The Ultimate Guide To Irresistible Email Subject Lines

email subject lines

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In today’s digital age, where email marketing typically yields a 4400% return on investment, according to OptinMonster, email marketing remains a powerful tool for businesses to reach their audience. However, the key to a successful email campaign lies in crafting attention-grabbing email subject lines that awaken recipients’ interest and compel them to click through. With many marketers actively testing different subject lines to optimize their email performance, it’s evident that this seemingly small aspect of your message can have a significant impact on your overall email engagement.

So, how can you ensure that your email content gets opened, read, and clicked? It all begins with an irresistible email subject line. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into proven tips and strategies to help you create compelling subject lines that boost your email engagement:

By understanding the importance of personalization, descriptiveness, and audience preferences, you’ll be well-equipped to craft subject lines that truly resonate with your recipients and drive the desired results. Get ready to transform your email campaigns by mastering the art of irresistible subject lines!

What Are Email Subject Lines?

Email subject lines are like the catchy phrases or one-liners you see in your inbox that give you a quick idea of what’s inside the email. They’re the first thing you see when you receive an email, and they can make or break the decision to open it or let it sit unread.

A great subject line can spark curiosity, make you excited, or even get you to act right away – all of which lead to better engagement with the email.

Think of email subject lines as the cool headlines for your email’s story. They sum up the main point or vibe of the email in just a few words, making it easy for people to decide if they want to check it out. Subject lines are super important for making email campaigns work because they help get more people to open and interact with the email.

So, if you want to grab your audience’s attention and get them interested in what you’ve got to say, crafting awesome subject lines is the way to go!

Why Are Email Subject Lines Important?

As we mentioned earlier, email subject lines are super important because they can make or break your email campaign, no matter the type of email campaign you’re using. They’re the deciding factor in whether people open the email or simply pass it by. In the busy digital world where tons of emails compete for attention, having a catchy subject line is like having a secret weapon – it helps you stand out from the crowd and engage your target audience more effectively.

How To Write Email Subject Lines

email subject lines

If you know all the right things to do, you can write good email subject lines that get your audience excited and eager to open your emails. Here are some easy and fun tips to help you level up your email game and create catchy and clever subject lines that make your email campaigns stand out.

Determine The Email’s Objective.

Ascertain the reason for sending the email and how it influences the subject line. Identify the genuine goal or motivation behind the email and use it as a basis for developing your subject line concept.

Grab Your Recipients’ Attention.

You must learn to start your email subject line with a bang using catchy words, captivating stats, and relatable phrases that will grab your recipients’ attention, or show them what they’ll get from your email.

Get Creative and Have Fun.

Play with alliteration, rhyming, song lyrics, unusual words, or even emojis to make your subject lines stand out and have some personality.

Keep It Casual.

Write like you’re having a chat with a friend. Even for serious brands, a friendly tone makes your subject line easier to read and more inviting.

Call Them to Action.

Add a clear call to action in your subject line, so readers know what your email is about and what they should do.

Pop A Question.

Asking a question engages your audience, starting a conversation and making them more likely to open your email.

Play Up Scarcity.

Use the fear of missing out (FOMO) to your advantage by highlighting limited time offers and creating a sense of urgency.

Use Brackets and Parentheses.

Organize info or highlight key points without shouting (i.e., using capital letters) by adding brackets and parentheses in your subject line.

Talk to Them Directly.

Use “you” and “your” to make readers feel like the email is meant just for them, creating a personal connection.

Be Specific but Intriguing.

Add a touch of mystery, but make sure your subject line still gives a hint of what’s inside the email to keep readers curious and set the right expectations.

What Makes An Email Subject Line Irresistible?

