Author: Rohan  |  

Rohan is a bearded marketer @SendX

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You’re probably no stranger to the fact that subject lines play a HUGE role in deciding the success of your email marketing campaign.

How huge?

Consider this:

47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone.
And if that wasn’t enough, 69% of email recipients report emails as spam based SOLELY on the subject line.

So if you want your emails to be opened, you need to make sure your subject lines use the correct psychological triggers and cater to your audience.

To help you improve your open rates, we’ve compiled the biggest list of the top email subject lines (300+) to ever exist on the internet. You can use these subject lines as inspiration and swipe them right off!

Email Subject Line Examples:

Email subject lines collection
Email Subject Line Collection

The collection consists of some of the best subject lines used in some of the most successful email campaigns. They are divided into various sections so that you can quickly go to the desired subject line with ease.

Let's get right into it.

How to write Curiosity Email Subject Lines?

We humans, hate it when we are not able to complete a mental loop inside our head. This is why cliffhangers work so well. We can’t help but look at the next segment to close out that cliffhanger.

And this is precisely why the curiosity subject line works extremely well. These are interesting email subject lines that just work. But only if done right (even bad cliffhangers suck and result in cancellation of TV shows!).

There are some really good email stats showcasing the power of eye-catching subject lines as well. Feel free to A/B test the techniques we'll explore in this post within your subject lines for an optimal open rate and conversion ratio.
You can make your readers curious with your subject line by asking a question or promising something interesting within the email.

You can use this formula: Here’s Why We [Something Awesome]

Example: Here's why we are giving 100 Teslas away..

Here are a few of the highest converting curiosity email subject lines.

1. Mary Fernandez: “? a surprise gift for you! {unwrap}

2. Refinery29: “10 bizarre money habits making Millennials richer

3. Manicube: “*Don’t Open This Email*

4. Digital Marketer: “Is this you?

5. Thrillist: “What They Eat In Prison

6. Eat This Not That: “9 Disgusting Facts about Thanksgiving

7. Chubbies: “Hologram Shorts?!

8. Digital Marketer: “Check out my new “man cave” [PICS]

9. Digital Marketer: “Is this the hottest career in marketing?

10. Digital Marketer: “Start using this new Facebook ad type

11. Grubhub: “Last Day To See What This Mystery Email Is All About

12. The Hustle: “A faster donkey

13. UX Collective: “Your fingerprints are all over the place

14. Select All: “The Two Possible Futures of Virtual Reality

15. Refinery29 Everywhere: “The $1,000 hair trend with a dirty little secret

An email subject line

Source: Sumo

16. Book of the Month: “Our most riveting book this month.

17. Sephora Insider: “You NEED to see this new eye treatment.

18. Madewell: “Everyone’s gonna ask you about these

19. Hiten from Product Habits: “2 hours before launch and we are still scrambling

20. Instant Boss Club: “80 likes to 458 likes SAY WHAT?

21. Intercom: “Are you making this landing page mistake?

22. Zillow: “The truth about moving expenses

23. LinkedIn: “This is how much working from home saves you

24. BuzzFeed Books: “A very ~controversial~ opinion"

25. LOFT: “Just wait till you see these skirts

26. Pocket: “How to Sleep. Sleep for Success. Why Eight Hours a Night Isn’t Enough

27. Tory Burch: “This. Is. It.

28. Apartment Therapy: “Why You Should Keep Your Clothes in the Freezer.

29. Digital Marketer: “Important message (about tomorrow’s big announcement)

30. Digital Marketer: “[POLL] Can you answer this?

What are FOMO Email Subject Lines?

What is FOMO?

FOMO Stands for Fear of missing out. FOMO (Fear of missing out) is a very powerful trigger and if used in a smart way can improve the email opens of your next email marketing campaign by a huge margin.

This is one of the classic psychological principles, and probably one of the most effective ones.

We can use this to create scarcity and urgency for our offers. In fact use of words like “urgent”, “important”, “expires” have a track record of improving open rates.

Just make sure this subject line is used for a real scarcity (not one that resets every time). Also, overusing the FOMO can decrease its value and result in people not taking the emails seriously.

