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Email Marketing, Subject Lines, Tips and Tricks

Email Subject Line Examples And How They Could Be Better

If you do a Google search on “writing good email subject lines” – over 152,000 results will be returned. You’ll find anything from what-to-do’s and what-not-to-do’s, to great email subject line examples. So it’s fair to say that a lot of people have opinions on what constitutes a good email subject Line. This is because subject lines rank amongst the top ways to ensure your email is opened.

But what do good email subject lines actually look like? Are they short, or long? Do they include company branding? Should they be personalised for the recipient? Do they use words like ‘free’ and ‘hurry’? Finding good examples of email subject lines that are relevant to you can be difficult.

There are very few hard and fast rules* when it comes to email subject lines. This is because every business has different objectives and audiences. However, there are a number of good practices that you can use to ensure your subject line is effective.

So let’s take a look at some real-world email subject line examples to see why they work.

Email Subject Line Examples – Happy Birthday

Subject Line:

Happy Birthday Melina
This is an email from a retailer sent to Melina for her birthday.

Why it works:

  • It’s timely and relevant as it was sent on Melina’s birthday.
  • The use of a first name fits in well with this type of message. ‘Happy birthday’ is a personal message so it makes sense here to personalise the message with Melina’s name.

Possible Improvements:

  • There is nothing distinguishing this message from the other birthday messages Melina is likely to receive.
  • Include a mention of an incentive accompanying the email.

Alternative Subject Line:

Happy birthday Melina & enjoy our gift to you.

Email Subject Line Examples – Exclusive Sale

Subject Line:

DKNY Jewels, Condura Bags & Anon Sunglasses – Exclusive Sale Started
This is a member based email announcing a sales event from an online shopping website.

Why it works:

  • The word ‘exclusive’ reinforces the benefit of being a member and makes the recipient feel special.
  • Capitalises on the brand recognition of its suppliers by including brand names in the subject line.

Possible Improvements:

Including the sale’s end date is a great way to increase the sense of urgency and stir the reader into action.

Alternative Subject Line:

DKNY Jewels, Condura Bags & Anon Sunglasses – Exclusive Sale Ends Friday.

Email Subject Line Examples – Special Event

Subject Line:

A dance debut, giveaways and a special breakfast event
This is a regular email newsletter from a performing arts centre.

Why it works:

  • Short and succinct summary of the content within the email.
  • At a quick glance the recipient knows what the email is about.
  • Although it has no branding, it’s ok in this instance as the ‘From Name’ clearly identifies the sender.

Possible Improvements:

The message isn’t personalised to my interests. Despite providing this company with my personal interests via a preference centre on their website. I’ve indicated I’m not interested in Dance as an event. Although this email offers incentives in a ‘giveaway’ and ‘special breakfast’, I’ve lost interest immediately as it’s not relevant.

Alternative Subject Line:

Great new giveaways and a special breakfast event.

There are many factors that make effective Subject Lines. And there are always new ways to improve. Just like what we did with the email subject line examples above, take a look at your own subject lines and try to identify areas for improvement. Changing just one word in your email subject line can have an impact on your bottom line results.

*One hard and fast rule: generally anything that works toward increasing open rates is good. However, your email subject lines should not be misleading in nature just to entice someone to open your email. Tricking someone to open your email will quickly lead your audience to feel cheated and may prompt an unsubscribe.

Posted by:
Matthew Johnson
EDM Specialist

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