Email Subject Lines: 15 Examples to Help You Write Better
Chad Kodary
Mar 24th, 2021 at 02:00 PM

Email Subject Lines: 15 Examples to Help You Write Better

An email’s subject line plays a vital role in determining whether the recipient will open it. Most people scroll through their inboxes looking for relevant emails based on the subject lines.

As a marketer, you must ensure that your subscribers read your emails. To write attention-grabbing subject lines, you can draw inspiration from some of the best email subject lines used by businesses and organizations.

You must have seen the typical promotional headlines in your inbox, such as “how she got a $700 writing client in one week (!!!)” and “these are some great BONUSES!” Readers ignore such hyperbolic emails and move to the next without wasting time.

So, what kind of email subject line should you write? Here are 15 examples that will inspire you to craft attention-grabbing subject lines:

1: “unmotivated? these 2 steps fix it”

Marie Forleo, who Oprah named a thought leader for the next generation, is a motivational speaker and business coach. She creates quality content on her blog and inspires her audiences through the weekly YouTube show MARIETV.

2020 was full of challenges and difficulties, with most people staying inside homes during the lockdown. We also saw a dramatic upsurge in the work-from-home culture. It was a tough time, and millions worldwide struggled financially, physically, and psychologically.

Forleo uses intelligently-crafted subject lines to draw her audience’s attention without sounding overly promotional. A relevant case study is: “unmotivated? these 2 steps fix it.” Written in lowercase, the message has a casual tone, yet it addresses a much bigger problem — how to bring your life back on track after a global pandemic? The subject line was researched carefully to echo the global public sentiment.

2: “What Did You Think? Write a Review.”

People receive these kinds of messages from eCommerce sites, usually within a fortnight of buying a product. It is the perfect way to ask your customers how they feel about the purchase. Reviews from satisfied customers help website visitors make a buying decision. However, it’s important to note that they are not forced into writing a good review. Honest feedback is of paramount importance. It encourages strong relationships and transparency with customers. Consumers feel empowered and valued when they are offered an opportunity to express their opinion.

3: “Your prescription is expiring”

It works as an email alert when your prescription for medication or eyeglasses is nearing its expiry date. A subject line’s power lies in its timing. It prompts the user to engage with an email because it is highly personalized and suggests urgency.

4: “Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”

Groupon uses humor expertly in its marketing messages. For example, “unlike our nephew Steve.” It makes us laugh. Because it imbues an element of fun in an otherwise serious-sounding message, the sheer contrast compels the user to open the email.

5: “Free (Cool!) Clothes Alert” (Gift emojis)

Clover used emojis in its subject line to evoke specific and vivid responses. The content’s visual nature arouses curiosity and invites the reader to see the information.

6: “The timer is going off on your shopping cart”

King Arthur Flour used this subject line as a reminder, signaling urgency. Warning customers that they would likely miss out on the products if they don’t act immediately almost always works. It also effectively conveys the implied message that the stock may soon run out.

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a proven sales technique. If a customer has had a particular product on their wishlist for some time, such messages can push them into making the purchase.

7: “Important Weather Advisory”

People take weather advisory seriously as it impacts their daily routine. It influences their ability to leave the house, travel, and go to work. Businesses with products or services susceptible to the weather are more likely to send such messages to their customers. For example, before an impending hail storm or power outage, the businesses selling internet services might email a weather advisory to their customers.

8: “3750 reward points for you. A lovely gift for your partner.”

Specific numbers compel you to open an email, especially when personalized. Usually,  banks, airlines, financial services, and superstores send such messages to their loyal customers to show that the company cares. It helps businesses nurture their brand value and build long-term relationships with customers.

9: “Rock the color of the year”

It uses intrigue and mystery to stimulate you into opening an email.  Etsy, an eCommerce marketplace, once promoted a product highlighting a single feature: color. They generated curiosity by using the phrase “color of the year.” A message like this builds interest enough to make users click on the email.

10: “Black Friday shoppers are the worst customers”

LinkedIn used this subject line to promote an article published on Pulse, its publishing platform. Although the subject line is facetious, bold, and judgemental, it is a cultural observation. And since LinkedIn doesn’t sell anything on Black Friday, it does not cause any direct harm.

11: “Don’t open this email”

A subject line like this exploits human psychology. We experience a strong desire to do something when asked to refrain from it. Brands leverage this human tendency, known as reactance, and use it to boost the open rate.

12: “I got Botox—& THIS is what it looked like”

Used by Refinery29, this subject line uses a personal story to create intrigue. People are naturally curious about personal anecdotes. When you include a strong human story in your email, it is more likely to be well-received.

13: “What can you afford?”

Affordability is a significant factor when consumers explore the market for a product or service. When an email tells you that something is within your means, you feel compelled to check out the prices.

14: “As you wish”

It is a popular dialogue from the movie “The Princess Bride.” The brand UncommonGoods used it effectively to target the film’s fans. It was a simple strategy, but it worked because the brand sent it to a predisposed user base.

15: “Not cool guys”

BuzzFeed’s excellent copywriting also reflects in its emails. They engage the reader with catchy and engaging subject lines. It delights their customers and improves the open rate for their emails.


We have discussed just a few examples and ideas you can use when working on the subject line for your emails. The objective is to craft a message that evokes an immediate response. Prior research about your target user goes a long way in creating exciting subject lines. However. there is no magic formula to succeed. Users may click on an email today and be completely turned off by it at another time. The best strategy is to be receptive to innovative ideas. The most effective subject lines entertain, educate, and offer value.

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