27 min read

Catchy Email Subject Lines & 19 Proven Tips to Lead You

Catchy email subject lines can double or triple your email open rates with effective tips.

Increasing the email open rates can be challenging to deal with. However, where there is a will, there is a way.

Therefore, the things needed are the proven tips that can lead you to write catchy email subject lines and have better rates in email open rates and conversions in the long run.

We have collected the impressive email subject lines from the brands and determined 19 proven tips to help you with that.

The Importance of Email Subject Lines

Though there is always much effort in building an efficient email list, sending emails is not enough for this process. First, you need to get people to open the emails you have sent.

According to these statistics, you need to create strong, compelling, interest-provoking, and informative email subject lines to make your emails more meaningful.

What Makes A Good Subject Line?

The first thing you should know is that a good subject line should be short, clear, specific, simple, logical, and personalized

MailChimp’s email subject line study found out that the short and descriptive subject lines consisting of visual pizzazz with a bit of humor convert better.

Also, to make people open email campaigns, natural human tendencies and psychological methods need to be focused on.

Another point is customization for summarizing great content with a few words and making it attractive.

To get to know more about the subject, here is a video for you to watch!

19 Tips to Write Catchy Email Subject Lines

Although it may seem very easy, some steps are recommended.

TIP 1: Trigger Call-to-Action

Loading the subject line with action-oriented verbs in the beginning, can drastically help open rate and click-through rates increase. And you can create much more attractive subject lines by using action verbs.

Short instructions generally work well in email subject lines because of the limited space to convince subscribers to open your email.

Some basic call-to-action examples are;

  • “Find out what’s inside!”
  • “Shop now!”
  • “Discover a new world!”
call-to-action-example with a green-oriented image and an email example from Morrisons

TIP 2: Keep It Short

50 characters are the ideal length for a subject line. On the other hand, more than 50 characters can scare or bore people and make them distracted.

Details should be in the message, and the subject line should only summarize what is told in the statement.

Banana Republic subject line example and a table that displays the difference between a banana cart and a regular credit card

Additionally, using sales language is a point to avoid while simply reflecting your brand.

Otherwise, emails may go down the drain since they are considered spam with many unnecessary details and explicit marketing.

Studies show that 55% of emails get opened on a mobile device. Therefore, the look on computers and mobile devices can change based on the width of the screen.

As an example to observe:

Mobile Responsive Email Subject Line Example on a mobile phone email box image

While most businesses realize that their emails need to be optimized for mobile devices, they forget about the subject lines.

Overall, the shorter the subject, the higher the open rates.


TIP 3: Create a Sense of Urgency and Scarcity

As Jim Rohn said, Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value.

In order to have a clear subject line, you should trigger your customers with an immediate call to action.

Try to make them think about what if they don’t act fast, or what if the product with limited availability runs out, intuitively.

Subject lines including words that imply time sensitivity, like “urgent,” “breaking,” “important,” or “alert,” are proven to increase open email rates.

an example of an email subject line from Jimmy Kim on an email template with a massive sign of CTR rate

Sidenote: The same factor works for getting more leads from email popups. You should use Scarcity, Urgency, and Exclusivity to increase conversions.

A limited-time offer is any kind of discount, deal, special gift, or reward a buyer can get if they purchase from you during a specific time period.

Consumers have a burning desire to jump on exclusive deals and get their hands on something special before they miss out.

Most customers abandon their carts before completing the purchase; in such cases, you should use the urgency and scarcity method with creative abandoned cart subject lines.

You can also make them feel like sharing something special to increase audience engagement when you offer an exclusive deal for a limited time.

E.g., ” Don’t tell anyone. Special discounts are just for you!”

TIP 4: Be Funny

If your subject line makes your subscribers smile, then they’ll tend to open it.

Being humorous requires a bit more thought and creativity, but it can really pay off in terms of your open rates and increased sales.

the example of Urban Decay as a chic promotion of products with dark purple and blue background

TIP 5: Generate Curiosity

Conveying a message with a little mystery is always a good idea. You should implicate the benefit from opening that particular email by promising to give helpful information.

