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11 Tips To Write The Best Email Subject Lines [+Examples]


You can spend hours writing the perfect email for your subscribers, but if your subject line doesn’t pique their interest, it won’t matter.

Because they won’t open your email to learn about a brand new product, get the answer to a question that’s been keeping them from purchasing your product, or get in on that super secret sale you’re having.

That’s why it’s so important to take the time to nail your subject line.

Just think about your inbox. You probably get dozens of marketing emails from some of your favorite brands daily. You can’t possibly read through every single one of them, so which stands out enough to get you to open it?

Put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes whenever you think about a subject line for your emails. If it’s not something you’d open if it popped up in your inbox, assume the people on your list aren’t going to read it either.

And at the end of the day, the more opens you get on your emails, the more money you’ll bring in for your business.

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Here’s what you need to know about writing killer subject lines that will open your emails and drive sales for your store.

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Email subject lines: Your key to increasing open rates

Your subject line is just as important as the content of your email itself. Because remember: it’s the first step to getting your subscribers to open (and read) your emails.

You can think about it as the hook to get your email list wanting to know more.

Because your goal is to get readers to open up, engage with, and make a purchase after reading your emails.

And the subject line is the first step.

What is the best way to tell if your subject line is successful? Your open rate is the best metric to look at here. Because if you nail the subject line, a more significant percentage of your subscribers will open your email.

So if you’ve been sending emails for months or years, find your highest-performing subject lines. That’ll give you an excellent jumping point when knowing what will work best with your email list.

And if you still need to send more emails for your business to know what works, that’s OK! As you start sending emails regularly, keep an eye on your open rates, and you’ll begin to notice trends and eventually get to a point where you have a sense of what’s going to resonate before you send an email.

But a great place to start (whether you’ve sent hundreds of emails or are new to email marketing) is to look at your inbox. Find the subject lines from brands that got you to open! Keep a list of the excellent subject lines you come across, and use that as a starting point if you’re stuck.

By the way, there are tons of subject line examples further down in this post. So your list is already started for you. ?

11 tips for writing an effective email subject line

By now, you know that a stellar subject line is key to getting your emails opened and read, so you can ultimately reach your readers to take action (like sign up for a waitlist for a new product, purchase a best-seller, complete their purchase, learn more about why your products rock, follow you on social, etc.).

Luckily, these 11 tips will help you get started.

1. Use a familiar sender name

The people on your email list likely want to support small businesses – it might even be part of what drew them to you in the first place!

So you want to clarify that you’re the person behind the brand. Put a face to your business; over time, your subscribers will feel like they know you. And they’ll want to support you even more (and be much more likely to open your emails).

A straightforward way to do this? Send your emails from a natural person, you!

Something like [Your Name] from [Your Business Name] will go a long way in building a personal connection with the people on your list.

See how the sender name here is “Kim from Gale and Hayes?” It adds a personal touch that just sending emails from your business name doesn’t have.

2. Keep your subject line clear and to the point

You might wonder, “How long should my subject line be?” And you’re not alone. This is something we hear a lot.

And while there’s no cut-and-dry answer, studies have found that subject lines in the range of ~65 characters (or 5-9 words) tend to be most effective.

Our Customer Success team loves the formula “3 Seconds. 3 Words.” when writing great subject lines. Your email is (hopefully) hitting lots of eyes, so try to use simple language that the largest possible audience can easily understand. There is a better time to bust out your SAT words.

Remember, you only have your readers’ attention for a few seconds (if that), and sometimes less is more.

And it’s important to remember that longer subject lines will likely get cut off on mobile, where many of your subscribers will be reading emails—an even more reason to keep your subject lines short and sweet.

3. Use action-oriented verbs

Another quick psychology lesson for you: people respond positively to clear, direct instructions when receiving messages. So don’t shy away from using action-oriented words in your subject line!

Many small business owners shy away from being too “salesy,” but telling people to take the action you want them to take helps to clarify your message and convert more buyers.

Words like “get,” “buy,” “look,” and “shop” are short yet effective. You can always test the tone of your message to see what kind of language has the highest open rate and drives the most sales.

4. Personalize your messaging

Writing your emails like you’re writing to a friend would be best. So don’t be overly formal. And the more personal and specific you can make every email you send, the better they’ll perform.

It’s estimated that personalized subject lines improve click-through rates by an average of 14%.

