5 Email Subject Lines That Made Us Click

Not every email is worth opening.

However, as direct response marketers, we know how important it is to get our emails read. When deployed effectively, email marketing is one of the most powerful direct response tools in our toolkit and an opportunity for serious ROI.

Unfortunately, email inboxes are cluttered. Your customers receive so many emails a day that they simply don’t have the time—or interest—in reading every single one. So, how do you cut through the noise?

You know the answer: A good email subject line.

We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly subject lines in our day. But lately, we’ve seen some excellent ones, creative that has caught our attention, made us give a second look, and ultimately earned an open from us.

We decided to collect them in one place to share with you. So here are five email subject lines that made us click—and why we love them.

1. “You have $5 to spend.”

Brand Details: Retail | Health & Wellness

Engaging, right? Well, we thought so. This subject line adds a dash of intrigue to your traditional “Here’s a $5 coupon!” promotional emails. Most of the time, promotions either sell you or they don’t; the deal is either good enough to pique your interest or it isn’t.

Rather than just retread the same boring “$5 off of 25” territory, this subject line frames the promotion almost as though the reader as unused money in their account. That framing went a long way toward getting us to open the email.

2. “Your Plan for a 😌 Weekend”

Brand Details: Travel | Lifestyle

If you’re still turning your nose up at emojis in direct response marketing, it’s time you give them another shot. From a travel brand that’s marketing the #TravelLife, it made a savvy move by including an emoji to convey a specific feeling of calm and contentment better than words ever could. Plus, that pop of color caught our eye in a cluttered inbox.

Of course, an emoji won’t work for every brand; we’re not sure we’d want a life insurance company to send this email, for example. But injecting that emoji into what was already an engaging, on-brand subject line definitely did the trick.

3. “Whatever you do, *DO NOT* open this email at work.”

Brand Details: Job Posting Site | Careers & Professional Development

We’ll be honest: We were legitimately concerned about opening this email for a second. But from a recognizable careers brand, we became just curious enough to risk it. This subject line suggests the contents may not be suitable for work, and people really just hate being told not to do things.

This subject line definitely isn’t going to work for everyone, though. While this email was specifically giving tips for discreetly taking job interviews while you’re currently employed, it also gives off a strange “NSFW” vibe—and that’s not what most brands are going for. However, the “Don’t do XYZ” angle got us to click, and there are good lessons to learn from it.

4. “Important Traffic Advisory for LA”

Brand Details: Web Application | Driving & GPS

What’s the traffic advisory? We need to know! This was a really savvy subject line for a few reasons, not the least of which is urgency. We have to imagine this email has a high open rate—probably over 20% at least—which is a huge win for the brand that sent it, a GPS and route planner.

Not all of your email campaigns will be intended to make a sale. Instead, some are just regular updates or weekly newsletters intended to deepen brand engagement with your client base. This company found a hyper-localized way to send relevant traffic updates to their LA users. As regular commuters, we couldn’t help but click.

5. “Are you wearing the Color of the Year?”

Brand Details: Retail | Fashion & Apparel

If you’re anything like we are, you like to be on top of the latest trends. We’re not alone, which is why we think this subject line is so effective. It’s a simple question format, but it mentions something specific that users may want to know about. In this case, we wanted to learn what the “Color of the Year” was!

Questions are big in email subject lines, but they can be boring and repetitive. One way to spice things up is to ask a question that inspires another question in the minds of its readers. Do that, and you may just be setting yourself up for a knockout email open rate.

Choose Your Subject Lines Well

Don’t let your email subject lines hold your direct response marketing back.

By rethinking your subject lines and making creative choices like the ones that made us click, you can up your email open rates and start moving the needle. Keep innovating until you find the subject line that does the trick. You’ll know it when you see it.

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