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20+ of the Best Email Subject Lines

By 22. January 2020June 15th, 2020

A great email subject can be the key to better open rates, but mastering the technique of subject line writing can be a challenge. On the hunt for inspiration, we decided to scour through our inboxes and dig out the very best email subject lines of 2019.

In this guide, you'll find 20+ inspiring examples of the best email subject lines from the biggest brands. We've got everything from funny, to creative, to sales based to help you with your next big campaign...

Best intriguing email subject lines

Email subjects which are able to evoke curiosity in the reader are always super effective.

Even if you're not too interested in the sender, if the subject line is interesting enough, it's likely that you're going to open the email to find out more.

"These are so ugly"

By: Etsy

Wait... what's ugly? If you're anything like us, this subject line would make you click right away.

In reality, Etsy were just advertising some classic, corny Christmas sweaters, but the use of a bold statement in this subject line certainly managed to raise eyebrows.

"Is the Ouija board dangerous?"

By: Quora Digest

Turning your subject line into a question is a great trick to get better open rates. If the question is interesting enough, the reader will open your email to find out the answer.

Once the recipient has opened your email, you can use creative email copy and great design convince them to click through to your store or website. Easy, right?

"DON'T SCROLL PAST | This ends midnight ?"

By: British Corner Shop

The all-caps strategy used in this subject line by British Corner Shop is definitely an attention grabber. In a crowded inbox, it only takes a second for an email to stand out and make the reader choose to click open.

The term "This ends midnight" is also intriguing, as they deliberately don't give everything away in the subject. This increases the likelihood that the reader will open the email for more details.

"Burning questions & stuff"

By: Really Good Emails

This subject line is smart by using everyday, informal language rather than the typical sales/marketing speak readers are used to seeing in their inbox.

This change in syntax is enough to make the recipient look twice and open the email to find out more.

"Did someone say payday? ?"

By: Boots

This witty subject line is super relatable and mirrors the thoughts of most of us when we get our pay-check. Incorporating the payday theme into your subject line is a smart way to tempt readers into treating themselves after a month of hard work.

Again, the use of a rhetorical question also makes a subject line like this is intriguing to readers. This paired with an irresistible offer or promotion will make your campaign a winner.

Best funny email subject lines

If it fits in with your brand, using humour is another great way to make your email subject stand out from the rest. Some of the best email subject lines we've come across have got a funny side to them...

"Gimme Gimme Gimme a ticket for Mamma Mia!"

By: LOVEtheatre

This subject line is without a doubt corny, but certainly helps put a smile on the reader's face (as well as getting the song stuck in their head!)

A clever email subject such as this one not only grabs the attention of the reader, but also gets them thinking all about the show the email is promoting before they've even chosen to open.

"Alexa: Read this email! ?"

By: Phrasee

We love how creative this example by Phrasee is. A funny, unique subject line automatically triggers the reader to want to open the email - even if they don't know what it's going to be about.

"? The hottest thing on your screen…? ?"

By: Domino's Pizza

This subject line may raise a few eyebrows, but that's exactly what makes it so effective. As well as creating that all important sense of intrigue which makes readers open the email, the tongue in cheek humour is also a great way to gain more attention.

"Still wanted: your opinion"

By: ATG Tickets

This is a great and funny twist on the classic feedback request email. The directness used here is exactly what will make the recipient look twice at an email they'd more than likely otherwise scroll past.

Best personalised email subject lines

What better way to get someone's attention than by using their name? Using personalisation in your email's subject is an easy way to make a regular subject line much more interesting to the reader.

"Grace, how about a hot drink on us?"

By: Subway

Here is another example of how using a question in your email subject helps draw the reader in. This together with the use of personalisation makes the recipient feel special and, in this case, makes the offer seem exclusively tailored to them.

"Grace, autumn flights under £29.99"

By: easyJet

The use of personalisation helps turn a standard sales subject line into something much more eye-catching. If easyJet had simply left their subject line as "Autumn flights under £29.99", it's likely their open rates would have been significantly lower.

Using the customer's first name makes them feel directly spoken to and makes the email appear much more relevant.

"Grace, people with ALS need you now!"

By: The ALS Association

Using personalisation in a charity email campaign is an effective way to encourage recipients to donate more.

Using their first name turns the email into a personalised plea rather than a mass campaign; which could help the reader feel more of a sense of responsibility to donate. P.S. Check out this post for more tips on building charity email campaigns.

Best sales-based email subject lines

If done correctly, a catchy text about your sale or promotion can also become one of the best email subject lines. Including tempting sale keywords and mentioning your impressive discounts are two ways to help your email stand out for the recipient.

"*BIG NEWS* Sale now up to 60% off"

By: Jack Wills

The use of all-caps and asterisks at the beginning of this subject line draws readers in right away. As well as this, mentioning the hefty 60% discount is also bound to turn heads and get customers clicking.

"Celebrating 30 years with 30% OFF for 24 hours only!"

