controversial. But Tim Ferriss has never played safe.

The example of this controversial subject line is grim, but Tim Ferriss’s audience knows his articles, videos, and books are well distinctive. Tim’s dedicated followers are always up for his unexpected emails.

Tim has a record of coming up with the fascinating and the weirdest, which is an “instant-open” for his followers.

Subject line: “Only Open If You’re Willing To Question Your Beliefs”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Sumo

Even if you don’t want to open the email with a subject line that suggests “only open if you’re willing to,” you are at least willing to consider opening it subconsciously.

This is because this kind of subject line puts you in a susceptible state that entices you to read the body of the email as you think it may probably alter your beliefs in some way or make it question in some way.

At first glance, Ramit Sethi, psychology and entrepreneurship guru, carefully crafted this subject line: Strange? No?

Ramit had an idea of what he was doing. If you have a susceptible mindset, you will most likely read his emails and his smartly crafted story. While you might not take a significant turn but somewhere at the end of the story, you are probably at least thinking of questioning your beliefs.

Pique curiosity

Curiosity driven email subject lines trigger the reader’s inquisitiveness to open an email and see what it includes. Such email subject lines create gaps in the recipient’s knowledge as it gives an incomplete piece of information and guarantees the readers closure if they read through the email.

While this approach is a great way to provoke the recipients and boost open rates, it is imperative to ensure that you deliver the promise you made through the body of an email and bridge the information gap in an effective way.

If you’re not seeing the results you’re expecting, also, check out if you’re sending your emails at the best time.

Subject line: “Can I Call You Tomorrow?”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Sumo

This subject line may not be appropriate for you as its effectiveness mainly subject to whom it’s coming from.

But notice the lowercase letters and the casual tone make this email subject line look like a personal email.

Why do these kinds of emails work? To understand this, consider your behavior with respect to emails. When you check your inbox, how do you go about checking your emails? Chances are, first, you scan through all the emails to read their subject lines and then decide on which ones to delete and archive.

The above email subject line example intrigues you and makes you think why the sender wants to call you in the first place and what he couldn’t mention in writing on email. These aspects naturally make you curious, and you can’t resist opening the email and seeing what information it has.

Subject line: “For Your Eyes Only”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Sleeknote

Such subject lines open informationgaps.And when you experience a gap between what you know and what you would like to know, curiosity drives the need to bridge the gap between the new knowledge.

The above subject line example by Chairish, “for your eyes only” – you know the email isn’t just for you, but a specific segment must have received this email, including you.

Despite that, you have an urge to open the email and see what information it has. These curiosity-driven email subject lines always carry the primary matter in the body of an email.

Be concise

Brief, concise, and clear email subject lines always entice the recipient to open the email and read on. Such subject lines are also easy to understand and keeping them short ensures that it doesn’t get cut off.

Almost 75 percent of people check their emails on smartphones, so a long subject line can get cropped. If you aren’t brief enough with your subject lines, chances are you may lose the interest of the prospect and end up in the trash folder!

Subject line: “How Can We Help You?”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: designmodo

Designmodo is a newsletter and a website creation platform. One of the reasons this is among the best email subject lines is because it is sweet and concise. It didn’t overdo and squeezed in all the newsletter related details in the email but kept it precise and to the point.

According to Backlinko, an email subject line that does not exceed 16 characters have relatively higher open rates.

The above subject line of Designmodo provides value and persuades the recipient that the email consists of something they want. They are offering help to their subscribers and reminding them they are around.

Subject line: “Don’t Miss The Summer Sale!”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Moosend

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real. This makes customers think that they don’t need to miss out on things and enjoy it like everybody else.

Diesel‘s email subject line example above revolves around the innate human need. It has created a short and strong subject line that entices the customers to take any action before they miss out on something.

It’s an effective way to remind your followers about upcoming and ongoing sales and emoji usage, making it even more difficult to miss the email.

Personalize for maximum impact

Personalization techniques refer to the incorporation of personal details in email subject lines to imply importance and exclusivity to the recipient. It works because people prefer tailored experiences, and a customized email addresses them in particular.

Just a little thought to create a personalized email subject line goes a long way.

Subject line: “Items In Your Wishlist Are On Sale”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Sleeknote

Personalized email subject lines are the most effective ones, especially when they’re timely and unexpected.

And The Iconic Shop knows this better than anybody else.

During a Black Friday promotion, the Australian brand differentiated itself so that it avoided mentioning the Black Friday.

Instead, it decided on the subject line, “items in your wish list are on sale,” and personalize their email subject line according to each recipient. This turned their emails into a welcome guest instead of an annoying pest.

Of course, this is an ecommerce example but you can apply the idea of personalizing your subject line to your PR pitches as well. For example, you can segment your audience and adjust the subject line based on patterns within these segments.

Subject line: “Because We Love You, Emma: Extra 25% Off!”

10 great email subject lines for your marketing outreach

Source: Emma

When it comes to your readers, personalization is paramount to get the desired response from customers. When they realize that a brand actually remembers them and don’t just consider them as another name in the subscriber list, customers appreciate that.

So, personalized lines go a long way for the brand and the customer alike. The above-personalized email subject line example from Lord & Taylor has customized the recipient’s name to give it the feel of an interaction between a brand and a customer.

Best practices to create great email subject lines

Now that we have covered some of the best examples of different kinds of email subject lines and why they work, it’s time to look at the essential elements that help you create a great email subject line. (If you’re looking for further examples, check out this database of great email templates.)

Here are some of the best practices to enhance your email subject lines:

  • Appeal to your readers’ inquisitiveness

The curiosity-driven email subject lines propel the readers to open the message as it has something that they can benefit from. It creates a sense of mystery and piques the recipient’s interest and curiosity to get more information, which ultimately makes them open the email. But ensure that the subject line aligns with your brand, and you don’t miss on the relevancy part.

  • Personalize the subject lines 

Naturally, no two of your customers are the same by any means. They expect different from brands too. It is imperative to ensure that the emails that you send them are according to that specific subscribers’ jobs, interests, preferences, etc. Simultaneously, the email content must cater to an individual’s likes and dislikes and should be customized.

  • Create a sense of urgency

When an email subject line depicts scarcity and urgency, it automatically pushes the customers to action, and the readers are compelled to act or click. When executed strategically, an email subject line that showcases urgency actually initiates an immediate action.

The best practices for subject lines are the same ones you use while building a profitable blog.  Copywriting principles work whether in email subject lines, blog posts, sales pages, or wherever else it’s required to connect readers with a brand.

If you’re having a hard time picking the right idea for a subject line, use some of the available subject line testers out there to rate your subject lines.

Wrapping up

The subject lines related examples and guide may have provided you with adequate information to get started on your email subject lines that can help you boost your email open rates and marketing efforts altogether.

The 10 great email subject lines that we shared can increase click-through rates, higher conversions, and ultimately increased transactions (revenue).

What are some of the most effective and successful email subject lines you have used, and how successful were they in getting you the results you needed?

Max Benz
Max Benz is a marketing manager at Filestage and loves creating actionable content that really makes a difference. On the side, he’s running his own blog, Let’s be crazy.


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