Blog: Unpacking 9 great examples of email subject lines

Here's nine examples of subject lines that get their messages opened, and analysis on why they work.

We're going to take a deep dive into nine subject lines that have proven successful for email marketers and understand exactly what's driving their success.

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(We've also put some of the most common approaches below - be sure to experiment with emoji relevant to your own subject line for the best results.)

Example 1: Using humor

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A joke to make you laugh

Using humor as a route to encourage people to open your emails is a proven tactic; some research suggests emails that included the word "joke" or "jokes" were amongst the most-opened of all messages. Now it's not always easy to see how your brand has a right-to-win with humor; but perhaps you can tie this in to a time of the year, for example April Fools' Day, and bring a smile to your potential customers?

Example 2: Using FOMO

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⏰ Time is running out...

FOMO - the fear of missing out - is an extremely powerful motivator for email subject lines. Nobody wants to be the last to know, and nobody wants to have lost a great opportunity to save money or get an exclusive deal. So using a subject line that makes it clear that time is limited will help you drive action, and fast!

Example 3: Personalisation

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NAME, your exclusive offers await

To every person in every language, according to Dale Carnegie, the sweetest sound is that of their own name. So it's no surprise that tailoring an email subject line to include the recipient's name is a great tactic to get the message opened and read. If your business is a little more formal, perhaps think of changing this from forename to a courteous "Mr. X" or "Ms. Y" - but always be aware of an individual's preferences.

Example 4: Problem solving

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15 ways to grow your business

By keeping your email subject line short, sweet and fully focused on the benefit that the reader will gain by reading it, you're more likely to have them open your message. Don't over-complicate things and always think about what's in it for them - be relentlessly focused on what your recipient will get from the message.

Example 5: Opportunity to gain

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Get priority access

At some level, most of us admit to a certain degree of selfishness when it comes to commerce. So it's understandable that emails which mention an opportunity to gain something out-perform those that don't. In this example, the gain is the chance for priority access to a sale or promotion; but the principle can equally apply wherever the potential customer stands to benefit. Make them feel like a VIP and they're bound to want to know more.

Example 6: Being contrary

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Ignore this message

Everyone's a rebel at heart. Be honest: if you saw this message in your inbox you'd open it, wouldn't you? Of course by having such a generic subject line you'll have to do even more hard work on your body copy to drive conversions. But you're good at this stuff and I'm confident that won't be a problem. So overcome the first hurdle in style, and use a contrary email subject line to get the most people opening your message.

Example 7: Aesthetics and health

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Look pretty this Summer

Appealing to your readers' wishes to look and feel good is a time-tested way to their heart. We all want to be better looking, more fit, more productive - so if your message can help do this, make sure it's clear from the subject line.

Example 8: Seasonality

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🌹 Roses are red...

Whatever you do, don't miss out on key seasonal trends like Christmas, Valentines' Day, Mothers' Day and more. These are key purchasing opportunities and your brand has to be in your potential customers' inbox for a chance to sell. Given how crowded things can get at those times of year, you'll need to stand out - for example, you might want to use emoji in your email subject lines to shout a little louder.

Example 9: Curiosity (or nosiness..?)

Somewhere between curiosity and nosiness lies a powerful instinct for gossip. Think of yourself as a tabloid newspaper writer, making a headline for an article that will get readers interested. How can you find a topic that's relevant to your business but also rather intriguing? That's the challenge!

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