Formula: [Action] Now Before It's Gone

Example: Download This for Free Now before It's Gone

So, if you are looking for FOMO subject lines here are few examples:

31. Dollar Shave Club: “We want to give you money.”

32. J.Crew Factory: “Click it or miss it, people: Over 500 styles under $25 is ending!

33. Charles Tyrwhitt: “Shirts for $39 ENDS MIDNIGHT

34. Book of the Month: “May’s best books are just too good to miss.

35. Uber: “Grab a ride pass before they’re gone

36. Digital Marketer: “[WEEKEND ONLY] Get this NOW before it’s gone…

37. Poshmark: “Your discounts EXPIRE SOON.

38. Shoes of Prey: “In case you missed these…

39. Warby Parker: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring

40. Airbnb: “Barnstable is in high demand for August

41. Guess: “Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream

Webinar is filling up subject line

42. AMC Theatres: “Hurry, Get Your Tickets to SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Fan Event!

43. JustFab: “By Invitation Only: Exclusive Rewards Inside!”  

44. Groupon: “Starbucks – By Invite Only

45. Killington: “Season Pass Savings Disappear Thursday

46. Verizon Wireless: “[Name], your home is missing these easy upgrades.

47. BaubleBar: “You’re a winner!

48. Ibotta: “Don’t let this $5 bonus slip away!

49. Crate and Barrel: “2x the rewards, 2 brands, 5 days only.

50. JetBlue: “You’re missing out on points.

51. Digital Marketer: “[URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to watch this…

52. Digital Marketer: “Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight…

53. InstantBoss Club: “NEVER AGAIN SALE

54. Jersey Mike’s Subs: “Mary, Earn double points today only

55. Digital Marketer: “[LAST CHANCE] 85% off sale ends today!

How to write Pain Points Email Subject Line?

As a marketer, it is one of your main jobs to understand your customers and know their pain points. And you should constantly be on the look out for more pain points, and ways to help them out with your solution.

In these types of subject lines, we use those pain points to bring out the pain in the reader and then offer a solution within the subject line. Know that the pain point you’re addressing must be a major one for your customer. This is where the practice of segmenting the list according to the type of customer helps!

If you're giving a solution to a pain point within the email, you can use the formula: How To [Achieve Desired Result]

Example: How To Make Millions by Losing Money

Here are a few subject lines incorporating the pain points:

56. Pizza Hut: “Feed your guests without breaking the bank

57. IKEA: “Where do all these toys go?

58. IKEA: “Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes

59. HP: “Stop wasting money on ink

60. Sephora: “Your beauty issues, solved

61. Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery…

62. Thrillist: “How to Survive Your Next Overnight Flight

63. Guess: “Wanted: Cute and affordable fashions

64. Evernote: “Stop wasting time on mindless work

65. Duolingo: “Learn a language with only 5 minutes per day

66. J.Crew: “Your summer outfit dilemmas SOLVED

67. Groupon Experiences: “Fun to Help You Survive the Holidays

68. Terrain: “Your all-weather dining solution.

Industry wise metrics

Email Open and Click Rates by Sector (2018) by GetResponse.

69. Qapital: “Don’t think about saving. Save without thinking.

70. ByRegina: “Struggling with a business decision? I made you a 1-page framework to help.

71. Le Tote: “Monday-Friday Style Simplified

72. Domino’s: “No address? No problem. Now Domino’s can deliver to over 150,000 Domino’s Hotspots.

73. Adobe Stock: “Beautiful brochures made faster

74. Verizon Wireless: “Enjoy NBA games right at your fingertips.

75. Vidyard: “Engaging your prospects can be hard. Video makes it easy.

76. Grubhub: “Sit back and let someone else do the cooking

77. Yelp: “Keep From Melting With These Iced Drinks.

78. Grubhub: “Repeat meal syndrome? We understand.

79. Digital Marketer: “[CHECKLIST] Get up to 20% better email deliverability

80. Digital Marketer: “The 30-Second Sales Pitch

The Re-engagement/Retargeting Email Subject Line

No matter how good of a marketer you are, you’re gonna have a few people who will stop engaging with your emails.

Added to that, there will be people who will drop off your sales funnel, abandon their carts or jump off in between a webinar. In such cases, we send them emails in an attempt to grab their attention and get them back into the sales funnel.

If you have an eCommerce Store, you can literally 3X your sales with cart abandonment emails.

These subject lines primarily tend to overcome an objection which the customer might be facing, offer an exclusive deal which makes it easier for the customer to buy, or simply generate more FOMO.

