Want to stand out in your recipients’ inbox? So that you can get more opens? And more click? In this guide, we’ll show you how to create stellar email subject lines.
How many emails do you receive per day? If you’re like most people, your answer should be somewhere between 20 and 60.
That’s a lot of emails. And you probably don’t have time to read them all. So you’re most likely going to open a few of them. And ignore the others. Possibly forever.
How do you choose which email you’ll read? Usually, your decision will be based on 3 small pieces of information:
- The email subject line
- The sender’s name
- The preheader
Which means that if you can improve these elements, your email marketing efforts will generate better results.
In today’s guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about subject lines. Including how to write the *best email subject lines ever.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- What is an email subject line?
- Why are email subject lines so important?
- How to write great email subject lines
- 60 of the best email subject line examples
- How to avoid the most common subject line mistakes
What is an email subject line?
Let’s start with the basics. A subject line is a short line of text that appears at the top of your email. It works kind of like a title.
Here’s what a subject line looks like in your prospect’s inbox (in Gmail) before they open your email ⤵️
And here’s how it looks once they’ve opened your email ⤵️
Why are email subject lines so important?
Your subject line can make or break your emailing campaign. It’s often the first thing your recipient will see when they receive your email. And if you don’t come up with a great subject line, it might also be the last.
According to statistics, 47% of people decide to open emails (or not) based on subject lines alone. Meaning that it doesn’t matter if you’ve written the best email in the world. If your email subject line is mediocre, half of your recipients won’t even open it.
There’s more. Studies have shown that 69% of recipients decide if they’ll report an email as spam after reading the subject line. So your subject line might be the only thing standing between your email and their junk folder.
To top it off, your recipients are not the only ones you must convince with your subject line. Most email service providers (ESPs) have automatic spam filters. And these filters take into account the content of your subject line.
✔️ More likely to be opened
✔️ Less likely to be flagged as spam
✔️ Which in turn should lead to more clicks.
How to write great email subject lines
There’s a science to writing email subject lines that get opens. We could write an entire book about how to create stellar email subjects. And we might just do it one day.
But for now, we’ll share 4 proven tactics with you. Use them in your next email campaign. And watch your open rates go (way) up.
1. Make it enticing
You can make your email subject line more appealing by promising a strong benefit. Try to get in your prospect’s shoes. And think of something they really want. Can you deliver it to them?
Your subject line needs to answer the question: What’s in it for them?. Why should they click on your email? Give them a reason to care about what you have to say. And try to be as specific as you can.
Here are a few examples of benefit-focused subject lines:
- He earns $2000/day on his own (here’s how)
- How we grew our list by 2,300 subscribers in just days
- You’re sitting on a $100,000+ digital product
Another great way to write subject lines that get more opens is to spark your recipients’ curiosity.
The key here is to create a curiosity gap by giving them just enough information to make them want to know more. Intriguing questions work well too.
Here are a few examples of curiosity subject lines:
- Become 5x more productive with…
- Life gets crazy. So I saved this for you.
- Is this writing technique magic?
But don’t fall into the trap of click-bait. Your email needs to deliver on your subject line’s promise.
Otherwise your recipients may open your email once. But they will ignore your next messages. And maybe even unsubscribe from your mailing list.
2. Make it short
Keep it short and simple. A lot of people read their email on mobile devices. If your email subject line is too long, it may be truncated. And your recipients won’t be able to understand what your message is about.
According to a study from Marketo, the ideal email subject line length is about 41 characters. In this experiment, emails with 7 words in the subject line generated the most clicks.
3. Make it urgent
Last but not least, you can generate more opens by adding a sense of urgency to your email subject line.
The easiest way to do that is to emphasize scarcity. We all have an inherent fear of missing out (FOMO). And marketers know that.
You can use time-based scarcity:
- Last days : 6 months at $4,95 / month
- Flash sale. Ending. Now.
- 90 mins left
Or inventory-based scarcity:
- Only 5 seats left
- They’re going quick
- Tickets are almost sold out
While this marketing tactic is a powerful way to prompt your recipient to act, it should be used carefully. You don’t want to be seen as too pushy. Or to be that brand that always has “final chance” promotions going on.
Make sure to pair your subject line with a strong preheader. The preheader is a short text displayed right after the subject line. It’s like a preview of your email. And you can use it to elaborate on your subject line.
Here’s an example of a great subject line + preheader combo:
Subject Line: Do you like it shirty?
Preheader: We bet you do! Here’re 6 summer shirt icons you need to know about
(Source: Essence of email)
60+ best email subject line examples
Need some help to write an email title that will convince more people to open your emails? In this section, we’ve gathered 60 of the best email subject lines we’ve come across so far. Feel free to use them as inspiration for your next emailing campaign.
Cold Email Subject Lines
Cold emailing is tough. The open rate is low. And the reply rate even lower. We’ve written a complete guide to show you how to send great cold emails directly from your Gmail account. And it starts with finding the perfect subject line. Here are a few examples to kickstart your cold email strategy:
- Check this out, [First Name]
- [First Name], I have an idea for [objective]
- Can I help you with [specific goal]?
