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best email subject lines

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

  • [First name], fix your data headache 🤯
  • [First name]: Your roadmap to a predictable marketing engine
  • [First name], here's a little something to get you started…
  • [First name], get yourself a pipeline that makes you smile! 😅 
  • [First name], for you to enjoy at your leisure!
  • Once upon a time at [company]...🌟
  • The key ingredient to success.
  • [First name], I think you'll find this useful
  • Increased ROI by 10x with prospecting - how?

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

  • [First name], check out our top 2020 product updates🏅
  • What’s new in V2?
  • [First name], say goodbye 👋🏻  to manual prospecting
  • You asked, we listened. Say hello to directs dials for Europe…
  • The Ultimate Email Marketing Tool 
  • Introducing Dynamic Email Signature Marketing
  • Sales Leader: The Answer to your Prayers
  • Increase conversions by 25% 
  • One more sleep

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 no. 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 no. 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

  • How could [company] nurture leads better?
  • Gain 5K leads with Mailtastic like [company]
  • Transform [company's] sales process overnight
  • 10 reasons why our customers dig us
  • [First name], drive webinar traffic with this quick-win
  • [Company], reduce your Ad spend by 60%
  • Could [company] use a helping hand? 
  • 5 rules good content marketers follow
  • Did this pass you by?

Outreach email subject lines

Effective outreach is the holy grail of marketing. And while reeling high value targets in is easier said than done, your email subject line can be really useful bait.

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 no. 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

  • [Company], streamline your marketing spend 
  • [Company's] new customer promise 
  • Make major lead gen gains with [company] 
  • Steal our content strategy
  • [Mutual connection] told me to get in touch
  • A minute of your time
  • A coffee on me
  • One last try
  • Me (again)

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

  • Help grow [company] network tomorrow
  • Share our latest post
  • Follow us on Medium
  • Last chance: Sign up to [event] 
  • Complete employee survey by COP
  • Feedback on draft two of [task]
  • Quick question about analytics
  • Would love your take on this
  • Urgent 

Best email subject lines: Key takeaways

  • Personalisation is key
  • Figures add authority
  • Humour is a weapon
  • Questions are enticing
  • Emojis add colour

Now your readers are opening your emails, you can use them as a marketing channel. Learn more