Best Email Subject Lines to Increase Your Open Rate

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Not sure how to increase your email open rate?

Has email marketing become more of a chore than an investment?

If this sounds familiar, then you’ve come to the right place.

Email marketing is a great way to gain more clients and increase exposure to your business.

However, if you choose the wrong subject line, you could risk losing prospective leads and sales.

If you’re looking to increase your open rate, you should strongly consider upping your subject-line game!

There are over 105 billion emails circulating daily, so it’s an invaluable skill to ensure that your email subject lines are a cut above the rest!

Email readers decide whether or not they are going to open your email through your subject line alone.

Whilst there are differing views about what a “captivating” subject line is, the fact remains that subject lines should be:

  • Succinct
  • Highly relevant
  • Evoke interest

We’ve scoured through the internet to find the best examples of stand-out subject lines to get you started.

Let’s have a look at ways you can improve your email open rate!

1. Examples of excellent email subject lines

1.1. Adding humor

Adding humor

A funny subject line is always a good idea.

Studies at Colorado University have shown that people become more open to new ideas, especially business advertising, if the advertising is funny.

Telling a joke or incorporating something funny into your subject is bound to grab some positive attention.

Using a more casual approach not only draws the reader’s attention, but immediately makes your business more likeable to your audience.

This is a great way to make an instant connection with your contacts.

It’s important to make sure that your subject still falls in line with the tone that you are trying to promote.

It’s easy to cross the line with humour so make sure to maintain a sense of respectfulness.

Examples of funny subject lines:

  • “We’re bringing set-sy back” Sephora.
  • Revised policy regarding jean shorts at work”Funny or Die.
  • “Great, another email!” Studio Neat.
  • “SAAALE! Extra 40%! Sorry for yelling!” Bonobos.

1.2. The personal approach

The personal approach

It’s no secret that people love to feel important.

It’s an innate need for people to feel seen and heard.

Most businesses are based around satisfying a personal or professional need, whether that be a product or service.

With this in mind, it would make sense that addressing your audience personally in your subject line is a huge advantage.

Reminding your audience that your offer is client-centred and aims to improve their lives will tremendously increase reader interest.

Personalization means your brand is catering to a basic need of your customers — the need to feel personally seen.

Examples of personalized subject lines include:

Subject lines such as the ones mentioned above make use of words like “you” and “yours” which tend to capture attention as they imply a sense of friendship and closeness with potential clients.

However, try to avoid using contact’s names, as these are usually overlooked as spam.

1.3. “Shock element”

Shock element

Subject lines with an unexpected twist or controversial undertone will be guaranteed standouts amongst the mundane emails in your audience’s inbox.

Afterall, who doesn’t love a good head-turner?

If your subject line prompts a strong emotion like surprise or shock from readers, they are likely to be more curious about not only the email itself, but your business too!

A controversial subject line should still be relevant to the body of your email, as well as the offer you would like to promote.

So, step out of the proverbial box and leave your audience wanting more with subject headers similar to these:

  • “What they Eat in Prison”Thrillist.
  • “Don’t Open this Email” Manicube.
  • “They did WHAT with a pair of Crocs?” Crocs.
  • “You can’t come in” Glossier.

1.4. Minimal word use

Minimal word use

Source: Fetchprofits

Sometimes, less is more.

This rings true for email advertising, too.

People lead busy lives and don’t always have the time to open all their emails.

So, often only the simplest ones make the cut!

One way to leverage this is to keep your email subject lines minimalistic.

An email subject line that looks about as long as a thesis is not going to get a second look!

Conciseness can help your email marketing rise above the mediocre bar.

A short but powerful statement that is packed with a punch can make all the difference.

At first glance, your subject line should be both straightforward and alluring.

Minimal yet bold subject lines that have an enthralling effect are:

  • “TGIF”Bisque Imports kept it simple with an on-trend acronym; Thank Goodness It’s Friday.
  • “Yes please!” — a short and effective subject line is often used in the promotion of new services or products.
  • “Whoops!”
  • “Good news”

1.5. Asking questions


Source: Martech

Beginning your email with an open-ended question instantly prompts positive interest.

Subject lines that start with a question will encourage readers to actively engage with the email.

Asking a question is also a great way to remind readers that their opinions and thoughts matter to your business.

Readers will be less likely to just scroll on through an email that actively involves them.

Pique your readers’ curiosity by starting the conversation with a question, such as:

  • “Are you ready?” — A fun question can emote excitement and encourage your audience to associate your business with positive anticipation.
  • “Do you have a few seconds for [x]?” — This line shows you respect your readers’ time and consent to market your product or service.
  • “RSVP: Free training this time tomorrow?”
  • “60 seconds to sales?”
  • “Are you losing ground to competitors?”

1.6. Cut-off time

Cut-off time

Including a deadline in your subject line definitely gets readers interested.

