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Email Subject Lines That Work

How often do you get bombarded by promotional emails daily? Newsletters, webinars, sales, new products, abandoned carts, post-purchases. We’d wager a bet that each one of these is sitting in your inbox right now—and that you’ll open maybe 10% of them.

According to The Radicati Group, an average of 200k business and consumer emails were sent per minute in 2018.

That’s 281 billion emails a day.

Quite a bit to sort through. Thankfully, subject lines make it much easier to filter the useful from the useless.

A subject line is our first impression of an email’s content, the same way we’ll pick up a book because the cover draws us in. Yes, it’s time we admit that we do judge a book by its cover—at least initially. It’s human nature; the design, colours, and title are what give us an idea of genre, readership, and story. The same rule applies to email subjects.

As a business, you want your promo emails to stand out amongst the plethora of others. But what’s the secret to making your emails clickable? These seven types of subject lines are your answer:



Fear of missing out doesn’t just apply to emails. In general, humans are more susceptible to offers that they’re afraid to lose than those they can gain.

Tip: Highlight what the recipient can lose.

Catchy Email Subject Line: Exclusive Invitation! One-Time Only Online Sale Ends Tonight



In this case, curiosity doesn’t kill anyone. It keeps people wanting more and stimulates action. Consider an episode ending in a cliff hanger—what are the chances you actually turn the TV off? Most of us will give in to “just one more”.

Tip: Add just enough information to peek the recipient’s interest.

Catchy Email Subject Line: This is what happens when you ignore social media marketing…



Humour is tricky. Sure, most of us respond well to it—we welcome a good laugh, especially if our inbox is inundated with ordinary, uninspiring messages. But you need to be sure your target audience appreciates it, too.

Tip: Your jokes should resonate with the recipient, but by no means offend.

Catchy Email Subject Line: Matinee SALE (Come on, you can play hooky just this once!)

Pain Point


This tactic involves in-depth market research. Finding your audience’s pain points involves identifying their struggles and offering your product/service as a solution.

Tip: Make the recipient feel like “you’ve got them”.

Catchy Email Subject Line: It’s time you stop feeling anxious about that next essay.



If you’re starting to see some of your subscribers slip away, a re-engagement email is an effective way of reminding them of how they can still benefit from your product or service.

Tip: Maintain their interest through a discount or offer.

Catchy Email Subject Line: One of your shopping bag items is on sale!



Hard to believe, but studies have proven that emojis make messages more memorable. Besides the fact that they’re irresistibly charming, they also stand out in an inbox brimful of black and white subject lines.

Tip: If you want to convey emotion, use emojis to save space.

Catchy Email Subject Line: No way! Free gift bag inside ????????

Social Proof


Social proof is all about making your brand look credible. This could be in the form of testimonials, celebrity/expert endorsements, etc.

Tip: Incorporate photos and videos in your body content.

Catchy Email Subject Line: Lady Gaga spotted wearing our spring line?

Email marketing is no easy feat. If you’re ready to kick off the new year with emails that really, and we mean really convert, get in touch with Awkward Media today.

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