By: Bunches

This promotion is fun and the repetition of 30 immediately makes the subject line more interesting; catching the attention of more recipients. Together with the added time pressure (24 hours only), we'd say Bunches are on to a winner here.

"? Everything is £3 or less? Hurry! ?"

By: 10 Store

There's a lot going on in this email subject line. Mentioning the super low prices in the subject (£3 or less?) is definitely a guaranteed way to draw more readers in. If that wasn't enough, the emojis also help brighten up the recipient's inbox...

Best emoji email subject lines

Everyone loves using an emoji now and again (read: ALL THE TIME ?) If used properly, they can also work wonders for your email subject lines by adding a splash of color to your customers' inboxes.

"? Items to make you smile!"

By: eBay

This subject line may seem simple, but the smiley emoji makes the email jump out at you. This fun emoji might have been all they needed to click on an email they would have otherwise ignored.

"? Open the door to your perfect holiday stay"


As shown in this example, emojis can also work well as an illustration for your subject line. A picture speaks a thousand words, so if you can find a suitable emoji to go alongside your email subject line, why not give it a go!?

The door emoji is rarely used and happens to fit super well with the theme of the email; enticing more readers to click.

"2-4-1 = Date Night ❤️"

By: Giraffe

This is a really unique subject line which combines multiple clever elements. For example, Giraffe are able to keep things fun and succinct and by using numbers instead of writing "two for one."

Overall, using the love heart emoji is an instant eye-catcher and fits well with the "date night theme."

"⏳ ENDS TONIGHT - 20% off 20 great brands ⏳"

By: Boots

The egg timer emoji is a classic way of ramping up the time pressure in your subject line. Although the subject would have been pretty effective on its own, the emojis help it go that extra mile to stand out.

Best FOMO email subject lines

Creating a sense of urgency to get your readers to open up your email is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Using this technique plays on people's FOMO (fear of missing out) and uses time pressure to persuade customers to perform a specific action.

"Hurry Grace! Save now with our 3 month membership!"

By: Places Leisure

As well as using personalisation, the use of the words "hurry" and "save now" imply that the deal is only running for a limited time. This makes the reader much more likely to click so that they don't miss out on a great offer.

"Don't forget to claim your FREE month of Sky Cinema"

By: Now TV

Capitalising the word "free" here is an instant eye-catcher, but the main point which draws readers in to this subject line is the use of the phrase "don't forget." This suggests the user only has a limited amount of time to claim the offer before - you guessed it - missing out.

"Have you got your tickets?!"

By: The National Wedding Show

Rhetorical questions can also be effective in creating a sense of urgency. The added exclamation mark at the end of the question makes it seem more urgent, and using the pronoun "you" helps to direct the question straight to the recipient.

"Your discount code expires TOMORROW!"

By: Opodo

This is a good example of how using all-caps can help emphasise time-sensitive language even more. The recipient is instantly drawn to the word "tomorrow" which makes them wonder what is happening the next day. This is the exact kind of intrigue required to get a customer to open your email.

Best reengagement email subject lines

If some of your subscribers may have lost their way, you can use a reengagement campaign to help get them back on track. In order to do so, your subject line has to do the job of convincing them to re-connect with your emails again.

"Aerosmith - still want those tickets?"

By: Ticketmaster

This subject line is a great accompaniment to an abandoned cart email. Sending out emails such as this is a great technique to give customers the chance to pick up their interrupted purchase from where they left off.

The customer, who had recently been looking at Aerosmith tickets, will be quickly drawn in by seeing the band's name in their inbox. This coincidence could be all the inspiration they need to open your email and check over the ticket prices again.

"Grace, don't forget your tickets to Luton Airport"

By: Trainline

This reengagement style subject line also uses personalisation for added effect. Using the customer's first name grabs their attention and ensures they won't miss the important reminder.

"We've missed you! 85% OFF your 1st item"

By: JustFab UK

In this example, the customer is tempted back by the promise of a huge 85% discount. The phrase "we've missed you" is direct and personal and implies the deal is exclusive to the customer, rather than a widespread promotion.

Key Takeaways

These were just a handful of examples of the best email subject lines. Hopefully you've found out a little bit more about the types of subject lines you should be using to improve your open rates.

The best advice we can give is to be creative and discover what works best for you and your business. Remember to also keep track of your open rates and analyse performance whenever you try out a new subject line technique.

Want to get the full effect of your subject line BEFORE you send out your email? Mail Designer 365's inbox optimization tool is a great way for you to experiment with different styles and lengths of email subject:

Mail Designer 365's inbox preview helps you write the best email subject lines

Use the inbox preview in Mail Designer 365 to test multiple subject line styles.

The live preview lets you view your potential subject line options in an inbox mockup. You can also view your subject at the top of your design to see how it fits in with your overall campaign.

Sign up free to Mail Designer 365 today to discover this and a range of other exciting tools for creating effective email campaigns.

Until next time,

Your Mail Designer 365 Team

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