An irresistible email subject line grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to open the email. To create a great subject line, try these tips:

  • Keep It Relevant: Make sure the subject line matters to the person receiving it so they’re more likely to care about the email (try segmenting your email lists based on interests).
  • Make It Personal: Use their name or something unique about them to show you’re paying attention and the email is meant for them.
  • Add Urgency or Scarcity: Make them feel like they need to act fast, or they might miss out on something.
  • Tap Into Emotions: Use words that make people curious, excited, or feel strong emotions, so they’ll want to see what’s inside.
  • Show The Benefits: Tell them how they’ll gain something from reading your email, focusing on what they want or need.
  • Use Numbers or Lists: Putting numbers or lists in the subject line can help catch their eye and make the email seem more interesting.
  • Test Different Options: Run an A/B test to try a few different subject lines with a small group of people to see which one works best, then use the winner for everyone else.
  • Evoke Emotion or Intrigue: Use power words that compel, inspire, catch their eye, coax to click, lure them in, tempt, are too tempting to pass up, entice, charm, create mystery, congratulate them, praise them for something, or compliment them.

Just remember that the best email subject lines might change depending on the people you’re emailing and why, so think about the situation and audience and adjust your approach as needed (again, this is where email list segmentation plays a key role).

Best Practices For Creating Great Email Subject Lines

email subject lines

Creating amazing email subject lines can lead to higher open rates and better engagement. Use these best practices to convert prospects into readers into customers interested in your product or service, by earning your reader’s trust and building relationships.

We’ve put together a list of tips based on our research to help you nail it:

Personalize It

Write personalized emails to your email list, not blanketed messages that don’t speak to anyone, specifically. If you’re not already, you need to be segmenting your email lists based on various factors such as interests and past purchases.

Write personal email subject lines by using merge tags to add the recipient’s name or location, making your subject lines more appealing. Personalized email subject lines increase email open rates and work well with targeted email automation.

Be Clear and Specific

Ditch cliché seasonal slogans and go for direct and descriptive lines. Focus on the benefits of your promotions or showcase specific deals; that is an excellent way to write good subject lines.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Short subject lines work better, especially on mobile devices. Stick to 9 words and 60 characters or less. But don’t overdo it, the fewer words in your subject line the better. People’s eyes tend to scan and notice shorter email subject lines because people want a subject line that can be read fast and that’s straight to the point

Easy on Punctuation

Too many punctuation marks make your email look spammy. Limit it to 3 punctuation marks per subject line.

Emojis: Fun but Cautious

Emojis can grab attention, but remember:

  • Use only 1 emoji at a time.
  • Emojis should support words, not replace them.
  • Test how emojis look on different operating systems so that you will be able to write great subject lines.

Include Unusual Words

Include wow effect words. Unusual words are unexpected vocabulary choices that can create a sense of intrigue, curiosity, and surprise. They add an element of novelty and captivate readers’ attention. If you want to stand out from the rest of those valueless emails sitting in your reader’s inbox, you can add in an uncommon word that will catch their eye as they mindlessly scroll through the flood of emails coming in.

But how do you come up with an odd word? First, create your email subject line without worrying about adding in the unusual word.

Then, once you’ve crafted that perfect email subject line either (a) pick an adjective that you already have in your email subject line and run a thesaurus on it until you find a more eye-catching, uncommon word to replace it, or (b) add an adjective to your email subject line where one will make sense, and run a thesaurus on it to find your unusual word.

Ask yourself, “What would be a strange, bizarre, unfamiliar, or atypical word to use for this topic or subject line?”.

Have fun with it, but make sure the unusual word you pick makes sense in context of the email subject line and email message, and is appropriate for your audience.

No False Promises

Be honest and transparent in your email subject lines. Avoid misleading readers, as it can lead to lower open rates and higher unsubscribes.

Reveal What’s Inside

When delivering content or offers, use a catchy email subject line that highlights what’s waiting inside. This works better than a vague, mundane, or generic subject line.

Test Your Subject Lines

Experiment and test to find the best option for your audience. Run A/B tests, learn from the results and refine your approach.

By using these tips, you’ll create catchy email subject lines that get your audience’s attention, boost open rates, and keep them engaged with your content.

