15 Effective Subject Line Ideas for Email Marketing

15 Effective Subject Line Ideas for Email Marketing


  • Have you been struggling to get your customers to open your emails? If the answer is yes, there's a big chance your subject lines aren't hitting the spot.
  • Using certain types of formatting, intriguing questions and emojis are a few of the many creative ways to make your subject lines stand out in a crowded inbox.
  • Curious to know how to write subject lines that boost your open rates? Check out these 15 ideas for inspiration. 

Email marketing is one of the best ways to advertise and build trust with customers.

But, if you’ve spent hours crafting emails – and no one’s opening them – your email marketing strategy is making you lose out on big opportunities.

Why aren’t more customers opening your emails?! Your subject lines are failing you. 

What Is an Email Subject Line?

Think of an email subject line as the “title” of your email. It’s the bolded words that pop up in your inbox. 

If the subject line doesn’t get a customer to open your email, they won’t see any other information – let alone your site or products.

Why Is an Email Subject Line Important?

Subject lines are a key factor in open rates. So, if you have low open rates on your emails, the subject lines should be the first thing to revise. 

When crafting an awesome sales email, divert most of your energy to the subject line. First impressions matter in email inboxes.

What Makes a Good Email Subject Line?

The name of the game is to stand out in a customer’s inbox… but every other business is trying to do that too. 

So, how do you actually get noticed? Here are a few rules to help you write great subject lines for better open rates:

  1. Avoid gimmicks
  2. Be cautious of spam words 
  3. Experiment with formatting 
  4. Use emojis and punctuation sparingly 
  5. Use important words first

1. Avoid Gimmicks

Who wouldn’t open a subject line entitled, “Get your own Mercedes for just $20”? 

Gimmicks are bad (sometimes illegal) tactics that get clicks, but don’t get real conversions. 

You might be upset if you opened that email to find out Mercedes is actually a kitten in a pet adoption program. Well, maybe you wouldn’t be that upset… but the bottom line: Don’t deceive people. Customers will unsubscribe and feel icky about your brand.   

2. Be Cautious of Spam Words

Do a quick Google search of “email spam words.” You’ll find hundreds of words that may kick your emails into the spam folder. 

Spoiler alert: Most of the spam words have something to do with selling, deals, free stuff and other things you probably want to tell customers. 

It’s not a strict science, but if you can find a way to say it without spam words, do it.  

3. Experiment with Formatting 

Certain formatting in your subject line can help it get noticed. Hyphens, dashes, parentheses and numbers work well.

In a sea of words, tasteful oddities can be the difference between a 2% open rate and a 20% open rate. 

However, make sure you steer clear of all caps.


Need I say more? 

4. Use Emojis and Punctuation Sparingly

If your brand voice is fun, youthful and exciting, then emojis may be a good idea. They catch the eye.

If you’re a more professional brand, use caution when using emojis as they are associated with casual texting encounters, not professional B2B services.   

5. Use Important Words First 

In a world of small phones, tablets and large desktops, you never really know how many words a customer will see in the subject line. That’s why you should use important words first. If there’s a steep discount you’re giving away, include it at the beginning of the subject line.

15 Great Email Subject Line Ideas for Better Open Rates

Let’s look at some email subject line ideas to get customers one step closer to cashing in on your offer. 

Now, the actual content of the subject line should be specific to your business, but feel free to springboard off these ideas.

1. All shoes ½ off to go with your new sundress

Why it works: The important 50% off deal is right upfront. Sure, the “new sundress” information is great for someone who just bought a dress from you, but the new goal is to buy the shoes.   

2. 24 Exercises for a Great Booty

Why it works: People love lists. Plus, numbers catch the eye. With this subject line, not only will they notice “24,” but they’ll be enticed to glance over the list. 

3. Yes, hello

Why it works: It’s super short. A customer will see tons of words in their inbox, but then there’s your email and a bunch of open space to the right. 

4. Relish in Jamaican Luxury…

Why it works: This subject line shows the transformation a customer would get if they book a vacation with this company. Paint a picture of how great life will be if they do business with you!

5. You + Me = More Leads than Ever

Why it works: This one uses formatting to stand out. The “+” and “=” are noticeable on their own, but it’s also a clear equation laced with a benefit to the consumer. 

6. What Whoopi Goldberg can teach you about cooking

Why it works: It builds curiosity. Whoopi Goldberg and cooking? Making an intriguing statement will get more customers to click. Now, you definitely have to deliver on whatever you mention in the subject line. 

7. (Us again) You left this in your cart.

Why it works: Parentheses instantly catch the eye. Plus, you may be able to add in a little more brand voice in a savvy side note. 

8. A non-salesy way to get more sales in Q1

Why it works: If you’re a marketing company, this lays out your benefit to consumers (getting them more sales). However, it uses formatting tactics like a hyphenated word, an abnormal word, and “Q1” to grab attention. 

9. Not even Beyonce can sing like this

Why it works: This one builds intrigue and creates an open thought loop. Beyonce is an awesome singer, so what do you mean she can’t sing like this? Like what? If you can get a question to pop up in a customer’s head, they’ll be really compelled to open the email. 

10. $500 off deal ends tonight!

Why it works: Sure, it’s got a great offer and numbers, but it also adds urgency to act now. This will entice customers to open your email now, rather than save it for later. 

11. Extra PTO & 401K Matching

Why it works: This one has acronyms and numbers to get noticed. But the main highlight for this subject line is a clear-cut benefit to the consumer. Job hunters would love to see extra paid time off and matching. 

12. Does this come in red?

Why it works: It’s a question that adds intrigue. What is “this,” and what colours does it come in?! A subject line like this would be great in a retargeting campaign for someone who didn’t buy from your site. 

13. Did you hear what Jay Z said about us?

Why it works: If Jay Z is one of your customers, great! Use that celebrity power. However, you can still build “street cred” with testimonials and reviews.   

14. A match made in foundation heaven...

Why it works: This could be for a makeup company that wants to promote a foundation that has excellent skin matching. Clever can work, but showing off your benefit to consumers in a clever way is even better. 

15. Sign up for Saturday’s event!

Why it works: This one clearly tells the customer what call-to-action (CTA) you want them to take. They’ll open your email knowing what to expect and be ready to take the CTA right away. 

The Bottom Line to Great Email Subject Lines

Use the subject lines above as templates, but be sure to fill them with content that applies to your business. Don’t bait and switch!

You’ll be amazed at how changing your subject line can drastically impact open rates (and even conversion rates) if you do it well. If you want expert help to get better email marketing conversions, find yourself a copywriter like me. :)

Amanda Kostro Miller

Copywriter & Content Marketing Writer at AmandaCopy.com

If I can make a 4-star general dance… I can make your customers convert. I toured worldwide as a professional dancer. And yes, in one show I got an Army general dancing in front of 1000s of soldiers. From speakeasies to military bases to mega corporate events, I’ve worn many hats. I use this flexibility as a copywriter. My copy is catered precisely to the audience. Then, I show them the next move and make sure they do it. They start clapping — er, clicking, buying and calling you. And hey - If your clients are skeptical 4-star generals, I got experience with those. If they’re not, they’ll be WAY easier to deal with. Let's talk webpage copy, landing pages, email copy, sales pages, print copy, UX writing, digital copywriting and more! Amanda Kostro Miller Freelance Copywriter & Content Marketing Writer AmandaCopy.com | amanda@amandacopy.com