You can include your subscriber’s name in the subject line or take it further by using segmentation to send ultra-specific messages. For example, you might want to send specific messages to new customers, existing and loyal customers, serial browsers, customers interested in a particular product type, or customers within a specific geographic area.

Whatever you do, stay away from generic subject lines, like July Newsletter. Could you open that email? No? Didn’t think so.

So whether you include someone’s name or information specific to their experience with your business, it’s always a good idea to make your messages feel personal.

5. Make an impression with the preview text

A great subject line has two parts: the actual subject line and the following preview text. Preview text is the little snippet of copy that appears next to the subject line or under the sender in the recipient’s inbox.

Preview Text

And your preview text is an underrated way to influence your open rate. It should reinforce (or add to) your subject line. And might be the thing that pushes someone over the edge to open and read your email.

So don’t take that space for granted. You can use it to get your readers even more interested in what’s in your email.

And quick PSA: you don’t want your preview text to pull in your footer…

Just look at this example, and you’ll see what I mean (and this is honestly way more common than you’d think).

Unsubscribing shouldn’t be the first thing people see before opening your email!

6. Get to the offer ASAP

You already know you should keep your subject lines as short and sweet as possible.

But you also want to include the most critical information first. It’s less likely to get cut off that way and will catch people’s attention.

If you’re running a time-sensitive promo, call it out! Have a new product? Use words like “Introducing” or “It’s here.”

Whatever message you want your readers to know should be the first thing they see.

Could you tell them exactly what’s in it for them? Because they need to understand the value immediately, chances are they won’t open the email at all.

7. Ask questions to connect with subscribers

Human psychology dictates that someone will try to fill in the blanks with an answer when you ask a question. Ask your readers questioners will buy you a few seconds of attention as they consider the response. It can be an entirely hypothetical question inspired by what you’re selling. Could you just make sure it relates to the content of the email?

Similarly, you can set your subject line up as a teaser, like having it be the first part of a trivia question, fun fact, or riddle, so your readers need to open the email to see the rest.

8. Use FOMO to drive open rates

Everyone is susceptible to the fear of missing out, or FOMO. That’s why things like “another person is viewing this item” or “only 3 left!” make you want to buy something even more.

But it doesn’t just have to be on your product page; you can also use FOMO in your subject lines.

You can use this fear of regret to drive urgency for your readers to open your emails, click, and hopefully buy. Whether you’re alluding to product scarcity or a limited-time offer, giving your audience a deadline or a sense of belonging if they engage is a surefire way to grab their attention and seal the deal quickly.

9. Emojis help you stand out

Which email catches your eye the most?

With inboxes being more crowded than ever before, emojis are a great way to get attention in the inbox.

But it’s possible to overdo it and come across as spammy.

Here are some examples of subject lines with emojis that don’t feel like too much:

  • NEW Rugs are here! ?
  • New! Pure Matcha 100 ?
  • Our Tees Plant Trees ?
  • Shop 21% off sitewide early ?

Play around with putting your emojis at the beginning of your subject line, between text, and in the preview text.

You have a ton of opportunities here. But try to stay away from long strings of emojis. Like this:

At that point, paying attention to the text is complex. It feels over the top and doesn’t make me want to click (no matter what’s inside).

So use emojis sparingly and test their placement. They’re a great way to make your message scannable and help you stand out in a crowded inbox. Again, use them like you would with your friends. Make it feel personal, not spammy.

10. A/B test to find out what works

Your subject line is the perfect place to use an A/B test. All that means is that a portion of your email list will see one subject line, and the other will see another variation.

Then, the winning subject line will be shown to the rest of your list so they see the most popular subject line (and you get more opens).

Once you run enough A/B tests, you’ll notice trends in the winning variations, influencing the subject lines you ure.

Don’t overcomplicate this. Write two subject lines you think are great options, and run the test. If you do it enough, it’s a straightforward way to determine what works with your audience.

11. Lean into timely content and current events

When you use holidays or current events to come up with offers or reasons to email your list, the subject lines practically write themselves.

Itwhy you seeust so many emails around holidays and why more and more businesses are starting to send heartfelt notes to their list when there’s a jarring (or exciting) current event.

While sending holiday or current event emails with related subject lines isn’t guaranteed to boost your open rates, it helps. And it gives you a reason to reach out to your subscribers and continue building a relationship with them on a more personal level rather than just promoting product after product.


