Create the Finest Email Subject Lines with These Useful Tips

Experts estimate that there are about 4 billion active email accounts worldwide.

About 300 billion e-mails from businesses are sent to inbox every day. Do the math.

People receive about 75 business emails a day. And it only grows.

Do you have time to read 75 emails a day? Are you discovering so much?

How many messages just stay there day in and day out and are marked as read even though you haven’t even opened it?

Browsing your inbox like this is what you’re struggling with. This is why only the best email subject lines open.


Let’s look at 50 of the highest performing and best email subject line examples we’ve seen and why they work so well.


1) Appeal to People’s Need for Instant Gratification:

Whether it’s losing weight, saving for retirement, or hitting the first page of a search, people know there are no magic pills.

But, nevertheless, the idea that now you can have what you really don’t need attracts a lot of people.

University of Illinois professor Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., studies the scientific foundations of how people make choices.

He says “There is psychological discomfort associated with self-denial. From an evolutionary perspective, our instinct is to seize the reward at hand, and resisting this instinct is hard.”

A great subject line gives you instant fun.

Paying attention to this point as you explore examples of the best email subject lines in this article.

69% of email recipients mark the email as spam because of the subject line.

There is no magic wand theme that works every time for every audience.

There is often a fine line between a good email subject line with a higher open rate and what appears to be spam.

Understanding your audience and what spam metrics tell you will help you adapt to navigate this fine line.

Now let’s take a look at some of the best email topics that promise instant gratification.


Great Examples of Instant Gratification Subject Lines

  1. “How to email a busy person (including a word-for-word script)”– Ramit Sethi

A word-for-word script means they’ve done all the work for you.

  1. “Steal these email templates…”– Digital Marketer
  2. “We Need Your Help! Get $5 in Free Gas For Completing Our Survey”– Pacific54

They had a 46% open rate with this subject line.

  1. “Grow your email list 10X faster with these 30 content upgrade ideas”– Optinmonster
  2. “Your beauty issues, solved”– Sephora
  3. “Key Takeaways from SaaS Connect 2018”– Kiwi Creative

Busy people love when they can get the “Cliffs Notes” from an important webinar, seminar, or meeting.

This one earned Kiwi Creative a 60% open rate.


2) Generate a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Response:

FOMO is a relatively unexplored psychological phenomenon that causes a person to do something for fear of missing out on information, experience, or whatever others have.

It is this motivation that keeps many attached to their social media feed, just waiting for the next post when they are not working.

And sometimes when they are. Researchers are just starting to do case studies and are learning what drives this irresistible urge.

But from an email marketer’s perspective, FOMO has been around for a long time and is backed by analytics, A / B testing, and professional expertise.

The average person can’t help but click if they feel they might be missing something.


Examples of FOMO Subject Lines

Using FOMO requires a delicate balance.

Because marketers have been using it perhaps since the invention of the printing press, it can feel “played out.”

Explore new and different ways to generate a FOMO.

  1. “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring”– Warby Parker

Warby Parker is an online prescription eyeglasses company. Whether they know if your prescription is expiring or not, this is a very FOMO line.

  1. “Happy Birthday Lindsay – Surprise Inside!”– Rent the Runway

The fact that it’s Lindsay’s birthday makes this not only feel exclusive. It also feels like whatever the offer is, it’s only good today.

  1. “Hey”– Barack Obama

This one probably only works if you’re the President of the United States or a high-profile celebrity. But it’s definitely a FOMO subject line in that context.

  1. “You’re missing out on points.” – Jet Blue

For people who are trying to build up travel miles, this is the worst thing they can hear.

They want to know how to fix it ASAP. They do that by opening the email when they see the best email subject lines like this one.

  1. “The timer’s going off on your cart!”– King Arthur Flour


3) Evoke Curiosity:

People are very curious creatures. Curiosity and FOMO often overlap.

But not always. There is completely different psychology behind them.

This is how the respected professor of psychology and economics, George Loewenstein, explains curiosity.

It is a feeling of mental deprivation caused by a feeling of lack of understanding.

