Eden Advertising Blog

7 Types of Must-Click Email Subject Lines


That’s how many business and consumer emails are sent every minute, every day.

Now, we know you marketers are thinking two things at this point:

  1. How can I ensure my business emails are being opened by recipients in such a saturated digital space?
  2. ‘Inbox zero’ has to be an urban legend. It has to be.

Even with all the email clutter, according to a report from HubSpot Research, 46% of consumers are still open to…opening emails from brands or businesses they support.

To create email subject lines that resonate with your audience, you’ll require a deep understanding of your target market, and a knack for shrinking long copy into a few punchy words that hit home with your audience.

We’ll show you how to do the latter with these 7 tips for writing email subject lines.

FOMO Subject Lines

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, can be an impactful tool for your email marketing subject lines.

Consumers have a psychological slant to loss aversion – they react strongly and with more urgency if they fear they’re about to lose something valuable. It goes without saying these are some of the best email subject lines for sales.

You can play off this human psyche with email subject lines that point out what they’ll lose if they don’t open your email. The more value they stand to lose, the more anxious they get about leaving the contents of your email unexplored.

FOMO Examples:

  • Uber: Grab a ride pass before they’re gone
  • Crew: Click it or miss it, people: Over 500 styles under $25 are ending!
  • InstantBoss Club: NEVER AGAIN SALE
  • Charles Tyrwhitt: Shirts for $39 ENDS MIDNIGHT

Curious Subject Lines

Curiosity leads to action. And for us marketers, action equates to better engagement rates.

“Curiosity keeps our mind engaged to work out the implications,” says psychologist Gary Klein.

When it comes to working out those implications, a consumer must click through your email to satisfy that desire for information.

Curious Subject Line Examples:

  • Intercom: Are you making this landing page mistake?
  • Zillow: The truth about moving expenses
  • LinkedIn: This is how much working from home saves you
  • Apartment Therapy: Why You Should Keep Your Clothes in the Freezer

Funny Subject Lines

If you want to stand out from the same cookie-cutter, ordinary subject lines consumers glaze over day after day, try injecting some funny into your email subject lines.

But remember, it’s crucial to know your audience. Humor won’t translate or be appreciated in certain industries or marketing campaigns. Try not to offend or alienate anyone with your jokes, too.

Funny Subject Line Examples:

  • Funny or Die: Revised policy regarding jean shorts at work
  • Boston Red Sox Ticketing: Come to Fenway May 2 – we won’t tell your boss!
  • Dollar Shave Club: What to Do When You’re the Sweaty, Smelly Guy at the Gym
  • Nordstrom Rack: Ray-Ban up to 50% off. Get in a new frame of mind.

Pain Point Subject Lines

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, everyone is looking for ways to do more and earn more.

As marketers, we can leverage this idea through email subject lines by positioning our product or service as a part of the solution to the buyer’s obstacles. Recognizing and empathizing with your audience goes a long way in building and maintaining customer loyalty.

  • Crew: Your summer outfit dilemmas SOLVED
  • Qapital: Don’t think about saving. Save without thinking.
  • Dominio’s: No address? No problem. Now Domino’s can deliver to over 150,000 Domino’s Hotspots
  • Verizon Wireless: Enjoy NBA games right at your fingertips

Reengagement Subject Lines

If your analytics show a drop in email engagement, reengagement subject lines can resuscitate your email list health.

You’ll need to get creative to re-spark that interest in your customers. Some ideas could include promoting discounts, reminding them about their still-filled online shopping cart, or highlighting an improvement to an existing product.

  • The Bouqs Company: Can You Believe It’s Been a Month?
  • Chubbies Shorts: Lemme Teleport You Back to Your Cart. Free of Charge.
  • Groupon: Still Interested in That Deal?
  • DraftKings: [Name], you have an undrafted contest entry!

Emoji Subject Lines

Old school marketers, prepare to cringe.

Whether we like it or lump it, emojis have quickly become a universal communication tool, making it easier for advertisers to convey emotion in tight content spaces.

There’s research that shows people remember messages with emojis more than they do with plain text. Plus, emojis add some contrast to consumers’ inboxes, making any message aesthetically stand out.

The emojis that lead to the most clicks, according to HubSpot:

  • Octopus
  • Horse Head
  • Jeans
  • Cherries
  • Steam Locomotive

Social Proof Subject Lines

Another psychological subject line format, social proof emails are based on the premise that people will alter their behavior to align with what other people are doing.

Think about a restaurant with a line up spilling outside, or a celebrity consuming a product or service; it creates a sense of quality around that product, service, or brand.

Buffer explains that there are five types of social proof: Expert Social Proof, Celebrity Social Proof, User Social Proof, ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ Social Proof, and ‘Wisdom of your Friends’ Social Proof.

Social Proof Subject Line Examples:

  • Patagonia: Top reviewed styles from customers like you
  • HelloFresh: Pssst…your friends are cooking up a storm!
  • Airbnb: Make it a good night with John Legend and Airbnb
  • Yummly: Simple recipes from popular chefs

Now that you know how to write effective email subject lines, your email marketing campaigns should enjoy a bump in engagement, resulting in more leads and sales.

If you need help putting together email marketing campaigns for your brand, our digital marketing agency creates custom email templates filled with valuable content your audience will ‘Star’ in their inbox.

Learn more about our email marketing services, or contact us today for more information.