13 Tips on Writing an Email Subject Line (Plus 100 Examples)

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated August 25, 2022 | Published January 13, 2021

Updated August 25, 2022

Published January 13, 2021

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

When writing an email, it's important to have a strong subject line that gets the recipient's attention. This can encourage them to open the email, create a positive first impression and make it more likely for them to engage with your writing. Knowing how to write a subject line can also help you communicate effectively with coworkers, mentors, employers or customers. 

In this article, we explain the importance of writing a subject line, offer 13 tips on how to do it effectively and provide 100 subject line examples.


Why is an effective email subject line important?

Writing an email subject line is important because it can increase the success of your email communication. A recipient may see your subject line and any information it contains when they receive your email. Based on its content, they may decide whether they want to open the email and engage with its contents.

Since many people rely on mobile devices for on-the-go communication, it's important to have a subject line they can quickly scan. If you present them with an enticing subject line that makes them want to know more, they're more apt to open and read your email. Overall, a strong subject line can positively impact nearly every aspect of your personal and business communications whether you're applying for a job over email or communicating with a coworker.


Tips for how to subject an email

Use these tips to help you write an effective subject line for your next email:


1. Consider the length

When writing an email subject line, consider its length. While shorter email subject lines are quicker to scan, they don't necessarily improve your chances of your email getting read. Even if a shorter subject line is more likely to hold your recipient's attention, your subject line needs to reflect your email's content. If you want to use a shorter subject line, make sure it provides enough detail and makes the reader wonder what your email has to say.


2. Take a vague approach

While it helps to provide your recipient with enough details in your subject line, you can also opt for a vague subject line that leaves them with just enough information to make them want to know more. Vague subject lines like "Thankful for you" or "Hey" can get your recipient's attention and make them wonder what additional information the email contains.


3. Be specific

In some cases, it's best to use direct language in your subject lines. For example, if you're applying for a job, it's important to use specific details in your subject line such as your name, the name of the position and the documents you attached. Since hiring managers may read several emails per day, a specific subject line with plenty of detail clearly lets them know why you're emailing them.

Related: How To Email a Hiring Manager Directly (With Examples)


4. Be mindful of the preview length

Before you send an email, consider how much of your subject line your recipient can read. Some email servers only show a certain amount of characters for a subject line preview. If your subject line is too long, your recipient won't get to read it in its entirety. If this happens, it's best to shorten your subject line to something they can fully read in a preview.

Related: What Is Email Preview Text? (Plus Tips for Creating)


5. Use emojis and symbols wisely

When used appropriately, emojis can help improve open rates, especially with a younger demographic. Some emojis aren't compatible with all email clients and devices, though, so make sure to use them carefully so they don't negatively affect your brand's image. Consider that some cultures may also react to an emoji, image or symbol differently than your intended message.

Related: How To Write Professional Emails (With Templates)


6. Avoid sounding like spam

To prevent your email from getting sent to the spam folder, avoid phrases that sound too sales-driven or offer promises you can't keep. Also, avoid overusing exclamation points or all caps. While it's fine to convey a sense of urgency, it's important not to overdo it or it can deter your recipient.

Related: 40 Catchy Email Subject Lines for Sales Conversions


7. Analyze the performance of your emails

If you're sending emails on behalf of your business, analyze their performance over time. Track the open rate and identify any patterns you see regarding the type of subject lines you used. Based on your analysis, determine which types of subject lines tend to perform best to improve the chances of your email getting opened.

Related: 11 Top Email Marketing KPIs and Metrics You Need To Know


8. Include your recipient's name

Whether you're sending an individual email or an email to a large group of people, consider personalizing your subject lines to grab the recipient's attention. For example, you could add their name to the subject line. When they see their name, they may feel more inclined to read your message. As with any other aspect of your subject line, try to use their name in a genuine way that doesn't feel automated.

Related: Email Personalization: What It Is and How To Do It Effectively


9. Use location-specific language

You can also refer to your reader's location in your subject line to further personalize it. Since people feel connected to their hometown, using location-specific language can make them curious as to what's going on in their area. For example, you can describe local demographic data or include mention of local news and events.

Related: What Are Demographics? (Definition, Examples and Uses)


10. Highlight your recipient's interests

Another way to personalize your email subject line is to connect with your recipient through their interests. If you've collected data from your users over time, you can segment your emails based on their interests. For example, if you know certain members of your audience like sports, you can create a personalized sports subject line just for them. When you call out something meaningful to your recipients, they're more likely to open your email and read it.

Related: 75 Survey Questions To Better Understand Your Customers


11. Use clickbait to your advantage

When you write a subject line, it's important to keep your recipient curious about the content of your email. Clickbait subject lines target people by providing them with a subject line they can't resist. Test out a few clickbait subject lines and track their performance. Keep in mind that what works for everyone else's audience may not work for yours.

Related: Guide: What Is Clickbait?