Deprivation is a powerful word. But it is very well located. When a person is curious about something, he feels that there is a void that needs to be filled.

As if they hadn’t eaten for a week. And you only offered them a hamburger.

It’s a constant pursuit of knowledge that encourages people to click on the best email subject lines while leaving the rest of their inbox unaddressed.


Great examples of Curiosity Subject Lines

Curiosity is a very personal thing. What makes one person very curious will keep the other person scrolling.

Know your audience. Know what they are curious about and you will create the most stunning and engaging email subject lines.

Here are some companies who do curiosity very well.

  1. “Not Cool, Guys”– Buzzfeed

We want to know what the “guys” did. Don’t you?

  1. “DO NOT Commit These Instagram Atrocities”– Thrillest

Be careful with all caps. This was just enough to get attention without feeling like screaming or spam.

  1. “Buffer has been hacked – here is what’s going on”– Buffer

Yes, they really sent this email when they got hacked. It allowed them to be the first to inform people about the event. They could control the conversation around it because they were proactive. And they used this exceptional curiosity-evoking subject line.

  1. “Last Day To See What This Mystery Email Is All About”– Grubhub
  2. “A faster donkey”The Hustle

Who wouldn’t want to know what The Hustle is talking about?



4) Craft Humorous Subject Lines:

World renowned author, psychologist and inventor of psychoanalysis.

Sigmund Freud believed that humor is one of the few ways in which you can directly connect to the subconscious of a person.

It dissolves mental blocks, defense mechanisms, and logical thinking that can prevent a person from connecting with another.

If you can just make a person laugh, you just deserve a minute of their time.

Over the years, people have created barriers to marketing strategies, including email marketing campaigns.

Some people see the subject line of the FOMO message and promotional emails coming a mile away.

They do not click on these e-newsletters or messages. He knows what you’re trying to do.

People with such strong anti-marketing barriers react differently to humor.


Great examples of Humorous Subject Lines.

Of course, the question here is that what a person finds “ha ha” funny can be found by someone else with bad taste or even offensive.

You need to consider your audience and find out what works with them.

Through this, you can develop the best email subject lines.

Some of the best funny email subject lines we’ve seen include:

  1. “Abra-cord-abra! Yeah, we said it.”– Quirky

Quirky is a website that connects inventors with companies that may want to buy their ideas.

This corny play on words is followed by a conversational statement that people commonly make after saying something silly.

It earned a lot of clicks.

  1. “Yes, I’m Pregnant. You Can Stop Staring At My Belly Now.”– Baby Bump
  2. “NEW! Vacation on Mars”-Gozengo
  3. “Pairs nicely with spreadsheets”– Warby Parker
  4. “Where to Drink Beer Right Now”– Eater Boston

The pub sent this one at 6:45 a.m. on a weekday, making the timing part of the joke. You’re probably on your way to work at that time.

And we’ve got a bonus and possibly the winner.

  1. “*Don’t Open This Email*”from Manicube.

If you found none of those remotely funny, it speaks to how hard it can be to pull off the perfect zinger.

But don’t be afraid to explore humor as a means to overcome objections and barriers that stand in the way of a person opening an email.


5) Create Outrageous Subject Lines:

Boring, everyday topics don’t generate clicks.

Even if you have a buttoned up professional brand, few audiences will respond to a simple email description.

You must be brave. It helps to be a little cocky.

You can find some cool ways to get the most out of your brand.

Being outrageous doesn’t mean stirring up controversy or getting under people’s skin unless you really know your audience will appreciate it.

It’s more about causing harm and “can’t believe they said that” or “what is it all about?” feeling.


Great Examples of Subject Lines That Got A Little Outrageous

  1. “Let’s get fat, Boston”– Thrillist

It was an email exploring some of the best restaurants in Boston. It’s a bit off-beat. But it makes you look.

  1. “How to organize your VHS collection”– HubSpot
  2. “Is Twilight the best movie ever made?”– HubSpot
  3. “Our Blades are F***ing Great.”– Dollar Shave Club

Know your audience. Some audiences will find cursing funny or non-conformist.

Others find it offensive. Dollar Shave Club gambled on this one and won big with their target audience.


