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Let’s cut the fluff — email subject lines are a crucial deciding factor when a subscriber considers opening your email or not. For this reason, leave nothing up to chance.
Optimizing your subject lines is an important part of any effective email marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll explain why this short snippet of text plays such a core role in campaign success and provide you with 150 top-notch subject line examples.
Email subject lines serve several important purposes. First, they tell subscribers what they can expect to find in the body of the email. As the name suggests, they give the subject of what’s to come. 💁♀️
Second, your subject lines should make subscribers want to open and read your email. Depending on what approach you take in a given email marketing campaign, the subject line should evoke anticipation, curiosity, excitement, helpfulness, or a sense of urgency.
Think of the subject line as a chance to pitch an idea to your audience. You’ve got a limited amount of time/text, so your message needs to come across directly and convincingly.
The third purpose of email subject lines may be easier to overlook than the first two. As short as subject lines are, they are still a form of content. This means you should pay careful attention to not only what you write but how you write it.
Let’s be real — not everyone will open your email. Even fewer will actually read the body of your email. But most of your subscribers will read the subject line, even if unconsciously. Scrolling through inboxes, subscribers scan and take in three things without even opening an email: the sender name, subject line, and preview text.
For the people on your email list, the habit of reading the sender name and subject line consecutively contributes to how they view your business, i.e., your brand image. While it may seem like a small thing, even your subject line plays a role in building and maintaining your brand image.
For this reason, making sure your subject line embodies your brand’s personality should be a top priority. ⚠️
What does this mean in practice? Well…
If your brand is friendly, happy-go-lucky, and approachable, then your subject line should be that way too. Use emojis to demonstrate your up-beat energy. Make jokes to come across as easy-going and accessible. Tell your email list what this email has to offer in a direct and helpful way.
If your brand is more serious, exclusive, and bespoke, emojis may not be what you’re looking for. Instead, consider personalizing your subject lines to address contacts by their first name. Try writing something that captures your subscribers’ attention and sparks their curiosity.
All of this is to say that email subject lines are worth spending some time on. Don’t be tempted to blow by this small yet important piece of content! ✍️
In general, we recommend subject lines be no longer than 60 characters, or 6-8 words. There is some flexibility here, as different email clients have different display limits for subject lines. Take a look at this table for specifics:
|Email client||Number of characters|
To make sure your email list sees the same version of the emoji(s) as you, it’s a good idea to run a test. Send yourself and some colleagues a test email and see how your content looks on desktop, mobile devices, and tablets as well as on different email clients.
Now, you may be looking to up your subject line-game to boost open rates for cold emails. And at some level, this makes sense. Cold emails are the least likely to be opened, but you can assume recipients will at least take a look at the subject line, right?
Cold emailing and email marketing are two different things. Because cold emailing campaigns are not opt-in (recipients didn’t subscribe to your email list), you run the risk of damaging your sender reputation.
Email clients like Google, Apple, and Outlook use spam filters to block unsolicited content from reaching the inbox. They also flag the senders of this unsolicited content as unreliable or untrustworthy, meaning it’s less likely your future messages will reach inboxes. 😔
Email marketing providers like Sendinblue typically don’t support cold emailing for this reason. It damages your email deliverability and it’s not fair to clutter the inboxes of unsuspecting email users.
That said, cold emailing is a legit practice, especially for sales teams. If you’re looking for more cold emailing content, take a look at this article. Otherwise, we’ll keep discussing subject lines for email marketing purposes here. ☺️
Speaking of emails arriving in inboxes, now’s a good time to discuss deliverability and subject lines. Email deliverability is a large topic, and there are many factors affecting it.
Sender reputation, list hygiene, and soft/hard bounces all play a role in your overall email deliverability. Where email subject lines come into play is with spam filters.
Email clients use spam filters to identify unsolicited content and block it from landing in the inbox. If your subject line reads like spam, it won’t do any favors for your deliverability. 🙅♀️
To prevent your subject line triggering spam filters, try avoiding:
Basically, a good email subject line can help with deliverability insofar as it grabs the attention of your audience and not spam filters.
Your subject line plays the lead role in boosting your email open rate, even more than the body of the email itself. (Your audience can’t read the email content if they don’t open it 😉).
Much of the deliverability best practices we discussed above can help you get higher open rates. Be careful not to come across as overly promotional, spammy, or too good to be true.