12. Use questions

If you're sending a sales email, consider using a question as your subject line. Questions provide your recipient with just enough information while also piquing their curiosity. When you ask a question, you imply that they can find the answer when they open your email. For example, you can write, "Are you making these three marketing mistakes?" This question implies that they can find out what these marketing mistakes are in your email.


13. Share value

The emails you send can hold some type of value for your recipient or provide them with information or something to help them. Consider writing a subject line that immediately describes the value they can find in your email. For example, the subject line "How to write a headline" lets them know they can find the steps for writing a headline within the content of your email. If you continuously provide your recipients with valuable content, they may open your emails in the future.

Related: How To Write an Email Subject Line That Gets Responses

Examples of email subject lines

Use these examples of email subject lines to help guide you as you craft your own:

  1. Follow-up on resume submission, Anna Jones, copywriter position

  2. Job application for graphic designer position: Summer Stevens

  3. New blog post: "How to Boost Your Sales In 3 Days"

  4. 10 quick lessons we learned the hard way

  5. Today's the day you've been waiting for

  6. We'd love to know your thoughts!

  7. How to track your sales against your competition

  8. Don't miss out on this great deal

  9. How James Oliver drove sales by 60% in a week

  10. These 2 tricks can help you increase your sales traffic

  11. How we can help you reach your sales goals

  12. Here's a little thank you present for being a valued customer...

  13. 15% coupon just for you

  14. Katie, thank you for your continued support of my new business

  15. Are you ready to improve your website's SEO ranking?

  16. Three useful tips you're going to LOVE

  17. Hey Harper, you're invited!

  18. Thank you for saying yes!

  19. How to write click-worthy headlines

  20. Poll results and thank you rewards inside

  21. Don't miss these events from Green Hill Marketing

  22. Did you make these three sales mistakes?

  23. Who doesn't love a good sale?

  24. Guess what's back in stock?

  25. We're so thankful for you!

  26. LAST CHANCE to enter this giveaway

  27. Get 100 new customers by next week

  28. 40% off sale ends TONIGHT

  29. 100 free books in this email!

  30. Get ready for the giveaway of your dreams

  31. Thanks for subscribing! Open for your FREE gift

  32. Now in stock and ready to order

  33. 10 things to avoid wearing

  34. Welcome, Sarah! Free gift inside

  35. A special coupon just for you!

  36. FLASH SALE happening now

  37. Did you get a chance to try our new skin care line?

  38. NEW BLOG POST: "How to Drive Customers to Your Online Store"

  39. I have another FREEBIE just for you

  40. How to get 100 subscribers

  41. Welcome gift inside

  42. Welcome to your next adventure

  43. We're deleting your account

  44. Happy Monday + FREEBIE inside!

  45. How much do you LOVE this giveaway?

  46. Following up on today's meeting

  47. Quick follow-up regarding the cookbook launch

  48. Coupons, giveaways and a few little extras

  49. Your favorite products are back in stock

  50. Last chance to get 50% off all sale items

  51. We finally did it!

  52. Did you get the invitation?

  53. Forget something in your cart? Here's 10% off

  54. Emily, your account is on hold

  55. Did you miss these new features?

  56. Here's a freebie to say thank you!

  57. URGENT: Your mailbox is full

  58. A welcome gift just for you

  59. LAST CHANCE to get my latest book at the special launch price!

  60. It seemed like a good idea at the time...

  61. Lauren Ramirez: job application for senior architect position

  62. 15 marketing trends you need to know

  63. Before you write another blog post, consider these tips

  64. Are we still on for 10?

  65. What NOT to do during your job interview

  66. 10 bizarre habits to make you richer

  67. 10 beauty hacks

  68. Your subscription is expiring. Act fast!

  69. Kelly, check out these hand-picked outfits

  70. 10 events happening in San Francisco this weekend

  71. Everything you wanted to know about blogging that you were too afraid to ask

  72. Brand new products available

  73. Exclusive sale starts NOW

  74. Save $30 on orders over $200

  75. Upgrade your experience with these new add-ons

  76. Everything email marketers don't want you to know

  77. You're invited

  78. Can you meet in 10?

  79. Thank you for helping us

  80. Your subscription plan ends tonight. Act now!

  81. 100 blog post ideas just for you

  82. You're missing out on points

  83. You have ONE day to watch this

  84. Happy Birthday, Carrie! Surprise gift inside

  85. Quick favor?

  86. Order NOW before they're sold out again!

  87. 10 inspirational videos to get you pumped

  88. Social media specialist seeking new opportunity

  89. Today only: Earn DOUBLE points!

  90. Good news: These items are now on sale

  91. 10 gift ideas for your hard-to-please teenagers

  92. 20 products celebs are using

  93. 25% off your favorite items

  94. Complimentary gift on all purchases

  95. 24-hour flash sale happening now!

  96. Meet your new favorite jeans

  97. Prices have dropped in your shopping cart

  98. Ends today: Extra 25% off

  99. Job inquiry — Cassidy Robertson

  100. Administrative assistant job — Abigail Jones


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