Here are a few examples of retargeting/re-engagement subject lines:

81. Dollar Shave Club: “Hey, did you forget to open this?

82. The Bouqs Company: “Can You Believe It’s Been a Month?

83. Chubbies Shorts: “Lemme Teleport You Back to Your Cart. Free Of Charge.

84. LinkedIn: “[Name], people are looking at your LinkedIn profile

85. Groupon: “Still Interested in That Deal?

86. ClassPass: “New things are happening!

87. Airbnb: “Pick up where you left off

88. DraftKings: “[Name], you have an undrafted contest entry!

89. Vail Resorts: “Come Back This Winter With an Exclusive Deal, [Name]

Cart reserved email subject line

Source: Barilliance

90. Glassdoor: “It’s Been A While…

91. Marriott Rewards: “We’ve missed you, [Name]! Please come back!

92. Nick Stephenson: “How you can afford Your First 10,000 Readers (closing tonight)

93. Bonobos: “Hey, forget something? Here’s 20% off.

94. Target: “The price dropped for something in your cart

95. Syed from Envira: “Mary, your Envira account is on hold!

96. Syed from Envira: “I’m deleting your Envira account

97. Ugmonk: “Offering you my personal email

98. Animoto: “Did you miss out on some of these new features?

99. Pinterest: “Good News: Your Pin’s price dropped!

100. Unroll.Me: “ Unroll.Me has stopped working

101. Vivino: “We are not gonna Give Up on You!

The Emoji Email Subject Line

Emojis are increasingly making their way into the business emails. And rightfully so. According to a report by Experian, using emojis in your subject lines can increase your open rates by 45%.

Subject lines with emojis are pretty much accepted as subject lines for business emails.

While a lot of businesses still think that emojis make the emails look a little ‘less professional’, they simply work! And even if the user doesn’t open the email, the subject line would still make you more memorable than the rest of the brands.

So unless your brand has a very specific messaging that does not sit well with emojis, you definitely should try and test out emojis within your subject line.

While we cannot tell you which emoji would work the best for your subject line, here are the most popular emojis used in subject lines:

Top 15 emojis by subject line appearances

Source: MailChimp

And here are some subject line examples using emojis within them:

102. “✈ SEAT SALE: Boston to Las Vegas!

103. Digital Marketer: “?Let’s fix your offer together

104. Digital Marketer: “?New Facebook Group features – this is BIG


106. Dunkin Donuts: “?We’re screaming…

107. Product Hunt Daily: “World’s first flying car ?️?”

108. Yummly: “?Berry impressive summer recipes

109. BuzzFeed News: “Instagram will let you mute your friends’ baby pics ? ”

110. Instacart: “??? Market Basket: Save $10 off your next order

111. IMPACT Branding & Design: “IMPACT Live: Last week to save ? ”

112. Hotjar: “Customise your visitor feedback experience ???”

113. Crate and Barrel: “Up to 40% off  ?️+ 30% off ?+ 15% off ?️ + Free ?

114. Wish: “90% off store prices… Today’s top 5 discounts on summer sunglasses ?”

115. Nordstrom Rack: “?Up to 75% OFF ends tonight ?”

Emojis for household items has a MASSIVE directory of emojis which you can use for your emails.

116. ClassPass: “Go from ? to ? for just $4

117. Gary Vaynerchuk: “New tshirts, a new movie, and episode 100 of #AskGaryVee✴️✴️★”

118. StubHub: “? Great deal alert! Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park for a steal.

119. Gary Vaynerchuk: “Tell me what you want to get out of this email service⚠️”

120. Digital Marketer: “Sales ⬆︎, Refunds ⬇︎, Retention ⬆︎

121. Digital Marketer: “①⓪① ways to boost email open rates

122. Digital Marketer:  “ ⏰ FINAL NOTICE: “Perfect Offer Mini-Class

123. Digital Marketer: “ ? Claim your free heat map!

124. Digital Marketer: "? Your perfect product launch for $7

125. Digital Marketer: "⚡[FLASH SALE] My 11-step business launch plan (and templates)"

126. Digital Marketer: "Does your landing page suck?… or is it ‘perfect’? ?"

127. Digital Marketer: "⏰ LAST CHANCE: T&C closes tonight"

128. Digital Marketer: "❄️Turn ice cold prospects into buyers ?"

129. Digital Marketer: "?Facebook Targeting Expansion: The Test (and the results…)"

How to write Funny Email Subject Lines?

