The 36 best email subject lines (for marketers)
Marketers and email go together like Tony Soprano and cigars. In fact, 68% of companies rate email as the best marketing channel for ROI. But good email marketing is a craft. And success or failure depends on your email subject line.
That’s because all kinds of communications are beamed into our brains for every waking moment. It’s a lot of info, and only so much can stick.
So to make sure your emails get noticed, we spoke to Cognism's email experts Liam Bartholomew and James Sutton. Below, they provide the best email subject lines for different marketing scenarios, along with some killer tips.
Newsletter email subject lines
Adding value to readers is the core goal of every newsletter. This means you should avoid a blanket approach in your newsletter email subject lines. Instead, focus on how your company updates benefit your readers, and how it can remedy their pain points.
Tip 1: Don’t say newsletter
Using “Newsletter” as your email subject line is likely to kill your message stone dead. That’s because it doesn’t indicate the value a reader can gain by clicking through. To write something resonant, home in on what you’re offering and why it matters.
Tip 2: Personalise, personalise, personalise
Including names, locations or companies in your email subject line helps to separate you from run of the mill email blasts. Even if your newsletter is going to 5,000 contacts, make sure it’s personalised.
So, if you have multiple buyer personas, use different subject lines to address them. Also try to serve up tailored content. After all, giving marketers sales content is unlikely to strike a chord. Tapping into topical conversations is another fruitful tactic. This helps to emphasise the timeliness, and thereby relevance, of your message.
Tip 3: Include a hook
Successful hooks do enough to pique interest without giving the game away. Attention-grabbing data, special offers, exclusive content and questions will all help achieve this.
Tip 4: Use humour
Inboxes are full of dry email subject lines. And you want your newsletter to stand out. Humour and emojis are great ways to cut through the noise and may even make your readers look forward to your newsletter.
9 best email subject line examples: Newsletters
Product email subject lines
There’s a fine line to be struck in product email subject lines. On the one hand, you want to include technical detail. On the other hand, you don’t want to turn your readers off with complex jargon. To achieve this feat, all you need is a sprinkling of context...
Tip 1: Put the customer first
Whether it’s a product update or a product launch, your subject line has to grab attention. And “Say hello to [insert product] 2.0” is unlikely to cut the mustard. Instead, choose the headline benefit of the product and hint at how it could benefit your readers.
Tip 2: Personalise, personalise, personalise
Personalised email subject lines land. Generic email subject lines don’t. So when you’re covering products, try segmenting your data. This will allow you to address different customer bases effectively. You can also try calling out your audience in the subject line. Including job titles like “Sales Leader!” or “CEOs!” will leave no illusions about who you’re addressing and why.
Tip 3: Use a hook
We explored the value of hooks and humour in our newsletter section above, and product emails are no different. Provocative questions and eye-catching stats are your secret weapon.
9 best email subject line examples: Product updates
Drip nurture email subject lines
Email is a great way to guide leads through the sales funnel. And blending a number of email subject line tactics should help get your personas from A to B.
Tip 1: Personalise, personalise, personalise
Moving beyond first name data is a nice trick to have up your sleeve. Especially if you’re selling a product, you’re likely to be liaising with key decision makers. And they're responsible for whole departments, not just themselves. In these cases, focusing on company names can help make your subject line more resonant.
Tip 2: Get your keywords in early
Don’t beat around the bush. Let your reader know what you’re talking about in the first couple of words. This will help them identify value as they scan through their emails. Also try and keep your subject lines around 40 characters.
Tip 3: Ask questions
Email subject lines that ask questions get results. In fact, when James sent a nurture email to around 500 cold leads, the results were frightening. “[First name], who’s buying right now?” returned a whopping 52% open rate and a 24% click through rate.
The email shared a new trial for Cognism’s prospecting tools, focusing on how to identify active leads through the platform during COVID. It was successful because it used personalisation and tapped into a huge issue facing salespeople and marketers.
Tip 4: Use figures & case studies
Data is the most valuable resource in the world. Don’t be scared to use it. If you can draw on a recent study that highlights the value of your product, amazing. If you can illustrate that statistic with real life examples or case studies, even better. This helps the reader visualise how your product could work for them.
Tip 5: Test & iterate
Different email subject lines will work better for different audiences. Using A/B testing will help you hone your approach and guarantee high open rates.
9 best email subject line examples: Drip nurture
Outreach email subject lines
Tip 1: Be credible
Particularly in cases of cold outreach, credibility is key. If the reader of the email doesn’t know you, they might know your company. They may also know people in your professional network. By using your subject line to name-drop, you’ll be setting yourself up for success against your anonymous competition.
Tip 2: Be timely
You may only get one chance to make a connection with a high-value prospect, so strike the iron while it’s hot. If an event or development makes your product attractive to an audience group, be sure to reference it. It could be the spark you need to turn them into loyal customers.
Tip 3: Be creative
Sometimes, wacky works. If you’ve chased and chased again on an outreach email, take your foot off the breaks and get creative. You can even crack wise or point fun at the situation. But be sure to run more daring email subject lines by your peers to check you’re not going overboard.
9 best email subject line examples: Outreach
Co-worker email subject lines
Everyone knows how to write good internal emails, right? Well, you’d be surprised. Even though your co-workers have a vested interest to help you out, they’re busy with client work. Just as you would with a client or a cold lead, you need to grab their attention.
Tip 1: Be clear
Make your email subject line as easy as possible for your co-workers to understand. This will allow them to quickly action your request. Including keywords at the beginning of your subject line will help.
Tip 2: Be friendly
You know these guys. That means there’s room for a casual tone and humour as long as it doesn’t detract from your key message.
Tip 3: Create a sense of urgency
Don’t let your co-workers stick your request on the laterbase. Because as soon as that happens, it’s never getting done. By introducing a time deadline, you’ll get your teammates to jump to attention. And you won’t have to add that red exclamation mark that everyone hates.
Tip 4: Send at peak time
Your email is important, so don’t send it at a random time. This will make your request feel like an afterthought, making replies and actions less likely. You can always use scheduling tools to ensure your email arrives at an appropriate time. Sending between 6am - 7am will ensure your mail is the first thing your reader sees.
9 best email subject line examples: Co-workers
Best email subject lines: Key takeaways
Now your readers are opening your emails, you can use them as a marketing channel. Learn more