After providing that, you’ll see the increase in your conversion rates. However, be careful not to have too obscured subject lines. Otherwise, you may be considered spam.

Don’t Open This Email as subject line example on a subject line template

Questions trigger answers. Therefore, to increase curiosity;

  • Try to provoke opens and replies by using question-asking subject lines.
  • Refer to your customer’s name to be more specific and interesting.
  • Make your subscribers curious by asking a question.
  • Promise your customers something attractive.
  • Simply say something sounding strange or unusual.
Free Big Mac Email Subject Line Example on an email template

TIP 6: Make Them Feel Special by Personalization

According to a study by Marketing Dive, personalization of email subject lines improve the open rate at the ratio of 50%.

a woman with glasses opening an email

When inbox folders are first opened, we all tend to scan the subject lines of the emails and eliminate the promotional ones or spam. If you feel like you get an email from a friend, you will probably open it.

There are some outstanding points to consider to increase your email open rates:

  • Use casual language.
  • Share something personal.
  • Make your emails catered toward the individual.
  • Try to learn something special about your subscribers.
  • Get in touch with your crew one-on-one by mastering the context of your business.
  • Use a personalized email subject instead of a specific one since people like to see offers for themselves.
  • Imply familiarity or friendship to raise the closeness of your relationship with the audience.

Don’t forget, if you make your subscribers feel special and niche, they are more likely to become your loyal fans, loyal customers, and followers, which is the main goal of all marketing efforts.

Witchery Personalized Subject Line Example with a celebration card on the screen

TIP 7: Write a Familiar Sender Name

Set your sender name appropriately. It is essential to build trust with your subscribers.

[email protected] is an excellent example of an inviting sender name. Isn’t it? 🙂

Also, avoid the ‘no-reply’ sender name. People may consider you spam.

In order to prevent that, never use something like that:[email protected].”

Familiar Name Subject Line Example: Hobbs with a woman face on the ads

TIP 8: Use Relevant Emojis

According to a report by Experian, using emojis in your subject lines can increase your open rates by 45%.

A well-placed emoji can be great for building a close relationship with your subscribers. Note that the email subject lines with emojis beat out the plain text ones!

The most popular emojis used in email subject lines are as follows based on Omnisend’s article:

The Most Popular Emojis
Emojis Usage
 🎁  For bonuses and gifts
 🚨  For sales and time-limits in campaigns
 ❤️  For love, happiness, gratitude
 😮  For a surprise and great chances
 🎉  For celebration and surprises
 👉  For directing and concentrating
 😍  For adoration, good emotions
 ⏲️  For limitation of time and expirations
 🔥  For appealing news and offers
 ✅  For positiveness, verification and completing task

Your emoji usage must be relevant to the content of your email and your email subject line. Otherwise, it would seem insignificant.

✅ “Pizza party this Saturday! 🍕🎉” → These clarify what your email is actually about.

❌ “Springfield Elementary PTA Newsletter 🍕🎉” → These seem out of place and confusing since these have nothing to do with the subject line.

TIP 9: Use Controversial Subject Lines

Controversial Subject Line Example: Tim Ferriss

A controversial subject line can be a negative idea or outcome in your niche target or one of your audience’s major pain points. If you are not sure about your subscribers’ tastes yet, things can take a turn for the worse.

However, when executed strategically, a controversial subject line can be more effective than you think.

If you’re confident in knowing your audience’s interests and perceptions, you may use controversial subject lines in order to grab their attention.

Take time to understand your subscriber’s nature and then (if your business context is suitable) use shock, stimulation, or controversy in your subject lines. For example;

  • Everyone Is Gay: Social Media As Social Action
  • Why Your 5-Year-Old Is More Digital Than Most CMOs
  • Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local

TIP 10: Use Numbers and Lists

In a study conducted by Christopher Packham in MedicalXpress, “Numerosity as a primary visual property can be formally described in terms of topological invariants.”

So, if you add numbers into your subject line, you grab your subscribers’ attention, as our brains are naturally curious about numbers. Also, that kind of subject line is always easy and quick to read.