In a large crowd, a genuinely funny person automatically grabs our attention. The same thing applies to our crowded inboxes.

Answer this honestly: When has it ever happened that you found a genuinely funny subject line in your inbox and you didn’t open it? Probably never (unless you have a vendetta against humor!).

While funny email subject lines are a great way to grab attention and get opens, you need to make sure they will resonate with your audience and not go on the offensive side. Doing that can result in an immediate backlash and a loss of subscribers.

Here are examples of funny email subject lines:

130. Groupon: “Hey… Were You Gonna Delete This?

131. Red Sox Ticketing: “Come to Fenway May 2 - we won’t tell your boss!

132. The Muse: “We Like Being Used

133. Dollar Shave Club: “Open up and say wowie zowie!

134. Eater Boston: “Where to Drink Beer Right Now” (Sent at 6:45am on a Wednesday.)

135. Travelocity: “Need a day at the beach? Just scratch n’ sniff your way to paradise…

136. Brooks Brothers: “Up to 40% off trousers & sport coats. It’s a tailor-made sale.

137. Thrillist: “Try To Avoid These 27 People On New Year’s Eve

138. Free People: “‘Can I PLEASE borrow?!’ - everyone you know

139. Baby Bump: “Yes, I’m Pregnant. You Can Stop Staring At My Belly Now.

140. Gozengo: “NEW! Vacation on Mars

141. The Bouqs Company: “Pow-pop-boom-crackfsss” (Note: This was for a 4th of July sale.)

142. The Hustle: “Look what you did, you little jerk…” (this one is a hybrid of curiosity and humour)

143. TicTail: “Boom shakalak! Let’s get started.

144. OpenTable: “Licking your phone never tasted so good

145. Funny or DIe: “Revised policy regarding jean shorts at work

FunnyOrDie email subject lines

Source: Funny or Die

146. UncommonGoods: “As You Wish” (This is a reference to the movie The Princess Bride.)

147. Grubhub: “Breaking chews! We found new restaurants near you!

148. Warby Parker: “Pairs nicely with spreadsheets

149. NextDraft: “OMGodfather”  

150. Dollar Shave Club: “What to Do When You’re the Sweaty, Smelly Guy at the Gym

151. Groupon: “Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)

152. Nordstrom Rack: “Ray-Ban up to 50% off. Get in a new frame of mind.

153. Crate and Barrel: “New planters? Oh, kale yeah.

154. OpenTable:  "Licking your phone never tasted so good"

155. Move Loot:  "Seat Your Heart Out"

156. Overstock: "Seriously. We’d like to thank you."

157. Grubhub: "Last Day To See What This Mystery Email Is All About"

158. Refinery29:  "10 bizarre money habits making Millennials richer"

159. Fabletics: "Your Butt Will Look Great in These Workout Pants"

160. Edgevale: "Get In Our Pants"

161. UrbanDaddy: "You’ve Changed"

162. Influitive: "So I’ll pick you up at 7?"

163. BloomThat: "Better than a pumpkin spice latte!"

164. Gap: "Mondays are suddenly AWESOME"

165. The Bold Italic: "Just Pho You: Where to Eat SF’s Best PhoPop"

166. Physique: "Get Ready. Keep the Pie Off Your Thighs Returns."

167. BuzzFeed: "Yes, We’re Still Talking About Kim Kardashian’s Butt"

168. Groupon: "There are no deals in this email"

169. Sublime Stitching: "Bummed you missed out? Console yourself…"

170. NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences: "Show Us Yours and We’ll Show You Ours"

171. Benefit Cosmetics: "Do you like to watch?"

The Social Proof Email Subject Line

As a marketer, you’re probably no stranger to the fact that social proof is a huge booster for engagement and sales.

People like to do what other people are doing. It makes the brand more relatable and improves trust.

This same principle when incorporated within the email subject line can make a huge impact to your opens. Try to highlight a major objection and how a customer is overcoming it using your product.