Best email subject lines (and why they work)

Real-life examples are the best way to get inspiration for your subject lines. So the next time you get an email with a subject line that makes you open it, save it somewhere! Keep a running list so you never run out of ideas for your subject lines.

And if you’re unsure where to start, here are 66 killer subject line examples you can steal and make your own.

You’ll notice that several brands appear more than once on this list of the best subject line examples. They consistently have fantastic subject lines, so you might want to subscribe to their email lists for constant inspiration.

Welcome, email subject lines.

Think about your welcome email as your chance to make an excellent first impression on your new subscribers.

So your welcome email is the perfect place to introduce yourself as the founder and share why you created your business in the first place.

Look at a couple of great examples from Gainful and Muddy Bites.

It’s also a great place to lean into the value prop behind your brand, like Lingua Franca, Behave, and Fly by Jing do.

Wouldn’t you feel good about changing the world by supporting a brand that donates a percentage of the proceeds from every single order to organizations working to improve the world?

Or are you eating candy that only has 3g of sugar?

What about sauces that are all-natural and small-batch crafted?

Abandoned cart email subject lines

If you’re not doing anything to combat cart abandonment, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity for your store.

Abandoned cart emails can bring people who left items in their cart back and encourage them to complete the purchase.

So your abandoned cart email subject lines should pique your subscribers’ interest so they’ll open your email and (ideally) complete their purchase.

Ask questions and bring in scarcity, like these examples:

New product email subject lines

Whenever you announce a new product, you should send an email to your list. It’s a no-brainer.

And you have the opportunity to get clever here. Use words like “meet,” “it’s here,” and “new” to get the point across that this is something brand new they’ve gotta see.

Here are five examples of new product email subject lines I love:

Review subject email lines

Reviews are incredibly important for ecommerce businesses. Mainly because, a lot of times, it’s not possible to check out your products in person before buying.

But visitors to your site don’t want to know what you have to say about your products; they want to know what actual customers say.

That’s where your reviews come in.

And when writing excellent subject lines for review emails, it wasn’t hard to find these examples.

When your products hit a certain number of 5-star reviews, that’s a great time to send an email!

And it doesn’t have to be this many…even something like 52 five-star reviews (or whatever makes sense for where you are as a business) will make people want to read your email to see what they might be missing out on.

Being specific here will give you credibility (for example, 27 five-star reviews rather than rounding up to 30 30).

Another classic way to use your reviews in a subject line is to steal a snippet of an honest revieDon’t you thinkelf, “What can’t this person live without?!”

That’s precisely what you’re looking for here.

And here are a handful of other review subject line ideas you can steal:

Best-seller email subject lines

Showcasing your most popular products is a fantastic reason to send an email. I don’t know about you, bit always gets my attention ut whenever I find out something is a best-selion. It must be that popular for a reason.

Check out these best-seller subject lines to get inspiration the next time you want to feature your most popular product in an email:

(By the way, they’ve used “These will sell out” as a subject line more than once. Which means it probably works.)

AYR does an AMAZING job leaning into FOMO and scarcity. Things like “we can’t keep this in stock,” “these will sell out,” and “1,500-person waitlist” all make me want to open to see what’s so popular.

So if you know for sure something will sell out or has flown off the shelves in the past, you should hands down use that in your subject line.

Teaser email subject lines

The next time you’re getting ready to launch something new, send an email to tease what’s coming! That way, when you send the announcement email, more subscribers will want to know what you have to say.

Prime your list for the next big thing; I promise it won’t feel too much communication.

Check out these teaser email subject lines you can use next time you’re gearing up for a launch your subscribers need to know about:

Back in the stock email subject lines

If something was so popular it sold out, it’s probably worth sending an email to your list to re-introduce the product and let them know it’s back (even if they weren’t on a waitlist).

I don’t know about you, but things like “fastest-selling product ever,” “the dress with the 6,000 person waitlist,” and “our #1 best-seller” definitely make me want to open the email to find out exactly what I’m missing out on.

Here are some of my favorite back in the stock email subject lines you can use the next time one of your products is restocked:

New content email subject lines

Suppose you’re producing content like blog posts or podcast episodes for your business. In that case, it’s fantastic to mix that education with your promotional emails to ensure you’re not constantly trying to push sales but also showing value to your subscribers.