- Quick question for you, [First Name]
- Idea for [topic the prospect cares about]
- Congrats on [latest achievement]!
- [First Name], need help with [Pain Point]?
- [First Name], looking to improve [Topic]?
- Quick favor?
- (no subject)
Newsletter Subject Lines
Newsletters are one of the best ways to stay in touch with your prospects and customers. The problem is that every company knows that. So they’ve all launched their own newsletter. And your recipients’ inbox is now a veeery crowded place. To stand out from the competition, you need a great subject line. Like the ones below:
- Want a pick at our next collection?
- Don’t open this email
- How to [objective]
- 3 mistakes people make when they try to [goal]
- You deserve this, [First Name]
- A surprise gift for you!
- Struggling with [goal]? I created a 1-page guide to help.
- We’ve got some BIG news today!
- 5 options to get started on your [goal]
- 8 ideas to [benefit]
Want to become a newsletter master? We’ve written a step-by-step guide to show you how you can send top-notch newsletters right from your Gmail account.
Networking Email Subject Lines
Networking emails are a powerful tool to expand your professional network, connect with people working in your industry and seek new career opportunities. So you’d better pick the best email subject lines for your networking emails. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Let’s connect, [First Name]
- 15 minutes this week?
- Hey [First Name], remember me?
- Free for coffee, [First Name]?
- Will I see you at [event]?
- [First Name], interested in your thoughts on [topic]
- Had a great time at [event]
- [First Name], wanna grab lunch?
- You’re invited
- Free to talk at [date]?
Follow up email subject lines
Today’s world is full of distractions. And it’s common for emails to go unnoticed. Which is why follow ups are such a powerful tool. According to research, sending a single follow-up email can increase your response rate by up to 65.8%. Crazy, right? Here are some great follow up email subject lines that you can steal from us:
- Here’s that info I promised you
- RE: Question
- [First Name], can we chat again soon?
- Our next steps
- I got this for you
- [First Name], I forgot to mention…
- What would it take?
- Still need help with [topic]?
- Here’s what I’ll do
- Last try, [First Name]
If you want to learn more about this topic, we’ve also written a complete guide to show you how to write a killer follow up email.
Sales email subject lines
Email marketing has a great ROI. On average, for every $1 spent on email marketing brands generate $36. Want to drive more business with your sales email? Take your email marketing to the next level with a great subject line. We’ve listed some of our best email subject lines below:
- BOOM! This is how you get more [goal]
- [First Name], Earn double points today only
- Don’t let this $10 bonus get away!
- Time is running out…
- Final call to save up to $15
- Your discount is about to expire.
- Everyone’s gonna ask you about these
- Still undecided? This might help.
- Combine [company] and [your company name] SEO efforts
- Can I make your life 25% easier?
Abandoned cart email subject lines
Abandoned cart emails are a cash machine. And we believe every e-commerce should use them. Mostly because they’re a great way to re-engage your prospects and increase your conversion rate. Here are some of the best email subject lines we’ve seen for abandoned cart emails:
- In case you missed these…
- Still interested in that deal, [First Name]?
- Hey, forgot something? Here’s 20% off.
- The price dropped for something in your cart
- Pick up where you left off, [First Name]
- Did something go wrong?
- Only one step left!
- You left something behind…
- Your cart is about to expire
- You’re so close!
How to avoid the most common subject line mistakes
A lot of marketers and sales rep make the same mistakes when they try to come up with the best email subject lines. And those mistakes can completely destroy your open rates. So here’s a short reminder ⤵️
1. Avoid spam words.
Spam trigger are words or expressions that email service providers (such as Gmail or Outlook) see as red flags. Whenever it’s possible, you should avoid using them in your email subject lines.
Most spam keywords fall into one of these 5 main types of spam words:
- Exaggerated claims
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of spam words. You can check it here to make sure your emails steer clear of the spam filters.
We’ve also created an online spam checker. Feel free to use this tool to ensure your emails won’t land in your recipients’ junk folder.
2. Test your subject lines
There is no foolproof way to know if a subject line is going to perform well or not. You can start by following the email subject line best practices mentioned above, of course. But some subject lines break these rules and still work great.
So the n°1 rule of email marketing is test, test an test. You can do that by using an A/B test tool (Mailmeteor does that great).
Write at least 2 subject lines for every email you send. And try each of them on a small segment of your mailing list to see which one performs better.
We’ve created a free subject line tester. You can use this tool to see how your subject lines performs. Checks are made at multiple levels to make sure your email will be well received by your audience:
- Spam words
- Number of words
- Presence of emojis
Our tool will also provide you with alternative subject lines. So it’s up to you to pick the best email subject line for your next email campaign.
Here’s how the subject line tester works ⤵️
Happy sending :)
This guide was written by Paul Anthonioz, content editor at Mailmeteor. Mailmeteor is a simple & privacy-focused emailing software. Trusted by millions of users worldwide, it is often considered as the best tool to send newsletters with Gmail. Give us a try and let us know what you think!