You can use the formula: How Lessons [I/We] Learned [Action You Took]

Example: How I Grew My Business to 10k/mo in 90 days

172. Patagonia: “Top reviewed styles from customers like you

173. HelloFresh: “Pssst… your friends are cooking up a storm!

174. GolfNow: “You deserve some golf this week (top picks inside)

175. Yummly: “Most Popular Recipes this Week

176. Airbnb: “Make it a good night with John Legend and Airbnb

177. Yummly: “Simple recipes from popular chefs

178. Zillow: “5 homes that are trending right now

179. Lenny: “Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz on the Female Gaze

180. Inc: “18 Habits Highly Successful People Have (And the Rest of Us Probably Don’t)

181. Adobe: "Adobe named a Leader in customer analytics"

182. Instant Boss Club: “See what our clients are saying…

183. Sephora: “The people have spoken: these are their faves

184. Target: “Moms are loving these fave maternity looks.

185. Wish: “Whoa… These are the most wanted handbags this year.

186. Digital Marketer: "This, friends, is how you sell with email…"

187. Digital Marketer: "[Case Study] $25,865/mo in recurring revenue"

188. Digital Marketer: "Case Study: 7-figure eCommerce Funnel"

189. Digital Marketer: "This guy makes 6 figures per month?"

190. Digital Marketer: "28,507 leads in 45 days"

191. Digital Marketer: "Tim Ferriss says “Hi”"

The Self-Love Email Subject Line

A part of what makes us human is our desire for love and acceptance by other fellow humans.

Everybody takes a little too excessive pride in ourselves and our abilities from time to time.

We can use this human tendency to our advantage and capitalize on our audience’s vanity.

Be sure that you don’t go overboard with this. A little too much and people consider it spammy. Your job in this one is to provide something that makes the reader look better or look worse than her peers.

192. Pop Physique: “Get Ready. Keep the Pie Off Your Thighs Returns.

193. Guess: “Don’t wear last year’s styles.

194. Rapha: “Gift inspiration for the discerning cyclist

195. La Mer: “Age-defying beauty tricks

196. Jeremy Gitomer: “How Have You Progressed Since the Third Grade?

197. Rapha: “As worn in the World Tour

198. Fabletics: “Your Butt Will Look Great in These Workout Pants

199. Sephora: “Products the celebs are wearing

The Offer Email Subject Line

Humans are a sucker for good offers. You can call it greedy, but I’m pretty sure you’d also find it really tough to pass up on a crushing offer for a product you’re interested in.

A good offer packaged in a sweet subject line can be a game changer for your brand. There’s a reason why sales, discounts and offers work so well in your subject line.

Additionally, these types of emails get higher CTRs as well. This is because the people who are interested enough to open them email are highly likely to be interested in the actual offer as well.

200. Rip Curl: “Two for two

201. Rapha: “Complimentary gift wrap on all purchases

202. Guess: “25% off your favorites

203. HP: “New must-haves for your office

204. Seafolly: “A new product you won’t pass on

205. Topshop: “Meet your new jeans

206. La Mer: “A little luxury at a great price

207. Topshop: “Get a head start on summer

208. The Black Tux: “Get priority access.

209. Digital Marketer: "Google Display Network (Your one page cheat sheet)"

Blinklist email subject line

210. HP: “Flash. Sale. Alert.

211. Digital Marketer: “[Flash Sale] 85% off our Podcast Launch Plan

212. Digital Marketer: “Your Content Campaign Planner (Google doc)

213. Digital Marketer: “[EMAIL TEMPLATE] Fix your company’s biggest marketing issue

214. Digital Marketer: “[CHECKLIST] Get up to 20% better email deliverability

215. Digital Marketer: “Swipe these 5 killer traffic campaigns

216. Digital Marketer: “Paid traffic not converting? Download this…

217. Digital Marketer: “Digital Marketing Mastery is open!

The Procrastinator’s Email Subject Line

Humans don’t want to work. Period. They are a lazy bunch. Even the “workaholics” among us would check out a quick hack or a shortcut that can make them get to where they want faster.

You can use this to your advantage.

You can offer a quick cheat sheet or a resource that will help your subscribers get some result really fast. And frame the subject line accordingly that makes the user want to check out the resource.

For example: If you're giving a step-by-step guide to achieve a result, you can use this formula: [Ebook] Step by Step guide to [achieving a result]

218. Digital Marketer: “[Free PDF Download] Claim our Social Media Swipe File

219. Digital Marketer: “Steal these email templates…

220. OptinMonster: “63-Point Checklist for Creating the Ultimate Optin Form

221. Digital Marketer: “A Native Ad in 60 Minutes or Less

222. Digital Marketer: “212 blog post ideas

223. Digital Marketer: “[EMAIL TEMPLATE] Fix your company’s biggest marketing issue

Market Hero email subject line

224. Ramit Sethi: “How to email a busy person (including a word-for-word script)

225. Digital Marketer: “Brand NEW (and free) Training: 3 Steps To a Perfect Offer

226. Digital Marketer: “[85% Off] 3 Proven Facebook Campaigns to Run Today…

227. OptinMonster: “Grow your email list 10X faster with these 30 content upgrade ideas

The Personalised Email Subject Line

It’s a pretty well known fact that personalised emails perform MUCH better than non-personalised ones. And similarly, personalised subject lines perform much better.