By letting your audience know that your offer has a time limit, it encourages them to take action quickly and see what the offer is about.

This technique is based on the psychological principle of scarcity.

The principle implies that humans tend to place a higher value on things which are rare or limited in supply.

You’ve probably heard of the term FOMO, a modern acronym used to describe the Fear Of Missing Out.

Who wants to miss out on a good deal?

By including deadlines in your subject, you can appeal to this attribute by motivating readers to read further about limited offers!

Create a sense of urgency with subject lines like these:

  • “Last chance to register today! Don’t miss out”
  • “Offer expires in 2 days”
  • “Early Bird Tickets Almost GONE”
  • “[LAST CHANCE] 68% off sale ends today”
  • “No one should miss this…”

1.7. Using mystery

Using Mystery

Creating some mystery and intrigue around your emails is an unconventional feat that will skyrocket readers’ attention.

Enticing readers to discover more about your business is a solid way to start.

Many marketing tactics involve baring all from the start so readers know exactly what is up on offer.

By leaving some things for readers to question, you promote active engagement.

A compelling and mysterious subject line is certain to cause readers to become inquisitive.

You can keep them guessing with some intrigue using subject lines similar to these:

  • “Last Day To See What This Mystery Email Is All About” — GrubHub.
  • “It’s all over december 25...”HelloWorld.
  • “It’s arrived…” Huckberry.
  • “Shhh… don’t tell anyone” ESQIDO.
  • “Something awaits”Madewell.

1.8. Numbers and figures


Source: Pinterest

Including numbers in your subject line is a straightforward approach to getting the attention of your readers.

Numbers are an instant attraction for the human brain because theyre quick and easy to process.

Since many people like to sort and organize things into lists, using your subject line to indicate a list helps your email appear more organized and appealing.

Examples of some direct subject lines using numbers:

  • “10 gifts under 50$!”
  • “5 reasons to attend [name of business event]”
  • “Take 2 for 1!”
  • “50% sale for Black Friday”
  • “10 reasons you should pick us!”

2. Best approaches for captivating email subject lines

2.1. Keep it short and simple

Your subject line should be succinct enough to make a quick yet effective impression on readers.

Avoid using excessively long subject lines as this will have a tedious effect and immediately deter your audience from your emails.

Since about 68.9% of emails are opened on mobile devices, it’s recommended to keep your subject lines to a maximum of 50 characters or less.

2.2. Employ alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of a word.

These sounds can add a catchy touch to your email subject.

The power of alliteration lies in its ability to be memorable — it will make a lasting impact on your readers.

Try out a catchy-sounding subject line like “Fast Fixes for You!” or “Tuesday’s Top 10”.

2.3. Understand your audience

Knowing your target audience is essential to successful email marketing.

Don’t hesitate to tweak your marketing techniques to cater to the specific audience you’re aiming for.

For example, the same marketing approach would not always be used for an 18-29 year old age group as a 50+ age group.

2.4. Consider your tone

The tone of email marketing strongly affects how your business will be perceived.

Implementing the correct tone in your email copy goes hand in hand with understanding your audience.

Adjusting your tone to suit your audience should start in your subject line — this is what will be seen first.

Different tones will cater to different audiences.

Although not always the case, a professional tone might be more suitable than a casual tone when it comes to corporate offers.

2.5. Be authentic

It’s no secret that authenticity is attractive.

So, why not display the most authentic version of your business in your email marketing?

By harnessing what makes your business unique, it sets your emails apart from the rest.

Originality in your email subject lines is a must-have.

It shows your readers that you add some thought to your marketing — this can be quite rare in the email marketing world!

Authenticity also creates a sense of transparency with readers.

Consider that your goal in email marketing is not only to get your emails opened but also to promote a sense of likeability — your subject line is the best place to start.

2.6. Share exciting news

In a digital world filled with developing news, it’s a good move to use your subject to highlight a news update.

To start your email on a high note, get readers to anticipate a new webinar, course, or any new development in your business.

News is exciting, and your subject line should be too!

2.7. Persuade your audience to act

One of the tried and tested techniques in email advertising is the call-to-action.

The call-to-action involves using persuasive language such as “Last Chance” or “This could be yours!” to give your readers a steady prompt.

Convince your readers that your email is not to be missed and that taking action is the way to go.

3. Conclusion

Email marketing is a useful tool that can help grow your business significantly.

If it’s not done correctly, you could have the complete opposite effect and even deter potential clients.

Since its inception, the e-marketing world has seen businesses send out newsletters, special offers, and much more.

Email subject lines however, are your chance to really stand out.

Subject lines are one of the most important components of generating an outstanding open rate.

By making sure that your subject lines are curated with the techniques above in mind, you should be all set to go for positively impressionable emails!

Why not try out’s email marketing tools to kickstart your business?

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