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Perfect Email Subject Line —Best Practices, Tips & Examples

An email subject line, while looking like a relatively simple topic on the outside, is also something that inspires writer’s block in the best of email marketers.

Feb 21, 2022 - By Luka Pipiraite

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” While appropriate for his time, William Shakespeare would have been very wrong applying this philosophy to an email subject line.

An email subject line, while looking like a relatively simple topic on the outside, is also something that triggers writer’s block in the best of email marketers. And getting it right is essential for a highly influencing factor in the success of an email marketing campaign.

In this article, we take a deep dive into all things “email subject line”—what it is, the components of an effective email subject line, suggestions and tips to get them right, and some great email subject line examples thrown in for good measure.

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What is an Email Subject Line anyways?

Your email’s subject line is the one-liner text that appears (usually in bold) inside your recipient’s inbox. Think of your email subject line as the introduction to your email, the title of your book, or the main headline of your landing page.

Your sender name is the “From” name that appears to the display’s left (or top if viewing on mobile).

The Snippet text is optional, also referred to as the second subject line or email preheader. However, it engages the email subject line’s context and provides additional information that may persuade the recipient to open the mail.

Why is Getting the Email Subject Line Right so Important?

Some glaring statistics regarding how vital subject lines are in the real world.

  • 69% of email recipients report emails as spam after reading the subject line. (Invesp, 2021)
  • Research reveals that 33% of email recipients open emails because of catchy subject lines. (OptinMonster, 2020)
  • 64% decide to open emails based on subject lines. (Barilliance, 2021)

The only way for your email message to generate revenue is if people click the link inside it. This will happen after your subscribers have read the email. Only when an email is opened will it be read. 

All the effort you put into writing that email and scheduling that campaign ideally has meaning only when the email gets clicked and opened. 

So, your only goal, to begin with, would be to get your subscribers to open your emails. And your email subject line is the most significant factor influencing opens.

Some reasons why you should spend some time getting your email subject lines right:

  1. Get more opens
  2. Gain more inbox landings (a good subject line reduces chances of being marked spam)
  3. More engagement increased sales and revenue

Components of the Perfect Subject Line

The “holy grail of subject lines” does not exist. Period. But safe to say that some aspects of a subject line could make your emails more irresistible and compelling to open.

And while it’s near impossible for you to use all of them at a time, the idea is to inspire you to pick up and implement what makes sense for your email campaign objectives and niche contextually.

Below are the most prominent ones that could end up helping you make your winning email subject lines.

Urgency

Indicating urgency in an email can cause the subscriber to pay close attention and even open it more often than not.

Something of value that’s also available for a limited time only always attracts attention and draw opens. The subscriber is under pressure now because this offer will not be around forever.

The two most common ways of inducing urgency would be first to have a cutoff date for the offer you are making, and secondly offer a high-value bonus to a limited number of first action takers.

Curiosity

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s also made business millions of dollars in sales revenue. The idea here is to combine your subject line and the snippet text that follows to pique the reader’s interest and create curiosity.

Curiosity is one of the most impactful elements of compelling storytelling. So there’s no reason why you cannot use it to start a conversation, or in this case, use it in your email subject line.

Irresistible Offer

An offer is about so much more than just the pricing or discount percentage. On the contrary, a great offer often makes the prospect stop looking at the price because the value they’ll be getting in return for what they pay is unbelievable, and they don’t want to miss out.

According to David Bell, a marketing professor at the Wharton School, “a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that reduces the price by $10.

Digital marketers and business owners who have worked on campaigns for ecommerce businesses will readily agree that FREE shipping is a great selling point.

Simply mention this in the subject line of your email and watch not only the opens but also the click-throughs go through the roof.

Personalization

People, in general, are attracted to and show concern for things they can relate to. Personalization is a great way to attract someone’s attention by simply mentioning their personal details, making your business look more “familiar” and “personable” to them.

The most common way to do this in the subject line would be to call out their first name or location (if relevant to your campaign).

Your email marketing tool will allow you to add personalization by incorporating a personalization tag. For example, in Sender’s email tool, this looks like “{$firstname}, and it can be used in the subject line, snippet text as well as email body.

Relevancy

Staying relevant in your subject line is super important. However, in the quest for added creativity, if the subject line ends up becoming something bizarre and unrelatable for your prospect, you lose their trust. Worst case scenario, subscribers could even mark you as spam.

17 Best Practices & Tips to Create Effective Email Subject Lines

Here are some proven email subject line practices to help you start creating professional subject lines that compel readers to open the email.

  • Keep it short like a CTA (Call to Action).

Limit your obsessive-compulsive itch to make a grammatically correct subject line. Sometimes “less is more”. So avoid the fluff and keep it to the point. Remember that clear and short is always better than clever and long.

  • Avoid usage of “spammy” words and phrases.

Your first goal should be to land in your subscriber’s inbox consistently. Unfortunately, using spammy words such as Free, Invest, Money, Click here, Call now, Best price, Deal, Order now, Guarantee cause email service providers to mark your email as spam, thereby ensuring it lands in the recipient’s Spam or Promotion folders.

  • Ask questions to open up the prospect’s mind to possibilities. For example, “Need more leads?” or “Looking to improve your digital marketing ROI?”.
  • Add urgency—by highlighting a deadline for the offer or using power words such as “Hurry” and “Now”. For example, “Last two days only.”
  • Include scarcity—because human beings always want more of anything in short supply. For example, “10% OFF Coupon for 1st 1000 Shoppers only”. 
  • Use personalization.
  • 50% – the increase in open rates of emails with personalized subject lines. (Marketing Dive)

Just a tiny dose, and you should be fine. Overdo it, and you will start to appear creepy. For example, the subject line of a cart abandonment email could be “{firstname}, did you leave this behind?”.

