Creative Email Subject Line Examples from Top Brands
Effective email subject lines can make or break a campaign. Simply put, whether an email will be opened or not depends solely on the subject line announcing the offer.
And while numerous to-dos are prominently telling every marketer how to master email campaigns, the truth is that the best among the best stand out in their own unique way.
A stellar email marketing campaign should immediately associate the recipient of your brand. I.e., maintaining a casual tone of voice while communicating traditionally is not a good recipe, no matter how killer your subject line is.
Subject Lines With Zest
Think of subject lines like your favorite cake. What makes it special? Is it a cherry on the top or a special shape or a specific ingredient or a combination of all of the above?
To make a good cake, you need to have an excellent mold. It’s similar with subject lines. They need to adhere to a couple of rules in order to not ruin the experience.
First of all, mind the length. Most emails are being accessed on mobile devices, so it’s good to know that Android devices show up to 30 characters (not words). By contrast, Gmail shows 70 characters. So, the word count is very important.
The best approach would be to test-send your email and check it on multiple devices, especially if you use emojis. It is a well-known fact that emojis are displayed differently on different devices and in different browsers.
Apart from that, there are really no rules set in stone. Be as creative or as serious if you so desire, as long as the message is in line with your brand’s image. Let’s see how that plays out by reviewing some of the most outstanding email subject lines from top brands.
Play on Words
As long as the subject line grabs recipients’ attention, it can safely be considered efficient. The next step is prompting the recipient to open the email. A play on words is one of the efficient strategies, as proven by ModCloth.
“Spring It On” is a simple yet witty phrase certain to grab the recipient’s attention and prompt them to read on.
Volumes have been written about personalization. Marketing is, after all, just an efficient communication strategy that makes the customer feel special. The same rule applies in the virtual world.
A good subject line showing appreciation should resonate with your business promise and be aligned with customers’ expectations. Here’s a stellar example from Littlewoods:
This kind of strategy is effective because it comes as a surprise (a pleasant one, naturally) and also makes the recipient appreciated.
Another stellar example comes from Starbucks:
A simple but recognizable design coupled with a warm message is none the worse for the subject line having been used before.
Witty subject lines that make people laugh are always welcome, no matter the package they come with. Uncommon Goods used the “Impress your mom” subject line and is still remembered for it.
Ridiculously Easy Ways to Create Memorable Subject Lines
Some marketers are expected to always deliver. That’s the main catch with the finest of subject lines. If you manage to grab recipients’ attention at one point, the following emails will have to live up to their expectations.
One of our personal favorites that has never let us down as of yet (and we doubt it very much they ever will) is BuzzFeed. Providing here just one of their stellar subject lines for illustrative purposes (but check out other ones, too -- they’re worth it):
Catchphrases never go out of fashion, and innovative rewording is no less appreciated. There are numerous ways to go about this strategy (again, in line with your brand’s tone of voice), but I chose Boden as a great representative.
Would you buy their clothes?
Creating urgency is one of the most widely used marketing strategies, especially in the digital workplace that we all find ourselves in. Since it is often regarded as aggressive, why not shape it into a more pleasant form?
Here’s a representative example of how that should be done, by Legacy Box:
Another popular marketing strategy deals with triggering people’s curiosity. It has been worked and reworked for decades and never seems to go out of fashion.
We’re pretty sure it never will, unless people mysteriously evolve into dead-serious androids overnight.
Here’s an example from Chubbies and their breaking news announcing -- nothing.
Just like in real life situations, cocky statements can be seen as inviting rather than annoying, if they are witty and benign. Dollar Shave Club has mastered the strategy.
Following the, “Don’t miss your FREE month of Dollar Shave Club” (addressing greed), Dollar Shave Club asked the recipients, “How sure are we that you’ll love us?”
Provide Knowledge and Statistics
You've probably heard the old saying that knowledge is power, and it's absolutely still true. The more you know, the better decisions you can make. And once a customer sees that they're about to be provided with some very beneficial information, they're much more likely to click.
Beekeeper does an excellent job with providing just that:
Managing Brand Expectations
Seeing this many great examples might get you thinking that all good ideas have been exhausted. Not exactly. Only your creativity is the limit.
However, there’s another important aspect to keep in mind. No matter the quality of the subject line, if your brand doesn’t deliver on its promise, your marketing campaigns will ultimately fail.
Good subject lines will get the recipient to open the email, which absolutely must follow up and include a call to action.
E.g., many of BuzzFeed’s recipients actually look forward to their newsletters and announcements, because they continuously serve state-of-the-art subject lines and stellar content to couple it.
Keep delivering and your messages will never be filtered as spam. In the best case scenario, the recipients will whitelist you.
Managing people’s expectations is the key to long-term success -- one catchy subject line won’t keep all products popular forever. It’s as simple as that.
Therefore, the best recipe from the beginning of the text should be: personalization, witty and recognizable subject lines, effective calls to action and continual follow-up.
Keep to these ingredients and your email campaigns will be seen far and wide and your brand’s visibility will skyrocket in no time.