In fact, according to a study in 2015, emails with a person’s name in the subject line got 29.3% more opens!

Q1 2015 personalized subject lines bar chart

But don’t worry, you don’t have to use your subscriber’s names to personalize the subject line. The person’s location, time zone reference, events in the area work too! Additionally, you can also use casual language or share something personal and relatable with your audience.

228. John Lee Dumas: “Are you coming?

229. UrbanDaddy: “You’ve Changed

230. Bonnie Fahy: “Mary, do you remember me?

231. Influitive: “So I’ll pick you up at 7?

232. Kimra Luna: “I didn’t see your name in the comments!?

233. OptinMonster: “300% increase in revenue with a single optin + a neat growth trick from my mastermind!

234. Guess: “Mary, check out these hand-picked looks

235. Mary Fernandez: “you free this Thurs at 12PM PST? [guest blogging class]

236. James Malinchak: “Crazy Invitation, I am Going to Buy You Lunch…

237. Brooklinen: “Vanilla or Chocolate?

238. Sam from The Hustle: “I love you

239. Revolution Tea: “Thanks for helping us

240. Ryan Levesque: “Seriously, Who DOES This?

241. Rent the Runway: “Happy Birthday Mary – Surprise Inside!

242. Jon Morrow: “Quick favor?

243. Mary Fernandez: “? your detailed results…

244. Harry’s: “Two razors for your friends (on us)

245. Digital Marketer: “Did you get your book yet?

246. Digital Marketer: “G + L + F = 2X Your Sales

247. Digital Marketer: “You’re Invited

248. Digital Marketer: “Is this you?

249. Digital Marketer: “What happens when you’re approved?

The To-The-Point Email Subject Line

MailChimp did a subject line analysis, where they analysed 40 million marketing emails. The analysis found that descriptive and to-the-point email subject lines had the highest open rates.

Yes, simple subject lines that are perceived as “boring” in the industry tend to get really high opens.

So why do we all not just send straightforward emails? What was the point of the whole article above?

Formula for writing a to-the-points subject line: [Number] Lessons [I/We] Learned by [Action You Took]

Example: 100 lessons I learned by Vlogging for 3 years

The thing is, these straightforward subject lines are only to be used once in a while. And your other emails have to be a value bomb! This will make your subscriber used to opening your emails, thanks to the awesome value inside them.

And when the to-the-point subject line arrives, they would be so happy with your content already that they would gladly open your emails.

250. Barack Obama: “Hey

251. AYR: “Best coat ever

252. Al Franken: “Yes, this is a fundraising email

253. “Thanks for Joining – Here’s What’s on Sale

254. “Top 10 under $10

255. “212 Blog Post Ideas

Ask a Question

We are compelled to answer questions.

When we see a sentence with a question mark at the end, our brains automatically go to find an answer or at least think about what’s being asked.

You can use this to your advantage in your email subject lines.

Questions aren’t just a great way to get your subscribers thinking about something specific; they also feel incomplete on their own. This means that your readers are likely to feel inspired to open your email in an attempt to find the answer.

There’s another reason subject lines with questions in perform well. When you pose a question, your subscribers might not have thought about it at all - but guess what? Now they’re thinking about it.

Questions steer people’s minds in a specific direction without forcing them into something they don’t want to be forced into.

Take a leaf out of Strong Women, Strong Girls’ book and ask your subscribers a question that either they want to answer or that will get them thinking. They ask their readers “Who Was Wonder Woman’s Role Model?”

Wonder woman's role model subject line

256. IKEA: “Where do all these toys go?

257. Brooklinen: “Vanilla or Chocolate?

258. Ryan Levesque: “Seriously, who DOES this?

259. REI: “What did you think?

260. Zillow: “What can you afford?

261. Sky: “Ready for some festival fun?

262. Pocket: “Can you snack your way to better sleep?

263. BuzzSumo: “What backlinks are you getting?

264. Psychologies: “Do you play enough?

The Superiority Illusion

We’re not condoning that you make your subscribers feel bad about themselves, but giving them food for thought about things they might be doing wrong or things that they can improve can give your open rates a nudge in the right direction.