Additionally, creating a subject line with the initial of a number or a percentage may be very effective.

When it comes to offers, the discount price should always be front-loaded. To exemplify, write “50% Off Flash Sale” rather than “Flash Sale: 50% Off”.

By using numbers in your subject line, you don’t just grab their attention of them, but also you create a perception that your content is unique.

Use Numbers in Your Subject Line: Topshop Example showing a woman with the brands’ clothes and descriptions

TIP 11: Don’t Yell at People with Your Subject Line

A lot of companies still send emails with a subject line like;


Unfortunately, it’s not working. It’s actually distasteful…

No one likes to be yelled at, and these kinds of subject lines make people rub the wrong way… You should always use engaging and human-like language to make people comfortable and get their attention.

Writing your email subject line using upper-case letters seems like you are commanding, yelling at, or desperately seeking attention.

Also, the first letter of each word should be capitalized, and the others should be lowercase.

Be careful about capitalizing your email subject line, or you will be perceived as careless or offensive.

Capital letters in subject lines examples in an email template on a phone

TIP 12: Be Relevant and Make a Schedule

The main reason for people to subscribe to an email list is that they want to be kept informed about a given topic, product, or offer.

Therefore, subdividing your audience into groups will help you to send the suitable topics to the right people.

Otherwise, people unsubscribe from your list due to receiving many unwanted and irrelevant messages. This is why you should never purchase an email list from another company to have a customer base.

Instead, there are some email list-building methods if you are interested.

a child opening an email on the computer and smiling while opening

If you have any problems with segmenting your customers, you can categorize subscribers based on interests by offering opt-in segments on your email subscriber form.

You should use timely headlines or compelling trending topics to grab your subscribers’ attention.

Moreover, you need to make a wise schedule to send your emails. No one wants to get an email from you three times a day. Have a weekly and monthly plan to make your subscribers your loyal fans.

a man wearing red sweater smiling and holding clock forward

So when is a good time? Good email times to send are typically daytime hours.

For example, if you want to take advantage of an alert person who will likely get a new email notification, this isn’t likely to happen at 3 am.

Therefore, the best play here is to extract your subscribers’ location data and determine their available hours.

TIP 13: Keep Your Word

Google is a data-driven beast, not just in its search algorithm but also in its email algorithm.

If you come up with deceitful email subject lines, your initial open rates may rise, but eventually, your emails will be cast into the spam folder.

It is because Google collects complaint data from your subscribers, and if you lie to them, they complain, increasing the risk of being flagged as spam.

Don't Make False Promises in Your Subject Lines

So, use accurate subject lines. Be sure that your subject line can be both curious and enticing without being deceitful.

Don’t make false promises to get your email opened. This is not good for your reputation and trustworthiness.

TIP 14: Ask Your Subscribers’ Hopes and Wants

If you want to build emotional contact with your subscribers, better ask for their intentions.

Some steps can be done:

  • You may ask them or their business to conceptualize themselves in the future.
  • You may ask some questions about how their life could be better
  • You may ask how they reach their business goals in the next six months.
  • You can conduct surveys through emails so that you have high-quality data on your customers.

These ways can increase subscriber engagement with your email campaign and trigger your email open rate with appropriate and emotional subject lines.

There is no better approach than ideas coming from your customers who daydream about the future and will consume your marketing efforts.

Feedback Emails for Subscriber Engagement with green parts to highlight

TIP 15: Impress with The If-Then Subject Line

“If-then” statements are *extremely practical triggers for behavior change and habit formation.**

The human brain is highly receptive to conditional expressions. Hence, You may offer something valuable to your subscribers by using if-then subject lines by determining your segmented subscribers’ needs and delivering the solution.

The key to an effective “if-then” statement is to make sure the “if” part is true for your audience and the “then” part creates a solution by purchasing your products or services offered.

If-then subject line example of SumoMe with purple and white background

TIP 16: Use “You Can” Subject Line

Humans tend to think they’re above average at most things, which is called Superiority Illusion. So, you should give a sense that you support your subscribers in what they want to achieve.

