effective email subject line

Don’t think your email subject lines matter? Think again. More than 1 in 3 people decide whether to open an email based on its subject line alone. And 69% of people flag emails as spam based on their subject lines.

In our recent post on email subject line tips, we outlined some of the best general elements to incorporate into a subject line if you want to boost its impact and increase your open rate. But what if you’re starting from scratch and haven’t come up with an email subject line yet? Is there a certain type of email subject line you should use? Are some types of email subject lines better than others?

Yes. Here are the 7 most effective email subject lines for engaging subscribers and boosting open rates (complete with examples).

Need help crafting email subject lines that will make subscribers actually open your emails?
Download our 63 free email subject line templates.

1. Urgency

Email subject lines that create a sense of urgency are some of the most effective email subject lines. In fact, they can boost open rates by a whole 22%!

Why do email subject lines that convey urgency work so well? Because people are generally more likely to act when you light a fire under their butt with a deadline, make them worried about FOMO, or highlight the consequences of inaction. It’s why travel companies tell you that there are only 3 seats left on a flight for a given price.

Want to see an urgency email subject line in action? Check out this example from Penhaligon’s.

effective email subject lines

2. Curiosity

If urgency doesn’t work for the type of email you’re drafting, you’re not out of luck. You can also come up with an effective email subject line by creating curiosity.

It’s human nature to want to figure out the answer to something. That’s why mysteries, crosswords, and escape rooms are so popular.

So how do you inspire curiosity in your email subject line? Phrase it as a question that can be answered only by opening your email. Alternatively, tease your subscribers by giving them just enough information to get them interested but not enough to reveal the entire story. You can also use a cryptic email subject line that leaves subscribers wondering what your email could possibly be about. See this example from Amy Porterfield.

effective email subject lines

3. Excitement

Got a product launch or grand opening coming up? Share the details with as many subscribers as possible by coming up with an effective email subject line that generates excitement.

What are some ways you can do this? You can tease subscribers with news that you’ve got something cool in the works without giving away what this something is in the subject line. You can also make references to magnitude to convey the massive benefits that are on the horizon for your subscribers (“Our most value-packed course yet”).

For example, check out how Pizza Hut generated excitement about its $5 pizzas with this email subject line.

effective email subject lines

4. Joy

At the end of the day, people want to feel good. That’s why your subscribers will gravitate toward email subject lines that give them a laugh, include fun emojis, or make them feel good about themselves.

How do you write an effective email subject line that capitalizes on joy to boost open rates? See this example from Grubhub. Although it may not be the funniest email subject line you’ve ever seen, it gets subscribers thinking about something they love.

effective email subject lines

5. Offers

Love it or hate it, people love stuff. That’s why they’re more likely to open emails that claim to give them something for free or at a discounted price. Your offer can be a free graphics pack, priority access to your new collection of products, or a discount for your online store. As long as your email truly does contain some sort of valuable offer, make this clear right in your subject line.

Check out how Mirvish explicitly mentions the opportunity to get priority access to theatre tickets in this effective email subject line.

effective email subject lines

6. Resources

You don’t have to offer free products or discounts to craft an effective email subject line. You can also encourage subscribers to open your emails by highlighting a resource they can access in them. This can be a template for writing a high-converting services page, a checklist of things to do before publishing a new blog post, or a list of the top 25 stock photo sites for websites and blogs.

Why do subject lines that highlight resources boost open rates? People love tips and tricks that can help them get things done faster and easier. After all, even hardworking people don’t want to spend more time on something than they have to. Appeal to your subscribers’ inner sloth by mentioning a resource offered in your email right in the subject line.

See how we used this technique in an email to promote our new post on blog automation tools.

effective email subject lines

7. Case studies

Don’t have time to create a new resource for your subscribers each week? You don’t have to. Resources aren’t the only way to give your subscribers value that can help them. You can also present a case study of how you’ve accomplished something using a particular strategy or tool.

Why do people love case studies? They provide evidence that a process or tool is effective, and they help them envision the results they could achieve by using it. So if you’ve got a success story that’s relevant to your subscribers, share it in an email. And when you do, craft an effective email subject line that makes it clear that your email is a case study.

See how Melyssa Griffin piques subscribers’ interest with this email subject line by signalling that she’s about to share a case study.

effective email subject lines

Use effective email subject lines to boost your open rates

Not all email subject lines are created equal. Some are far more effective than others. That’s why you can boost the percentage of subscribers who open your emails by using the types of subject lines we’ve discussed above as much as possible. When you use email subject lines that appeal to subscribers’ psychology—that is, their goals, desires, and needs—you’re more likely to present them with an email they can’t help but open.

Need help crafting email subject lines that will make subscribers actually open your emails?
Download our 63 free email subject line templates.

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The 7 most effective email subject lines + 63 free templates

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