So, Curie, a clean deodorant brand, knows its subscribers care about the products they’re putting in and on their bodies, so it wrote a post about ingredients to stay away from.

And VETTA wrote a post about why they charge what they do for their products (which, by the way, is brilliant if you ever get questions about your pricing).

You get the idea…

Another great reason to write a blog post or share helpful content with your list is something like a recipe if that makes sense for your business.

Sale email subject lines

This is a no-brainer. If you’re running a sale or promotion, your subscribers should know about it.

But if protesupposeing your margins is especially important to you, and sales aren’t the norm for your business, it’s a. In that case, some tie this messaging to a specific event or clarify that this isn’t something your subscribers will see often.

Like Otherland does with this subject l, mentioninging “only sale of the year.”

Moving is another excellent reason to run a promotion for your email list without setting the expectation that this is the norm.

That’s precisely what Fly by Jing, Mala the brand, and DONNI did with these subject lines:

Winback email subject lines

It’s no secret that your existing customers are more valuable than first-time buyers. So to ensure your customers keep coming back to you, customer win-back emails are an incredible optioThey’ll often give customers an incentive to return to shop again—something like money off, free shipping, or a gift with the purchase.

So to encourage your customers to come back to your store, check out these win back email subject line examples:

Make it clear that there’s something in it for them.

Order follow-up email subject lines

After you purchase, order follow-up emails give you confidence and build excitement about your order.

And I’m not talking about the order confirmation email. Technically, it’s an order follow-up email, but that’s table stakes. You have to let your customers know their order went through.

But after that, the businesses that take it a step further and do things like:

  • Explain the next steps and what to expect
  • Share helpful tips to make sure you’re successful with the product
  • Generally keep you in the loop about your order

Stand out.

Here are a few subject line examples for your following order follow-up email:


Level up your email campaigns with Privy.

Your subject line is the first step to getting your subscribers to open your emails and take action to obtain sales for your store.

And Privy is the all-in-one email marketing platform that can help you turn your emails into sales.

Send automated emails to drive revenue while you sleep and one-off newsletter promotions to inform your subscribers about things like sales and best-sellers, all using pre-made templates so you can get up and running in minutes, not days.

Try Privy for FREE

Connect with your customers using professional emails

If you’ve ever tried to set up and send an email for your ecommerce store, you know that half the battle is making it look good.

Luckily, Privy has templates you can use off the shelf or customize to work for your brand. Save your colors and use the drag-and-drop editor to set up professional-looking emails that don’t take hours of your precious time.

So you can focus on sending emails that impact your bottom line.

Automate different promotional campaigns

Privy helps you automate your email campaigns to get sales for your store, whether you’re asleep, responding to customer emails, or doing one of the many other tasks you ymust do daily to run your store.

24 hours a day. Seven days a week. That’s why you need automated email campaigns like:

  • A welcome email
  • An abandoned cart series
  • Purchase follow-ups
  • Customer win-back emails
  • Coupon reminders

And so much more.

Quickly see how your emails impact your bottom line

The Privy dashboard lets you quickly see how much money every email you send brings in for your store.

Find out how many abandoned carts you’ve saved, how effective your newsletters are, and more. All in one place.

Email Subject Line FAQ

How long should my email subject line be?

Generally speaking, your email subject lines should be ~65 characters long, which is approximately 5-9 words. Don’t be afraid to get creative to communicate the critical point of your email. The goal of your subject line is to engage your subscribers to open it to read the content!

How to write email subject lines that drive open rates?

Your open rate is the most important metric to pay attention to to gauge your subject line’s success. To write a subject line that drives opens, you want to keep it short and to the point, send it from a natural person, and use the preview text to enhance your messaging. Read the 11 tips and check out the examples above to find out what works.

What is email subject line best practices?

There is no silver bullet when crafting the perfect email subject line. But there are some best practices you should keep in mind. Keep it short and get to the point ASAP. Use emojis to stand out, but don’t overdo it. Use FOMO and scarcity to get your readers interested, and remember that subject lines related to current events usually perform well. For a full breakdown, read all 11 tips.

What are examples of good email subject lines?

When finding examples of killer subject lines, you should start by looking in your inbox and seeing the emails and brands you always want to hear from. But to get you started, we put together 66+ examples you can pull from above. So you have ideas of good email subject lines for everything from your welcome emails to your abandoned cart emails.

Special thanks to our friends at Privy for their insights on this topic.
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