What Not To Put In Email Subject Lines

When it comes to crafting email subject lines, there are some definite no-no’s that can hurt your open rates and engagement. Here’s a rundown of things to avoid when writing subject lines:

  1. ALL CAPS: Using all capital letters can come across as shouting, which is a turn-off for most readers. It can also make your email look like spam, so stick to regular sentence case.
  2. Too Much Hype: Over-the-top phrases and excessive exclamation marks can feel spammy and insincere. Keep your subject lines genuine and focus on the value your email provides.
  3. False Promises: As mentioned earlier, avoid making promises you can’t keep. Being dishonest will only harm your relationship with your audience and decrease their trust in you.
  4. Vague or Confusing Language: A good email subject line should be clear and to the point as that is what makes a great email subject line. If it’s too vague or confusing, recipients may not understand the email’s purpose and skip over it.
  5. Overused Clichés: Using clichés or generic phrases can make your emails blend in with the rest, reducing their impact. Instead, focus on being original and specific to your content.
  6. Spam Trigger Words: Some words and phrases are more likely to land your email in the spam folder. Examples include “free,” “limited time,” “earn cash,” and “urgent.” Be mindful of the words you choose and avoid those that might be flagged.
  7. Offensive or Insensitive Language: Always consider your audience and avoid using language that could be offensive, insensitive, or inappropriate. Keep your subject lines respectful and professional.

By steering clear of these email subject line pitfalls, you’ll be able to create more engaging and effective subject lines that resonate with your audience, leading to better open rates and overall email success as you build your email lists.

How To Craft A Catchy Email Subject Line

email subject lines

Crafting a catchy email subject line is essential to stand out and make sure your message gets the attention it deserves. With the right subject line, you can increase your open rates, engage your target audience, and ultimately achieve your communication goals. Always be precise and use specific details. You can incorporate a sense of urgency with time-limited offers or deadlines.

Here are some examples of catchy email subject lines:


  • Secret’s Out! Up to 50% Off Sale Tomorrow.
  • For [Name], Chilly Deals: Our Prices Beat the Cold
  • [Name], Did you know these 5 things will ruin [topic]?
  • [Name], What’s on your mind?
  • Have you read this yet [Name]?
  • How did this make you feel [Name]?
  • [Name], What happened there? Ready to be [Topic]?
  • [Name], Can I Use You As A Case Study?
  • Sick of [your target audience’s pain point they HATE]?


  • Your Thoughts, Our Growth: Unleash Your Feedback Here [Name]
  • 😉 Be Email Savvy – 10 Ways to Make Gravy Daily with Emails


  • [Name], could you be making these bizarre lawn care errors?
  • Got 30 sec? Participate in our Quick 3-Click Survey for [Prize]!
  • 5 Spell-Binding Email Subject Lines You Need To Start Using
  • [Name], Made You A Video 👀 Mystery Awaits.
  • This Picture About [Topic] Is Alarmingly Funny
  • Hey [Name], What’s Happening Here? Why did you…
  • For [Name], Are You Ready For [Solution to their Pain Point]?

Controversial (use cautiously)

  • [Name], Your Marketing Fails: Embrace This Surreal Strategy
  • Rethink Pet Training: Why Your Current Method’s Falling Short
  • 2 Dangerously Edgy (but legal) Ways You Can Get More Leads This Year
  • This Mouth-Watering Life Hack Will Forever Change The Way You Diet
  • 👀 What happened there? Ready To Make Your Business Great Again?

Ultimately, if your emails are not being opened, they simply aren’t being noticed. Therefore, it’s crucial to infuse creativity into your subject lines.

Equation for Crafting Catchy Email Subject Lines Every Time

While it’s challenging to create a precise equation for crafting email subject lines, we can break it down into components that you can consider when creating your subject line.

