10 Email Subject Lines That Work

10 Email Subject Lines That Work

Onur Genes

Updated At 28 Nov 2022

Email subject line is something that is seen first by the people. With more than 4 billion people using email and 376 billion emails being sent every day it is really important to have a catchy subject line. In this article, we are going to cover 10 ways to write highly engaging email subject lines that work.

According to HubSpot , over 47% of all marketers test different subject lines to optimize email performance. This is enough reason to spend some additional time crafting your subject line for your next email.

The subject line in an inbox is like a profile picture on social media. It is the first thing that your customer will see, and if it's not composed right, it could also be the last thing.

What is the email subject line?

When an email arrives in a recipient's inbox, the subject line is the first text they see after your sender's name. This can be considered as the title of the email.

Often it is a summary of the entire mail in just a few words or it describes what is in the email. If you want to stand out, especially with a cold emails, you have to have short, catchy, and informative.

How to create an email subject line?

First, we are going to cover some basic things you have to keep in mind before starting your subject line. The most important, probably, is the length. The longest subject line is in Outlook 2010 Compact which allows up to 73 characters before it cuts off. Gmail allows 70 characters, Thunderbird 66 characters, and Yahoo 46 characters.

But real problems are mobile phones that can go as low as 27 characters. This is a real problem. This means we have to cover a lot of things in just 27 characters. iPhone allows 41 characters which is much better.

This is the reason why you need to spend some time crafting the subject line. We have built this guide so it can help you do it much faster and more efficiently.

Types of subject lines

Everything has a type, and so do subject lines. We're going to divide them into several groups and see what kind of messages does each of these groups sends. We will also provide you with some examples of each of them so you can use them in your cold email campaigns.

Personal subject lines

Personal subject lines that include names are opened 10-16% more often than the others. This is due to the fact that people love to hear/read their names.

But using a person's name is not the only way to make a personal subject line. You can also use their nicknames, casual language, copy that shows friendship, etc.

Personalizing your subject line is a great way to establish more stable and firm relationships with your customers.

Here are some examples of personal subject lines:

  • "Hey Mary, have you seen this?"

  • "This is for you"

  • "Let's boost your business, Christy"

  • "Thanks for showing support"

  • "Will this work for you?"

  • "John, let's do this"

  • "Have you seen this?"

  • "Your friends chose us"

  • "Fw: Clark's email"

  • "Let me help you"

Curiosity subject lines

We're curious species, aren't we? Otherwise how would have all these great inventions and science if we weren't, right? You can make your subject line a little more interesting by using "cliffhanger". Cliffhanger is a technique where you leave your customer only half-informed, so they have to open an email to get the other part of the information.

People hate when they're left in dark and they'll do anything to find out the remaining "piece of the puzzle". You should exploit this fact and make your emails irresistible.

Here are some examples of curiosity subject lines:

  • "Is this gonna last?"

  • "Please, don't open this"

  • "3 things I learned from monks about marketing"

  • "My new toy [VIDEO]"

  • "This is the reason why kids are getting rich fast!"

  • "If they can do it, you can also"

  • "For you, only"

  • "Do you also do this, it's so cool"

  • "How many of these do you need?"

  • "Just wait till you see these oranges"

Fear of missing out subject lines

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is one of the strongest feelings you can evoke in your customers. If you convey your message right and craft your cold email subject line right, your campaign is going to bring you a lot of success.

There are also other twists you can add to your FOMO subject lines. You can use exclusivity to solidify your subject line even more. Words like "only", "private", "privileged", and "restrictive". You can also add a time-sensitivity twist like "urgent", "time-limited", "due date", "expire", etc. Another twist you can add is some kind of limit like "only x parts available", "x pieces left", "x% full", etc.

Here are some examples of FOMO subject lines:

  • "50% sale only tonight"

  • "5 hours till this great offer expires"

  • "For professionals, only"

  • "Don't miss this awesome deal"

  • "5 figure deal, 5 spots left"

  • "Hurry, 95% of slots filled"

  • "Code for 90% discount"

  • "Open this, or regret it for the rest of your life"

  • "Invitation only: most successful marketing course"

  • "URGENT, we're deleting this video today"

Funny subject lines

We're living in a world where everything is going fast, and people usually spend days focused on their jobs. Everything is serious, tensions and stakes are high, and people need some outlet. Something that will help them feel better and relax.

If you manage to make your customers laugh, most likely they will reward you by opening your email. This is also some kind of FOMO subject line and curiosity subject line. They probably expect and they're curious whether you have more jokes inside.

Here are some examples of funny subject lines:

  • "Offer that makes us proud, unlike our friend John"

  • "Only Chuck Norris knows what's inside"

  • "Swipe right on us"

  • "Netflix password?

  • "C'mon, it's Friday and you're killing time anyway"

  • "Don't invite Steve to that meeting. He'll dress like a ghost."

  • "Pairs nicely with spreadsheets"

  • "Need a day at the beach?"

  • "Since we can't all win the lottery"

  • "Dad jokes. I've got'em"

Pain point subject lines

Maybe the only way to get customers, 100%, is to prove to them that you can solve their problems. No matter what that problem is, they'll appreciate it. After all, we create our products around problems.