6) Make Them Feel Like an Insider:

Why do we like internal jokes? People want to feel like they are part of something.

And to see what they know only a handful of people will understand, they will feel special.

This is true whether your audience is in MENSA (a genius club) or in a specific field of activity that uses a specific language.

Using insider topics further connects your audience with you because it shows that you are an insider too.


Great Examples of Insider Subject Lines

Don’t worry. We’ll give you the explanation in case you’re an outsider among these groups.

  1. “!”– DiningIn

People who use messaging apps will recognize an exclamation point as a stand-in for words.

By using it the sender is expressing that they have something very exciting to show you when you open the email.

The target audience will understand this and have to click.

  1. “As You Wish”– Uncommon Goods

It’s a reference to the cult fantasy classic “Princess Bride”. Choose movies that are very likely to be viewed by your audience.

  1. “Coffee’s for closers”– Glengarry Glen Ross

Not a known email subject line. But it should be. Anyone in sales or marketing would likely get the reference.

  1. “11 is a crowd. We’ll wait.”– ThinkGeek

You may want to brush up on your binary code for this one. 11 in the binary representation for 3.


7) Stroke Their Ego:

We all have it. Ego. When someone says something that makes you feel good, you probably just made a friend.

An instant sense of vanity is what a person gets from such a topic.

You may not think of vanity as an emotion.

But this is certainly true. The best email subject lines evoke emotion. You don’t have to be a narcissist to feel it.

People with all levels of pride and conceit can be positively turned on when you stroke their egos.


Great Examples of Ego-Stroking Subject Lines

  1. “Your Butt Will Look Great in These Workout Pants”– Fabletics

Who doesn’t want to hear that?

  1. “Wow! Fantastic credit score.”– NerdWallet

For someone who’s financially savvy, that’s a great compliment.

  1. “So What Did You Think? Write a Review.”– REI

Demonstrating that you value a person’s opinion is a great way to stroke their ego.

  1. “? Want a Custom Emoji of Tullamore & 6 Months FREE Walks?”– Wag

This is a personalized subject line. “Tullamore” is the dog of the person receiving this email.

For pet lovers, the pet is an extension of the person’s sense of self.

Complementing the pet or offering them something special can be just as powerful as targeting the person’s ego.

  1. “Hey [First Name]! Which one of these would be your favorite read?”– EmailMonks.


8) Feel Their Pain:

When you can talk to the pain points of your target audience, you show that you understand how people are using your product and why.

This demonstrates that you think from time to time from the perspective of the consumer, and not from the point of view of your own business.


Great Examples of Pain Point Subject Lines

  1. “Since we can’t all win the lottery…”-Uber

This subject line speaks to a very specific audience. 70% of lottery players are in their 20’s and 30’s.

Around 90% of players have jobs but say they’re having trouble paying their bills.

These individuals are also the most likely to become Uber drivers.

  1. “How to Survive Your Next Overnight Flight”– Thrillest
  2. “Stop wasting time on mindless work”– Evernote
  3. “[Pain Point] | [Company Name].”-Demanddrive

DemandDrive uses this template again and again to generate high open rates.

  1. “[First Name], here’s how you can [Benefit from our Solution]”-Growthhackers

Likewise, Growthhackers have found a template that works well with their audience. They use it repeatedly to get more clicks.

Think systematically as you learn how to create the best subject line.

Explore with several quick-fill templates to create a compelling headline.


9) Create a Sense of Urgency:

You’ve probably seen classic TV commercials that say, “Take action now!” And this is something you can also try on your topic.

Although not necessarily these words.

You can include scarcity and urgency in the subject line to encourage subscribers to act immediately, as if this is their last chance.

However, be sure to only use this “time-limited” subject line when your campaign requires it.

This is the oldest method in the market book. But it still works in the field of digital marketing.

Analytics proves it. This is definitely one of the best practices for writing an email subject.

When someone feels they have time to do something later, they postpone it.

At that time, they think they will return. But this rarely happens.

When people feel they must discover something now or miss something, they at least look.