Here’s a formula for crafting a catchy email subject line:

Subject Line = [Personalization or Relevance] + [Attention Grabber & Intrigue] + [Benefit or Value] + [Urgency or Curiosity or Emotional Appeal]

Let’s delve into each component:

  1. Personalization & Relevance: Include personalization elements, such as the recipient’s name or relevant details, to make the subject line feel tailored to the individual. Alternatively, ensure the subject line is relevant to the recipient’s context, industry, or preferences.
  2. Attention Grabber & Intrigue: Use attention-grabbing power words, unusual phrases, or techniques to stand out in a crowded inbox. This can include injecting humor, creativity, mystery, or a compelling statement that’s persuasive and triggers temptation in the reader.
  3. Benefit or Value: Clearly communicate the benefit or value proposition of opening the email. Highlight what the recipient will gain, learn, or achieve by reading the email content. Focus on addressing their needs or desires.
  4. Urgency, Curiosity & Emotional Appeal: Create a sense of urgency to prompt immediate action. This can be done by using words or phrases that convey scarcity, time sensitivity, or exclusive access. Alternatively, pose a question or offer a hint that intrigues recipients, piques curiosity, and motivates them to open the email to find the answer. Or, appeal to the recipient’s emotions by addressing their desires, fears, or aspirations. Tap into their needs and provide a glimpse of how the email content can fulfill those emotional aspects.

Here are some example words to get you started crafting catchy emails:

Personalization & Relevance:

  • First name
  • For [Name]
  • Use their location (town, city, state), age (20’s, 30’s, their generation), job title
  • Use information relevant to their past purchase history with your business

Power words:

  • You
  • Proven
  • Exclusive
  • New
  • Limited
  • Tactic
  • Save
  • Unleash
  • Discover
  • Irresistible

Benefit or Value words:

  • Guaranteed
  • Maximize
  • Master
  • Capitalize
  • Amplify
  • Unlock the Secret to

Unusual words/phrases:

  • Spell-binding
  • Mouth-watering
  • Curious concoctions
  • Heart-stirring
  • Kaleidoscope reality
  • Euphoric waves of
  • Intoxicating elixir
  • Enigmatic whisper
  • Whimsical wonder
  • Bewitching spell
  • Ethereal glow
  • Surreal dream
  • Bittersweet-longing
  • Charming quirk
  • Savage strategy

Let’s test out the equation with a few email subject line examples:

  • FL Dog Owners 👀 Beware of these 7 Hair-Raising Dog-Deadly Native Plants
  • Dylan, A Shady Yet Ethical Way to Ace SEO in 5 Mins, Access Expires in 24 Hrs
  • Wise Millennials Fasttrack Retirement with this Hush-hush Investment Hack

Keep in mind that this formula provides a framework for your email subject line creation process, but it’s important to adapt for the specific context of your email and experiment to find the subject lines that resonate best with your audience.

Test different variations and analyze the results to refine your approach. Pay attention to open rates, engagement metrics, and feedback to create truly captivating email subject lines.

email subject lines


Irresistible email subject lines are essential to the success of your email marketing campaigns. They have the power to grab your audience’s attention and compel them to engage with your content.

When it comes to writing a catchy email subject line, you have a lot of options. There are no hard and fast rules for what works best—it depends on your audience and what they’re looking for. But some things work well regardless of the audience or industry:

Use emojis and numbers to get your reader’s attention. Insert power words, “weird” words or words that evoke emotion or intrigue. Keep it short, be honest and get straight to the point.

To create captivating subject lines, whether it’s cold email subject lines or warm email subject lines, focus on personalization, clarity, brevity, and keeping the tone casual and friendly. Avoid common mistakes like using all caps, making false promises, or using spammy language.

This ultimate guide to irresistible email subject lines has provided you with valuable insights, proven strategies and an email subject line equation that will help you improve your email open rates and overall engagement. By understanding your audience, segmenting your email lists, and adapting your subject lines to their preferences, you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of crafting irresistible email subject lines and boosting the success of your email marketing strategy.

So, put these tips into practice and watch your email engagement soar!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase the product or service. These are products I’ve personally used and stand behind. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only. You can read our affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy.

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