But you have to take care of two things:

  1. Don't oversell it

  2. Keep in mind that different people have different pain points. So you may want to segment your subscribers

Here are some examples of pain point subject lines:

  • "Free your time with 3 simple things"

  • "Improve your productivity with this tool"

  • "All passwords in one place"

  • "Rank high on Google"

  • "Snickers that last"

  • "Easy way to preserve your food"

  • "From web to app in 5 minutes"

  • "Monetize your blog now"

  • "Save money with one trick"

  • "Let us worry about marketing"

Catchy subject lines

Cold email subject lines are a mix of science, art, and ingenuity. There is no luck in crafting subject lines, only in whether your customer will open that email or not. And no matter how great your subject line is, it will not work for every customer.

But one great technique that will have a great success rate is to use catchy subject lines. They're working because they're funny, intriguing, and possibly even curious.

If you're playing with the idea of a humorous and catchy subject line, be careful not to overdo it. It is really easy to mess things up if you're not aware of boundaries.

Here are some examples of catchy subject lines:

  • "Your marketing sucks: Why you need to think local"

  • "Why your 5-year-old is more digital than most CMOs"

  • "Pet training best practices need a redo: Here's why"

  • "2022 Ecommerce trends: the old & new, tried & true"

  • "New arrivals! Seriously cool (warm) jackets."

  • "Hmm, no posts last week? [Tips if you're stuck!]"

  • "Oops Bruce did it again"

  • "10 things you didn't know about churn"

  • "John stop freezing, wear our jacket"

  • "Your socks suck, use these shoes"

Open-ended questions subject lines

The open-ended question subject line is similar to the curious subject line. You want to leverage the human need to know what's next, what's going to happen. Don't go over the line though, it's very easy with these types of subject lines.

Also, if you asked a question make sure you give the answer or to give the reason why you asked that question. Especially because people may consider it clickbait. And it's clickbait only if the content is not good enough.

Here are some examples of open-ended subject lines:

  • "Have you tried this tool?"

  • "What do you think of this backpack?"

  • "Is this gonna work?"

  • "Who owns your data now?"

  • "Do you need this feature?"

  • "Who are your ancestors?"

  • "Have you downloaded this marketing handbook?"

  • "How did you find us?"

  • "Can you help me with this?"

  • "How to grow on social media fast?"

Commanding subject lines

Even though it may seem counter-intuitive in the beginning, these lines actually work because they call to action. Almost every button you ever clicked said "Sign up!", "Buy", "Preorder", and probably no button ever said "Would you please sign up?", "Can you please buy this?", "How do you feel about preordering this product?".

This is because you make your customers do something. People want change, people want solutions to their problems. If you convinced them that you have the solution they will click.

Here are some examples of commanding subject lines:

  • "Join us now"

  • "Sign in before it's too late",

  • "Buy this software"

  • "Preorder your book"

  • "Secure your spot"

  • "Order these tires"

  • "Improve your marketing"

  • "Boost your sales"

  • "Lower your taxes"

  • "Join the XY course"

Feel special subject lines

We all want to feel special. We all want to hear/see somebody's values us. This has several reasons and we don't have time or space to go into them. One of the reasons is vanity and/or superiority. People want to feel superior, like they're better than others, at least in one thing. Another reason is power. If you give special treatment to somebody deep down they'll have a sense of power.

Also, people will feel flattered. And no matter what they say, people love to feel that someone is flattering them. If we say to you now "We think you're a really smart person", it feels nice, doesn't it?

Here are some examples of special treatment subject lines:

  • "Special offer just for you"

  • "We prepared these for you"

  • "You're gonna look beautiful in this dress"

  • "Everyone is going to talk about your car"

  • "Your eyes are really important to us"

  • "You're invited"

  • "Be part of this exquisite group"

  • "Discount coupons for our special customers"

  • "We love what you do"

  • "List of tweets that you'll love"

Compact subject lines

Sometimes it is the best just go straight to the point. Without additional explanations or twists.

Here are some examples of compact subject lines:

  • "45% sale on jeans"

  • "Coupon codes for vacation with us"

  • "Decals for your car"

  • "Ergonomic mouses"

  • "5 designs for your social media"

  • "Our favorite marketing tools"

  • "Socks for winter"

  • "Concrete drills"

  • "Free website templates"

  • "Download our marketing handbook"

What works the best?

There is no real answer to this question because it depends on the person, brand, product, and a lot of other factors. What we can tell you for sure is that you have to test different kinds of cold email subject lines on your customers and try to figure out what works the best.

Keep in mind, though, that you can't really always use one technique or one subject line. You need to find a deeper connection between your subject lines and your customers. For example, if your product is more expensive than most of your competition, then you probably need to play on exclusivity.

If your customers are mostly analytical people then you should probably use numbers in your subject lines. Something that they can relate to.

But if you want to really nail your cold emailing campaigns then you should use personalization. Our tool, Nureply, creates personalized email subject lines and the first lines of your emails in seconds. If you want to speed up your workflow, you can always use AI subject lines to make your emails better.

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