Digital Marketing

Creative Email Subject Lines Used by Top Brands

By Just Digital Team
Creative Email Subject Lines Used by Top Brands

Email marketing doesn’t need special introductions, as pretty much every internet user knows its benefits and cost efficiency. However, that isn’t to say that all email marketing campaigns are successful or that open rates are encouraging.

Quite the contrary!

Statistics shows that a large percentage of marketing emails end up either being flagged as spam or deleted. How come?

Well, the reasons aren’t that difficult to imagine. With most people wasting precious hours of their lives checking and responding to new email messages, there is often not enough time to ponder over random email offers. In order for an offer to stand out, it needs to promise something the recipient actually needs… and to keep delivering on its offer.

Sadly enough, recipients are just human. That means they are into self-interest, translating into offers that solve immediate issues and offer large savings. This is in regards to new customers. Old customers are more into greed and vanity, so personalization has a big role to play in their case. Adding a name and a customized offer is likely to keep them happy in the long run… provided you keep delivering on your promise. That is rule number one of successful email marketing.

Curiosity Killed the Cat… or Not?

People are curious beings by nature. It goes without saying, therefore, that email subject lines likely to pique their interest give the message a good chance of being read through. Make the contents of the message equally concise and tempting, and success is guaranteed.

It’s no secret that special offers and promotions always find their way to the majority of recipients… those written in a witty way more so than the rest. Shortly put, if you manage to keep the recipient curious and offer a deal to solve an immediate problem, you’re doing email marketing right.

There are various ways to make people curious. I.e., you can advertise an interesting offer, ask a question, or state something unusual. Some examples of email subject lines that effectively piques recipients curiosity include “What They Eat In Prison” (Thrillist), “Don’t Open This Email” (Manicube), “9 Disgusting Facts About Thanksgiving” (Eat This Not That) and “A Faster Donkey” (The Hustle).

creative email subject lines used by top brands


Successful Examples

It is indeed difficult to single out most successful email subject lines and for a simple reason: there are too many of them. However, we will provide some representative examples so you can see the different ways to attract your recipients’ attention.

One of our absolute favorites is an offer from Winc. Their subject line reads: “We’re trading wine for answers. You in?” Obviously, the promise here is to get free goods for some feedback — almost too good to be true.

Another good example comes from Social Panda. Their subject line reads: “Calling all lazy (smart) business owners.” How exactly does lazy equal smart? The answer is simple: open the message to find out.

For reference only, TurboTax Online came up with a brilliant idea on how to turn an unpleasant topic into a tempting offer. Their subject line reads: “Official Notice: Your refund is waiting.” Not only is it official, but it also offers a reward for tax payers. Nifty!

There is a long list of cunningly disguised clickbaits that don’t necessarily let the recipient down. From “I promise it’s worth it…” to “I have good news and bad news…” to “Let’s fix your offer together” to “I called. You didn’t answer”, marketers have found a way to promote their offer by building suspense.

You Can Always Look Better!

This simple sentence has done wonders, or better still: it has transformed marketing into an industry selling products most people wouldn’t need if they weren’t feeling insecure or didn’t feel the need to compete with others in terms of appearance. They do and always will; that’s how vanity works, and vanity is one of the defining characteristics of our species.

Businesses selling anything from miraculous elixirs of youth to ever sexier clothing know the secret to success. What then, with businesses operating in different niches? The answer is simple again: anything that can make the customer richer or prettier is certain to be hugely successful.

This is how the best of the best marketers nail their subject lines: “Age-defying beauty tricks” (La Mer), “Products the celebs are wearing” (Sephora) and “Don’t wear last year’s styles” (Guess).

Coupled with a sense of keeping on trend, the vanity note can help marketers improve the message they’re trying to get across with some small adjustments. Thus, email subject lines like ““Meet your new jeans” (Topshop), “25% off your favorites” (Guess), “Complimentary gift wrap on all purchases” (Rapha) and “New must-haves for your office” (HP) are almost guaranteed to get those messages read through.

After Attracting Recipients’ Attention

Of course, all that hard work on coming up with killer subject lines would amount to nothing if the offer behind wasn’t equally tempting. Attracting people’s attention is only the first step to achieving the final purpose, but a step without which you wouldn’t be successful in attracting customers. Therefore, sharpen your (virtual) pens and nail that subject line!

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