Email Subject Line

11 Most Compelling Types of Email Subject Lines

The quality of your subject lines can significantly impact the open rates of your email campaign. Here are 11 compelling types of email subject lines to use in your next campaign.

Have you already created an email marketing campaign? Then you know the long road it takes to build an email list of your prospects and customers and craft compelling emails to send. Although it seems like you did everything right, your hard work didn’t pay off. Your email open rates are dying, so you think email marketing itself is dead and outdated. But, don’t jump to conclusions. Not only is email marketing alive, but it’s flourishing and is one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics you can use to increase sales.

You’re probably asking what went wrong and why are your email marketing open rates so low? Blame your subject lines.

Why are Email Subject Lines Important?

Almost half of the email recipients open an email based on the subject line, while 69% report email as spam based entirely on the subject line, according to the statistics.


Your customers’ inboxes are cluttered, so you need to craft email subject lines that grab their attention and spark their interest enough to open your emails. Luckily, creating compelling subject lines is not rocket science, and most email marketing campaigns use reliable formulas in their subject lines to generate higher open rates.

Although there is no single formula you could use word to word for your campaigns or a universal one for everyone, below are 15 subject line formulas to help you create compelling subject lines for your emails.

Keep Them Short and Neat

Subject lines should summarize the main point of your emails and grab the recipients’ attention. Keeping your subject lines short will help you achieve both of these goals. Not only will nobody read long lines of texts, but it will not fit in the reading pane. See the example below:

Although it’s a tech giant’s emails, Apple overdid the subject line:



Here’s an excellent example of a short and neat subject line:


Uniqlo’s subject line is clear and on point – if recipients want a turtleneck, they should open the email. Still, even the simplicity and straightforwardness alone won’t make your recipients open your emails, so keep reading below.

Include Time Limit

Limited time creates a sense of urgency and motivates shoppers to take action. Indicating that urgency in your subject line may prompt recipients to open your email and, from there, visit your website.

Emphasize Scarcity

Limited availability of items is another factor pushing online shoppers to make faster decisions. Including information about the scarcity of your products in the subject line will motivate your email recipients to open and read your email. To grab their attention and better communicate the idea of the email in the subject line, you can use numbers and sentences like “only 20 pairs remaining; these sneakers will sell out!” Not only do you make it clear there’s limited availability of the sneakers, but also draw a picture of what’ll happen soon – they’ll sell out if they don’t open the message and use the chance to buy one of the remaining pairs.


Ask a Question

Email marketing is usually a one-way communication, even if you provide a convenient way for subscribers to reach out or reply to your messages. Statistics show that only 10% will reply in a best-case scenario.

However, it doesn’t mean you should only send promotional or commercial subject lines. Asking questions is one of the best techniques to generate more open rates. That’s because when respondents see a question in the subject line, they will instantly start thinking about the topic and answer the question. Simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions are the best to use in this case for two reasons. 1. They are simple to answer and don’t require detailed response 2. When readers reply with ‘yes,’ they will assume you have something to offer them

See the example from Joy Organics below.


Need to slow down?

Yes, many of us do. We live hectic lifestyles that don’t leave room for simple, enjoyable activities, so yes, we need to take things slowly.

Chances are, many of the recipients would have answered yes to the question? With such a subject line, it’s implied that the email contains something to help you slow down. That kind of subject line is intriguing and will make you want to read the actual email.


Once you open the email, you can click the link to read the article telling you how to slow down with relaxation techniques. The subject line is simple, provocative, and relevant to the email.

Use Automated Retargeting Emails

Retargeting email subject lines are great to use for targeting your customers who’ve left without completing their action. eBay, for instance, always sends these emails with a subject line Hey +[username] you forgot something.


These emails are great as they are personalized and based on an action or lack of action. Their subject lines are really simple and provoking as sometimes subscribers may not remember what they forgot and will want to open the email. Then they see a lovely pair of shoes in their cart, and bam – sold!

Use How-to Subject Lines

How-to subject lines might boost your open rates for one simple reason – people want to learn how to do things.


450,000 Americans search for terms containing ‘how-to’ every month, according to the data from SEMrush. As a result, the internet is now the answer to many of your prospects’ questions. How-to email subject lines will seem appealing to your subscribers for two reasons: first, because they will learn something new, and second, because such emails rarely have commercial intent.

Play With Words

Playing with words is another wonderful way to create compelling subject lines.

For instance, you can write:

Break a leg – find the best health insurance agent!

Break a leg has two meanings here – if you literally break a leg, you’ll need health insurance, but as an idiom, it means good luck.

Use Numbers in Subject Lines

Numbers help us organize information and set expectations for an email we are about to read. Using numbers in your email subject lines might spark your audience’s interest to read the email. Some examples are:

  • 5 reasons why you need life insurance
  • 11 ways to forget your ex
  • 8 beauty products you need this summer
  • 300 people are watching this item

Make Announcements

Email marketing is a great tool to spread the news about your new arrivals, seasonal discounts, promo codes, and special offers. Season your subject lines with the numbers like 50% off, use this coupon for free shipping, 30% off the Winter collection, etc.

Make them Intriguing

I’ve been using it for a month – see the difference in my skin!

A subject line like this can make readers curious about two things – what is ‘it’? And what is the difference in her skin? Intriguing subject lines like these are great to use for high open rates.

Use Humor

Does your skin look like you are living in an ice age?

The subject line is humorous and intriguing. However, it’s also clear the product you’re promoting has something to do with recipients’ skin.

Such subject lines will help your email stand out in your prospects’ cluttered inboxes, make your brand memorable, spark your audience’s interest, boost their mood and trigger an emotional response, so use humor when appropriate. Compelling subject lines help create email marketing campaigns that drive desired results, so if you haven’t yet seen the outcomes from your email marketing campaigns, maybe it’s time to rewrite your subject lines. We hope the tips above will help you create subject lines to generate higher open rates and spark your recipients’ interest.

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