Instead, aim to fulfill the three purposes of email subject lines we mentioned at the beginning of this article:
All that in 60 characters or less. Easy peasy, right? 🍋 Keep reading for 150 examples to get your creative juices flowing!
Before we get into the examples, we should also mention how segmentation and personalization can help elevate your subject lines.
Segmenting your contacts into sub-lists helps you send more relevant and targeted content to your subscribers. Think about grouping contacts into lists based on attributes like geographical location, age, job position, content preferences, or how often they’d like to be contacted.
Once you have defined segments of your email list, you can create different subject lines for each segment. The result is a more targeted message and, in theory, more email opens.
Email personalization allows for even more targeted content. Including subscribers’ first names in your subject lines is a great way to catch their attention and make your email stand out from the rest. As well, it helps your business come across as more personal and human than a generic marketing email would.
Now that you’ve got some background on what makes a great email subject line, it’s time to share some examples! Most of these come from real brands’ marketing campaigns. They’re tried and tested. The rest come from the brains of the marketing experts at Sendinblue. 👩🔬
When reading through all these examples, it’s important to keep in mind that what works for one brand may not work for yours. It all depends on your brand personality, how you communicate with your audience, and how they view you.
To start off, here are some ideas for welcome email subject lines. To welcome new subscribers to your email list, you likely want to give them a friendly introduction to your business. Your subject line can help with this by picking up where you left off at the signup form or confirmation email.
Try thinking of welcome email subject lines as a quick follow-up to thank the new subscriber for joining your list. You may be surprised by how much this can help with maintaining engaged contacts. And the best part, email automation makes welcome messages like this a piece of cake.
Check out our article about writing effective welcome emails to learn more!
Playing to your audience’s fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful subject line tactic. Of course, you don’t want to make anyone feel bad. Moreso, hinting at the idea of exclusivity and the possibility of losing your chance is a convincing way to get subscribers to open emails.
Next, we have a list of personal and personalized email subject line examples. As we mentioned above, personalizing your subject lines is a great way to connect with your audience in a more human way.
This doesn’t always have to be using subscribers’ first names. Personal subject lines can also mean reaching out to your audience in a friendly way. Take a look 👀
Another powerful strategy is to create a sense of urgency in your subject lines. Your email recipients are more likely to click open if it’s the last chance to save on a certain item or if there’s limited time to benefit from an offer.
This is not to say you should create a false sense of urgency. Don’t turn your subject line into clickbait by saying “limited time offer!” when in reality you’re just sending your monthly newsletter. 🙅♂️
This type of subject line should be saved for real promotions and peak business periods. If all your subject lines look like this, your emails will be more likely to end up in the spam folder. 😔
Playing to your audience’s sense of curiosity also helps boost open rates. This tactic is a reliable and sustainable way to engage your audience in the subject line. It’s also easy to use curiosity as a way to preview what’s to come in the rest of the email, which is, after all, the whole point of a subject line! 😉
If you’ve been using curiosity-inspiring subject lines without much success, consider doing some A/B testing to see if there’s an alternative approach that works better for your audience.
Addressing your customers’ pain points in the subject line tells them you’re here to help. If a brand offers to make a consumer’s life easier in some way, it sends a strong and friendly message.
Think carefully about how your business can help and provide value to your subscribers. In addition, these subject lines lend themselves nicely to segmentation, as it’s likely that different segments of your email list have different pain points. 🤔
Question subject lines are similar to ones inspiring curiosity. ❓ They work well because subscribers want to know the answer to a question, be it in the email or on your website.
Holidays are a good time to show another side of your brand by embracing a celebratory spirit. As well, holidays tend to be popular shopping times, meaning your email marketing strategy should definitely lean into the festivities.
If you’re looking for more holiday themed subject lines, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our other subject line content:
This type of subject line is pretty self explanatory. Sometimes, it’s best to be direct and tell your audience what you’ve got to offer at the moment.
Last but certainly not least, carefully crafted reengagement email subject lines are crucial to any effective email marketing strategy. Re-engaging inactive contacts on a regular basis helps maintain the quality of your email list and saves you money in the long run. (New customers almost always cost more than engaging inactive ones). 🤑
… we hope you’ve got a better idea of how to create your own effective email subject lines! As we’ve said before, do not overlook this small yet important piece of content. It serves to grab the reader’s attention and make a first impression for each of your marketing campaigns.
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