To help your customers reach their goals through your offerings and provide what they need to improve their skills, you have to get to know your subscribers in terms of their interests, accomplishments, and failures.

Once you know your audience, use your knowledge about them to craft a subject line that commands they might be doing it wrong or fitting in with the “status quo.”

Then, create your email subject lines based on these characteristics of your segmented people.

“You can” Email Subject Line Example with an email sent from Sarah to Nico

TIP 17: Don’t Miss Occasions

Occasional subject lines make people smile, arouse curiosity, and click on the email because they are usually in a good mood these days.

So, benefit from it! Remind yourself with a kind, friendly, passionate, and caring approach.

A Gluten Free: Occasion Subject Line
Starbucks: Occasion Subject Line

TIP 18: Retarget Your Unsubscribers

Retargeting emails are sent to subscribers when they fail to complete an action, like abandoning their cart or failing to purchase after their free trial or unsubscribe themselves from your list.

You can write effective retargeting subject lines by overcoming objections, offering something to sweeten the deal, or saying that you have corrected your mistake.

You can also create an email marketing campaign using the method of Win-Back for customer retention.

Retarget Your Customers: Vizio Example

TIP 19: A/B Test Your Subject Lines

To figure out which subject lines are best for your audience, you should definitely A/B test your emails.

Though it may take time to understand the proper style of subject lines for your visitors, you need to be patient.

It’s important to decide on what you consider success before you run an A/B test.

First, look at your historical open rate, and then decide how much improvement you want to see.

Most email campaign software has built-in tools for A/B testing. For example, you can use Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, or Active Campaign to run A/B testing.

If your email campaign software doesn’t have specific support for A/B campaigns, you can set one up manually.

A/B Testing Campaign

19 Proven Tips to Get Your Emails Opened

an infographic about 19 proven tips to get emails opened

We like sharing our knowledge with our visitors! You are very welcome to use our infographic on your own website to present an excellent infographic about how to increase open rates with email subject lines.

101 Email Subject Line Examples That Subscribers Cannot Resist

Examining email subject lines based on some categories can ease your work and make you better understand the importance of addressing.

The email subject lines that evoke fear:

  1. Uber: “Grab a ride pass before they’re gone”
  2. JetBlue: “You’re missing out on points.”
  3. Shoes of Prey: “In case you missed these…”
  4. JustFab: “By Invitation Only: Exclusive Rewards Inside!”
  5. J.Crew Factory: “By Invitation Only: Exclusive Rewards Inside!”
  6. Guess: “Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream”
  7. Ibotta: “Don’t let this $5 bonus slip away!”
  8. InstantBoss Club: “Never again sale”
  9. 80stees: “🛑 Don’t miss out! Last chance for Father’s Day tees!”
  10. Verizon Wireless: “[Name], your home is missing these easy upgrades.”

The email subject lines that inspire curiosity:

  1. Apartment Therapy: “Why You Should Keep Your Clothes in the Freezer.”
  2. Zillow: “The truth about moving expenses”
  3. LOFT: “Just wait till you see these skirts”
  4. Warby Parker: “The secret’s out!”
  5. Warby Parker: “Hey, we’re all doing it.”
  6. Manicube: “Don’t Open This Email”
  7. Select All: “The Two Possible Futures of Virtual Reality”
  8. IKEA: “A surprise gift for you! 🎁”
  9. Chubbies: “Hologram Shorts?!”
  10. LinkedIn: “This is how much working from home saves you”

The funny email subject lines that can amuse you:

  1. Le Col: “Stylish Sunglasses For Sunny Spells”
  2. Everlane: “Let’s Keep Feeding America”
  3. Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery …”
  4. Brit + Co: “Mom’s gonna love this”
  5. Travelocity: “Need a day at the beach?”
  6. Warby Parker: “Pairs nicely with spreadsheets”
  7. Funny or Die?: “Don’t invite Steve to that meeting. He’ll dress like a ghost.”

To learn other 10 Funny Email Subject Lines That Work Like a Charm!