What is the Superiority Illusion?

When people are told that they’re not good at something (or that they could be doing it better), they instantly feel challenged and they want to do better. You can use this psychological concept to drive subscribers to open your emails to find out how they can be the best.

HP: “Stop wasting money on ink”

Evernote: “Stop wasting time on mindless work”

DigitalMarketer: “Let’s fix your offer”

LinkedIn: “Black Friday shoppers are the worst customers”

BuzzFeed: “Not cool, guys”

The Cliffhanger

When you’re watching your favorite show on Netflix and it ends on a cliffhanger, you can’t help but watch “just one more episode”.

The cliffhanger concept is incredibly powerful as people want to know what happens next. As humans, we don’t like the unknown and we’ll do anything within our power to actually find out what’s happening.

This is why using a cliffhanger in your subject line can be a great way to encourage your subscribers to click through into your emails.

The easiest way to do this is to make only half the subject line readable and then tack on ellipses at the end to force readers to open up to read the end of the sentence.

GetResponse: “Welcome to the crew! Join us inside the…”

Etsy: “Bring these home…”

Photobox: “Pair your wall art with this…”

Opodo: “Time is running out…”

Use Top Subject Line Keywords

Luckily for you, hundreds of studies have been done into which subject line keywords get the most attention and the most opens.

Most of the time, there’s no point reinventing the wheel, so why not stick to some of the tried-and-tested keywords to get those open rates up?

Alchemy Worx analyzed 21 billion emails sent by 2,500 brands to find out what the most effective subject line keywords are. The results are perhaps a little more surprising than you were expecting:

  • Jokes
  • Promotional
  • Congratulations
  • Revision
  • Forecast
  • Snapshot
  • Token
  • Voluntary
  • Monthly

On their own, these words don’t really tell us much, but you can always try slipping a few of them into your subject lines and seeing what kind of results you get.

What NOT to Do With Your Email Subject Lines

We’ve harped on a lot about what you should be doing with your email subject lines, but what about things you shouldn’t be doing?

Email is such a sensitive medium because it’s so personal that even the slightest error could have someone unsubscribing from your list quicker than you can say “sorry”.

The key thing is to avoid SPAM filters.

If your emails are fast-tracked to SPAM folders, you’re going to miss out on a hefty number of readers. There are a few key things you can do to avoid the dreaded SPAM tag:

a. Don’t use phrases like “winner” or “free money”

b. Avoid spelling errors

c. Don’t use all caps (not only does this alert SPAM filters, but it also puts readers
   off - no one wants to be shouted at in their inbox!)

d. Don’t deliberately mislead (a dash of curiosity is good, but don’t say one thing in
    your subject line and then another in the body of your email

Bonus Section: What the Top Influencers are Sending

If you want to become better, you need to keep learning from some of the top people in your space. Thanks to the internet, we now have so many people to learn from right at our fingertips giving us top notch information.

Listed below are some of the top subject lines from a few of our favorite influencers in the marketing industry.

Neil Patel

256. "Be a Better Copywriter: 7 Lessons From 4 Legendary Books"

257. "Don’t Get Fooled: 17 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company"

258. "A Step by Step Guide to Modern Broken Link Building"

259. "How to Cut Your Bounce Rate in Half with Interactive Content"

260. "Stop Guessing: Here’s a Social Media Strategy That Works"

261. "How to Create The Perfect Social Media Post"

262. "What Are The Best Times to Post on Social Media"

263. "100 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Blogging"

264. "How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Page"

265. "How to Influence Purchasing Decisions"

266. "Publishing Your Next Blog Post"

267. "What SEO Used to Be Versus What SEO Is Now"

268. "How to Write a Great Value Proposition"

269. "How to Get 247% More People to Read Your Content"

270. "How to Keep Your Readers on Your Blog Longer"


271. "REMINDER: Last day to upgrade for $100 off"

272. "LAST DAY: Join The Showrunner Course Before It Closes (and Becomes Recurring)"

273. "LAST DAY: Get a Free Migration to Better Hosting at a Lower Price"

274. "Time is Running Out to Join The Showrunner Podcasting Course"

275. "Get Our Proven, Step-by-Step Podcasting Course (While Registration is Open)"