  • Quantify. Quantify. Quantify—include a number wherever possible. Human beings are uncontrollably drawn to numbers. For example, “3 Proven Ways to Get your Email marketing ROI back on track”.
  • Optimize for mobile devices. Keep it under 50 characters to avoid getting cut off on mobile devices, and around 6-7 words for optimal engagement and results.
  • Be creative—use a relevant emoji.

There’s something about emojis that you cannot entirely lay a finger on. People just seem to like them, whether Instant messaging or emails. Leverage this fact.

  • Be borderline funny or even outrageously so, if your brand allows it.
  • Don’t lie or mislead—Stay honest. Any attempt to clickbait will result in mistrust being created inside subscribers’ minds. Worst case, you will be marked spam. Avoid at all costs.
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS—This is akin to shouting in real life, and your readers will not take too kindly to this. 
  • Optimize your Sender name—Don’t use ‘no-reply’ sender names. Using a real person’s name in the Sender’s name makes your email more personable and relatable. 
  • Tickle the reader’s emotional chords—make them feel special. For example, “For Our Privileged Subscribers Only”.
  • If relevant to your campaign and brand, include an element of humor or fun in your email subject lines.
  • Don’t use or overuse special characters such as “!”
  • A/B test your subject lines both initially and regularly. None of the above tips may help you improve your open rates. It’s always best to approach any marketing problem with a “let’s find out what works” A/B testing mindset. Stick to what works and discard what doesn’t. Repeat.

Best Subject Line Examples for Emails

Thank You Email Subject Lines

  • Welcome to {BusinessName} Family, {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Thanks for signing up, {SubscriberFirstName}! Your FREE ebook inside, as promised. 
  • Welcome to  {BusinessName}
  • {BusinessName} says Hi!
  • Special Sign-up gift from {BusinessName}
  • Congratulations on Signing Up, {SubscriberFirstName}

Also read: 70+ Thank You Email Subject Lines (Examples, Ideas) 

Follow-up Email Subject Lines

  • Catching up. Were you able to check this {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Here’s what we can do next {SubscriberFirstName}
  • Knock Knock! Anybody home {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Your thoughts on my last email?
  • Where should we begin {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Checking in. Available for a 10 min demo call over Zoom today?

Sales Email Subject Lines

  • Does 25% OFF for a Lifetime sound good, {SubscriberFirstName}
  • Can we e-meet on Thursday, {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Last Chance—Become a Premium Member at Less than Premium Pricing.
  • Time’s Running Out. Let’s close this today, {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Flash Sale @30% OFF
  • Back in Stock. Grab them before they disappear!
  • New Arrivals Awaiting Your Touch!

Also read: Best Email Subject Lines to Increase Sales (with Examples) 

Introduction Email Subject Line

  • Greetings, it’s a tiny planet. The online world, even more so, {SubscriberFirstName}.
  • (Referrer Name) told me you are good at this {SubscriberFirstName}.
  • Looking for a High value Collaboration, {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Quick chat about (opportunities sought), {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Let’s Walk Together, {SubscriberFirstName}?

Also read: 55+ Introduction Email Subject Lines

Network Email Subject Line

  • Hello {SubscriberFirstName}, I’d love for us to work together!
  • {SubscriberFirstName}, what’s your take on (networking opportunity)?
  • Nice to e-meet you finally {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Hey [name], I’d like to introduce myself.
  • We have more in common. Let’s catch up {SubscriberFirstName}!

Effective & Clever Subject Lines

Compelling Subject Lines

  • Don’t Miss Out on this Exclusive 30% OFF,  {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Your Exclusive Invite Inside,  {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Seems like your lucky day,  {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Rumor has it…
  • Finally, FREE Shipping. No Minimum Order Value.

Catchy Subject Lines

  • Are we still good for 3 PM today, {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Your Expertise is needed, {SubscriberFirstName}!
  • Feel the connection, {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Here are 3 Ways to Improve (Problem area).

Also read: 115+ Catchy Email Subject Lines (Examples) 

Attention Grabbing Subject Lines

  • Still looking for (Solution),  {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Not Cool, Guys! (Credit: Buzzfeed)
  • Say Hello to (Benefit), {SubscriberFirstName}.
  • Mark your Google Calendar for these dates, {SubscriberFirstName}.

Reminder Subject Lines 

  • When can we get back on (discussion matter), {SubscriberFirstName}?
  • Hey {SubscriberFirstName}, We thought we’d just circle back to check!
  • Last chance! Checking for Inbox pulse…
  • 24 hours. 1 Decision to make.

Also read: 75+ Reminder Email Subject Lines 

After Writing Out the Best Email Subject Lines

Having a great email marketing tool is necessary to make the most of your email marketing game.

While it’s safe to say that there is no single best email marketing tool in a highly competitive SaaS space, Sender comes close to offering you a great package that 1,50,000+ businesses now trust and use daily for their email marketing campaigns.

Sender offers you one of the simplest setup and easiest to maintain email marketing and automation tools you’d have ever come across. 

It supports simple and complex automation, so you can set up automated drip campaigns and triggered emails as well. Sender also helps you run high converting campaigns using email and SMS from within one unified dashboard.

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Check out the FREE Forever plan that includes the ability to send up to 15,000 emails to up to 2,500 contacts for a lifetime. The FREE plan also includes access to premium automation features and high-quality popups to grow your business.

Winning Email Subject Lines 

There are many factors in play when running successful email marketing campaigns. But getting your email subject line right is often the first and often non-negotiable step.

You could be a freelancer sending a cold email to a prospect or a recent retail turned ecommerce store. Regardless, getting your subscribers to open your emails is all that a good email subject line needs to do, and doing that could unlock fortunes for your business.

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