13 Tips on Writing an Email Subject Line (Plus 100 Examples)
Updated March 10, 2023
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Examples of email subject lines
Use these examples of email subject lines to help guide you as you craft your own:
Follow-up on resume submission, Anna Jones, copywriter position
Job application for graphic designer position: Summer Stevens
New blog post: "How to Boost Your Sales In 3 Days"
10 quick lessons we learned the hard way
Today's the day you've been waiting for
We'd love to know your thoughts!
How to track your sales against your competition
Don't miss out on this great deal
How James Oliver drove sales by 60% in a week
These 2 tricks can help you increase your sales traffic
How we can help you reach your sales goals
Here's a little thank you present for being a valued customer...
15% coupon just for you
Katie, thank you for your continued support of my new business
Are you ready to improve your website's SEO ranking?
Three useful tips you're going to LOVE
Hey Harper, you're invited!
Thank you for saying yes!
How to write click-worthy headlines
Poll results and thank you rewards inside
Don't miss these events from Green Hill Marketing
Did you make these three sales mistakes?
Who doesn't love a good sale?
Guess what's back in stock?
We're so thankful for you!
LAST CHANCE to enter this giveaway
Get 100 new customers by next week
40% off sale ends TONIGHT
100 free books in this email!
Get ready for the giveaway of your dreams
Thanks for subscribing! Open for your FREE gift
Now in stock and ready to order
10 things to avoid wearing
Welcome, Sarah! Free gift inside
A special coupon just for you!
FLASH SALE happening now
Did you get a chance to try our new skin care line?
NEW BLOG POST: "How to Drive Customers to Your Online Store"
I have another FREEBIE just for you
How to get 100 subscribers
Welcome gift inside
Welcome to your next adventure
We're deleting your account
Happy Monday + FREEBIE inside!
How much do you LOVE this giveaway?
Following up on today's meeting
Quick follow-up regarding the cookbook launch
Coupons, giveaways and a few little extras
Your favorite products are back in stock
Last chance to get 50% off all sale items
We finally did it!
Did you get the invitation?
Forget something in your cart? Here's 10% off
Emily, your account is on hold
Did you miss these new features?
Here's a freebie to say thank you!
URGENT: Your mailbox is full
A welcome gift just for you
LAST CHANCE to get my latest book at the special launch price!
It seemed like a good idea at the time...
Lauren Ramirez: job application for senior architect position
15 marketing trends you need to know
Before you write another blog post, consider these tips
Are we still on for 10?
What NOT to do during your job interview
10 bizarre habits to make you richer
10 beauty hacks
Your subscription is expiring. Act fast!
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10 events happening in San Francisco this weekend
Everything you wanted to know about blogging that you were too afraid to ask
Brand new products available
Exclusive sale starts NOW
Save $30 on orders over $200
Upgrade your experience with these new add-ons
Everything email marketers don't want you to know
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100 blog post ideas just for you
You're missing out on points
You have ONE day to watch this
Happy Birthday, Carrie! Surprise gift inside
Order NOW before they're sold out again!
10 inspirational videos to get you pumped
Social media specialist seeking new opportunity
Today only: Earn DOUBLE points!
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10 gift ideas for your hard-to-please teenagers
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