276. "Webinar for you: Why People Fail When Creating Products"

277. "TWO HOURS LEFT: It’s Your Last Chance to Get Our Big Black Friday Discount"

278. "Migrate to Synthesis Free of Charge (Normally $99) This Week Only"

279. "Check out the 2015 Small Business Content Marketing Report"

280. "LAST CHANCE (90 min left): Then Monthly Billing for Rainmaker is Gone"

281. "Reminder: Lock in Monthly Billing for Rainmaker Today (Before It’s Gone)"

282. "Free Webinar: Build an Email List That Builds Your Business"

283. "Get a Massive Discount on the Studio"

284. "Press All-Theme Pack Before the Price Goes Way Up"

285. "ONLY TWO HOURS LEFT … Last Chance to Upgrade for $100 Off"

286. "Upgrade to Authority and save $100 (this week only …)"

Social Triggers

287. "The Proof: 18 people. 18 problems. 18 success stories stories."

288. "How I Got 26,778 Subscribers In 13 Months"

289. "How I Got 4,387 Subscribers In 47 Days"

290. "Am I really the “bad guy?”"

291. "Why I spent $25,000+ on a web design"

292. "97.3% of people said YES"

293. "Get to Yes: How to Make People Buy"

294. "Still need more subscribers?"

295. "How Saying No Will Change Your Life (Plus I’m Hiring 5 People)"

296. "The Secrets of “Profitable Online Courses”10,000 in 30 days?"

297. "Do it once. Use it forever."

298. "You’ll think I’m crazy…Struggling to make more sales? Follow these 2 simple steps…"

299. "If you sell online courses, open this (if you don’t, burn it with fire)"

Flash Sale Subject Lines:

Looking for subject lines for your upcoming flash sale?

300. Digital Marketer: "⚡[FLASH SALE] My 11-step business launch plan (and templates)"

301. HP: “Flash. Sale. Alert.

302. “[Flash Sale] 85% off our Podcast Launch Plan

303. Wayfair: These rugs are DURABLE (and on sale!) 👟💧🐕

Winter Email Subject Lines:

Warm up the winters with these winter email subject lines.

304. Warm up to winter with us this Saturday

305. Kickstart Your Holiday Shopping with Us!

306. Looking to get ahead of the holiday rush? Early sale starts now!

307. Your winter weather forecast: stress free shopping

308. Our best recipes for beating the cold

309. You don’t need to brave the cold, we deliver!

Summer Email Subject Lines:

Use these email subjects lines for your summer sales.

310. Don’t Miss These Summer Steals & Deals ☀️

311. Summer Treats Start Today

312. 🌼 $10 off our summer beauty scents

313. Old Navy: 60% OFF your summer essential

314. Summer New arrivals we know you’ll love 💖 + 15% Off

315. Surf’s Up! 🌊

4th of July Email Subject Lines

Use these email subjects lines for your summer sales.

316. Create a spark with these new products

317. 6 Big-Batch Cocktail Recipes for the Fourth of July

318. Open this email if you like 1) Hot dogs 2) Baseball 3) Savings

319. Happy Birthday USA

320. On a scale of one to America, how free are you tonight?

321. Uncle Sam wants YOU!… to open this email


I hope this massive list helped you out and gave you the inspiration you needed to write your own subject lines.

Now it’s your turn.

What are some of the top subject lines that you’ve come across and love that would make an awesome addition to this list?

This list is, and always will be, a work in progress. Post your favorite subject lines in the comments below, and I’ll surely add them into this article.


1) What is a good email subject line for a business email?

A good email subject line is something which is short & sweet, makes a genuine promise, tells what is inside, and is highly relevant.

2) What should be avoided while writing email subject lines?

A few things to be avoided while writing email subject lines are: a sender email to which one cannot reply such as a “no-reply” sender name, overt request for donations, spelling and grammatical errors, spam-trap words, all caps, many special characters, and misleading wording.

3) How can I write engaging email subject lines?

Some tips to write highly engaging email subject lines are: generating curiosity, emphasizing urgency, touch on the pain points, ask a question, and preferably use an emoji if it suits.

4) What are the various types of effective email subject lines in email marketing?

Some types of effective email subject lines in email marketing are:

  • Curiosity subject line
  • FOMO (Fear of missing out) subject line
  • The re-engagement/retargeting subject line
  • A witty/funny subject line
  • A social proof subject line