The email subject lines that cause vanity and lines that grab attention:

  1. SavageX: “Big Gem Energy 💎”
  2. Spring: “Commute in Style”
  3. Popular Science: “Scientifically sexy dance moves 💃🕺”
  4. MAC Cosmetics: “Make Your Skin #GlowForReal 🙌✨”
  5. Spring: “This really suits you”
  6. Samsung: “Be the first to experience it”
  7. Victoria's Secret: “Living the dream”
  8. Express: “🔍 for your dream summer jeans?”
  9. Monica Vinader: “Style icons spotted in MV’
  10. 1-800 CONTACTS: “We only have eyes for you”

The social proof email subject lines that make the brands more relatable:

  1. Patagonia: “Top reviewed styles from customers like you”
  2. HelloFresh: “Pssst… your friends are cooking up a storm!”
  3. GolfNow: “You deserve some golf this week (top picks inside)”
  4. Yummly: “Most Popular Recipes this Week”
  5. Airbnb: “Make it a good night with John Legend and Airbnb”
  6. Yummly: “Simple recipes from popular chefs”
  7. Zillow: “5 homes that are trending right now”
  8. Lenny: “Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz on the Female Gaze”
  9. Sephora: “The people have spoken: these are their faves”
  10. Digital Marketer: "28,507 leads in 45 days"
  11. Instant Boss Club: “See what our clients are saying…”

When people delay the things they will do, sometimes the sloth email subject lines can be effective:

  1. Ramit Sethi: “How to email a busy person (including a word-for-word script)”
  2. Digital Marketer: “Steal these email templates…”
  3. Digital Marketer: “A Native Ad in 60 Minutes or Less”
  4. Digital Marketer: “212 blog post ideas”
  5. Digital Marketer: “Brand NEW (and free) Training: 3 Steps To a Perfect Offer”
  6. Digital Marketer: “[85% Off] 3 Proven Facebook Campaigns to Run Today…”
  7. Digital Marketer: “[Free PDF Download] Claim our Social Media Swipe File”
  8. Digital Marketer: “[EMAIL TEMPLATE] Fix your company’s biggest marketing issue”

The email subject lines that are written based on the pain points of the customers:

  1. Grubhub: “Repeat meal syndrome? We understand.”
  2. IKEA: “Where do all these toys go?”
  3. IKEA: “Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes”
  4. HP: “Stop wasting money on ink”
  5. Qapital: “Don’t think about saving. Save without thinking.”
  6. Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery…”
  7. J. Crew: “Your summer outfit dilemmas SOLVED”
  8. Guess: “Wanted: Cute and affordable fashions”
  9. Vidyard: “Engaging your prospects can be hard. The video makes it easy.”
  10. Duolingo: “Learn a language with only 5 minutes per day”

The email lines that aim for retargeting:

  1. Nick Stephenson: “How you can afford Your First 10,000 Readers (closing tonight)”
  2. Bonobos: “Hey, forget something? Here’s 20% off.”
  3. Target: “The price dropped for something in your cart”
  4. Syed from Envira: “Mary, your Envira account is on hold!”
  5. Syed from Envira: “I’m deleting your Envira account”
  6. Ugmonk: “Offering you my personal email”
  7. Animoto: “Did you miss out on some of these new features?”
  8. Pinterest: “Good News: Your Pin’s price dropped!”
  9. Unroll.Me: “⚠ Unroll.Me has stopped working”
  10. Vivino: “We are not gonna Give Up on You!”

The personalized subject email lines that Sendinblue collected:

  1. UrbanDaddy: “You’ve Changed”
  2. Kimra Luna: “I didn’t see your name in the comments!?”
  3. Jon Morrow: “Quick favor?”
  4. Koru Kids: “The Spicer family needs your help, [name]!”
  5. Influitive: “So I’ll pick you up at 7?”
  6. Babbel: “It’s your Babbelversary, [name]!”
  7. James Malinchak: “Crazy Invitation, I am Going to Buy You Lunch…”
  8. John Lee Dumas: “Are you coming?”
  9. Revolution Tea: “Thanks for helping us”
  10. Ryan Levesque: “Seriously, who does this?”