A study published in the New York Times found that 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. If they don’t feel like they should be doing it now, they won’t.

Consumer Research found that “being busy” was one of the top “humble” claims on social media.

People like to stay busy. They like to be considered busy. They often don’t feel like they have time to open your email.

To get the highest email open rates, make people feel like they should open it now, not later.

  • Urgent – Increased email open rate by 79%
  • Breaking – Increased email open rate by 68%
  • Important – Increased open rate by 55%
  • Alert – Increased open rate by 31%

This is definitely a tip that you will want to supplement with analytics to make sure “time-sensitive” words don’t end up in emails sent to your spam folder.

This 79% increase is well worth it for some compared to spam.

Subject lines like these may cause some businesses to end up in your spam folder.

Therefore, they should always first A / B test a small segment of the mailing list.

Note there are many more ways to express urgency. Try these.

  1. “Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight…”– Digital Marketer
  2. “[New Product] just arrived. Only 15 left.”
  3. “Before you write another blog post, read this”– Sumo
  4. “Extended for a day! Get Free shipping through Friday.”– VerticalResponse


10) Avoid Spam Language:

You don’t always want a topic to send spam.

But over the years, some languages   have been flagged as spam by spam filters. due to widespread abuse of this title.

Experts estimate that each charity loses about $ 15,000 a year in potential donations due to the fact that they accidentally wrote something “spam” either in the subject line of their email or in a copy of it.

You don’t waste time and money building a quality subscriber list just to be spammed.

Act-On has created a great list of phrases that can be used by innocent companies that send them straight to spam.

Those words include but aren’t limited to:

  • Opportunity
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • No Purchase Necessary
  • Eliminate Debt
  • FREE {In all CAPS}
  • Success
  • Hot
  • Bad Credit
  • Increase
  • Make Money Fast


This list can make you feel nostalgic for the days when we didn’t have spam filters to filter this stuff out.

But some of them are completely innocent words that are often used to send spam.

You might not want to avoid these words entirely, especially if, for example, you are giving away freebies or Black Friday Groupons.

So if so, you should definitely see how they are perceived by your audience.

Avoiding spam filters will help improve email delivery.


11) Segment Your Best Email Subject Lines:

A separation is a form of personalization. Divide email recipients into groups based on the main feature you share. This could be:

  • Age range
  • Industry
  • Geography
  • Job Role
  • Behaviors

Then adjust the subject line based on this feature to make it more relevant.

The open rate for a segmented email is about 14% higher than for an unsegmented email.

When something seems individualized and relevant, people are more likely to see it.

On average, a company can increase email revenues by 58% through segmentation.


12) Personalize it:

Personalization is a step up from segmentation. This is when you send a specific email to a specific person at a specific time.

You can count their names in a sentence. But email personalization goes far beyond that.

Personalized emails may:

  • Welcome a new subscriber
  • Thank a person for their purchase
  • Suggest other items based on their purchase or viewing history
  • Remind them to finish a video

Both timing and message make these types of email subject lines so effective.

Such a time is only possible with the help of email automation.

This Monday Email Chart shows how businesses benefit from email automation.


Examples of Personalized, Automated Email Subject Lines

  1. “Hi, {Customer Name}, I’m deleting your Envira account”– Envira

This is a bold move that could backfire.

Obviously, if you say you’re unsubscribing someone or deleting their account, you have to do it if they don’t respond.

But a message like this can renew interest with a person who never opens emails.

  1. “{Customer Name}, did you miss out on some of these new features?”– Animoto
  2. “Email subscriber exclusive: [Product name] sale is here.”– VerticalResponse

That product would be something this individual recently viewed. Automation can pull it into the email to make that missed sale.

This kind of email is one of the top tricks for improving eCommerce ROI.

  1. “Were we boring you, {Customer Name}?”– Unbounce
  2. “Hey, forget something? Here’s 20% off.”– Bonobos
  3. “Steve, where’d you go?”– Unbounce


The Best Email Subject Lines

The best email content lines are built around your target audience and brand.

But you can definitely get some ideas by looking at what works for other companies.

These 50 examples will help you create your own highly effective themes.

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