The straightforward and to-the-point email subject lines to know

  1. Roamans: “Yes! Up to 50% OFF”
  2. Pottery Barn: “Get that summer glow.”
  3. Coach: “Meet Your New Favorites”
  4. Printful: “Ready, set, summer! ☀️”
  5. Reelgood: “Chat Roulette? No… Netflix Roulette? YES!”
  6. Netflix: “Say yes to Netflix.”

Subject lines performed the highest out of 40 million emails with open rates between 60-87

  1. “[Company Name] Sales & Marketing Newsletter”
  2. “Eye on the [Company Name] Update (Oct 31 – Nov 4)”
  3. “[Company Name] Staff Shirts & Photos”
  4. “[Company Name] May 2005 News Bulletin!”
  5. “[Company Name] Newsletter – February 2006”
  6. “[Company Name] and [Company Name] Invites You!”
  7. “Happy Holidays from [Company Name]”
  8. “Invitation from [Company Name]”

Effective Key Words to Use

According to Alchemy Worx, which analyzed 21 billion emails sent by 2,500 brands, the top five most effective subject line keywords were:

  • “upgrade”
  • “just”
  • “content”
  • “go”
  • “wonderful”

In another study from Alchemy Worx, which analyzed 24.6 billion emails, the top subject line keywords for open rates were:

  • “jokes”
  • “promotional”
  • “congratulations”
  • “revision”
  • “forecast”
  • “snapshot”
  • “token”
  • "voluntary”
  • “monthly”
  • “deduction”

Based on Digital Marketer’s analysis of 125 million emails they sent in 2014, some top subject line keywords to try are:

  • “is coming”
  • “get this now”
  • “you have one day left”
  • (numbers) (e.g. “7-figure plan”, “212 ideas”, “60 minutes or less”)
  • (ellipse at the end) (e.g., “The Facebook Slap is coming…”, “Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight…”, “Steal these email templates…”)

Adestra analyzed over 2.2 billion emails and found the following top subject line keywords:

  • “free delivery”
  • “available”
  • “new”
  • “alert"
  • “news”
  • “update”
  • “summer”
  • “weekend”

In another study from Adestra, which looked at over 125.000 email campaigns, the top performing subject line keywords were:

  • “thank you”
  • “Headline 1 | Headline 2 | Headline 3 | Headline 4”
  • “monthly”
  • “thanks”
  • “bulletin”
  • “golden”
  • “iPhone”
  • “breaking”
  • “order today”

Finally, a report by Smart Insights looked at a random sample of 700 million emails and found that the top performing subject line keywords were:

  • “introducing”
  • “celebrate”
  • “buy”
  • “continues”
  • “get your”
  • “what…?”
  • “won’t…?”
  • “do…?”
  • “can…?”
  • “may…?”
  • “on orders over”
  • “orders over”
  • “off selected”
  • “your next order”
  • “available”
  • “brand new”
  • “latest”
  • “special”
  • “wonderful”
  • “great deals”
  • “sale starts”
  • “back in stock”
  • “stock”
  • “sale now”
  • “now in”

Spam Trigger Words to Discover

To avoid triggering spam, it is important to be very careful about what to write on the email subject line since people tend to predict email content by looking at the subject line.

Also, some emails may go to spam just due to the words used for some reason.

So, being creative and impressive is the fundamental requirement for success.

Here are some words from Overloop to use carefully while writing messages;

  • “100%”
  • “Cash bonus”
  • “Click”
  • “Discount”
  • “For only”
  • “Free”
  • “Limited”
  • “No interest”
  • “Offer expires”
  • “Purchase”
  • “Unlimited”
  • “Why pay more?”
To know more about which trigger words to use, you can check the best trigger words example!

Wrap Up

Increasing email open rates, reaching subscribers’ inbox folders, and growing through email marketing are valuable for a business.

Therefore, writing the best email subject line is one of the core elements of email marketing.

Using 19 proven tips will help you start writing catchy email subject lines, and the examples will inspire you for this.

Share the best subject lines you have come across before in the comments section below with us!

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