Are your newsletters gathering dust in your subscribers’ inboxes, unopened and ignored? Or, even worse, landing up in spam folders never to be seen? From witty one-liners to personalized messages, crafting good newsletter subject lines is a lot like coming up with an opening line in a bar—it’s important to get it right.  

We’ll give you some pointers and examples of great email subject lines that capture attention, pique interest, and leave a lasting impression—as well as some top tips on how to write newsletter subject lines that won’t be ignored. Ready to create a spark?

What makes an effective subject line?

A great subject can be a lot of things. It can be simple and to the point, but it can also be mysterious and funny, or get people thinking. It all depends on the strategy and style you go for. The most important element is finding the right hook for your audience. 

“Finding a good hook is important. For that you need to know your audience and ensure that it speaks to them. It could be a valuable information titbit, a humorous line, a “shocking” stat line, or a simple question that gets them thinking”

Michael Korkia, Head of Marketing at Smallpdf

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with these tips: 

  • Ensure relevancy: Make use of trending topics and industry news that are relevant to your niche and your audience’s interests.
  • Keep your email subject lines short and sweet: Aim for 5–10 words or 40–50 characters. Always check the preview to make sure you’re within the limits. 
  • Personalize your subject lines (beyond just names): Use the recipient’s name or reference their location or interests to create targeted subject lines. Make it personal by researching specific interests for various segments and work that into your newsletter subject line 
  • Create urgency: Use words that create a sense of FOMO or time sensitivity. We’ll give you some great examples of this further down the page
  • Create curiosity: Using questions, humor, or teasers can pique the reader’s interest and make them want to learn more. From being blunt or sarcastic to mysterious and curious—don’t be afraid to be a little different when it comes to email subject lines 
  • Be clear and specific: Make sure your subject line accurately reflects the content of your email
  • Avoid writing subject lines that contain spam trigger words: Spammy words like “free,” “buy,” and “limited time” in your newsletter subject lines can land your email in the spam folder

Once your subject line is on point, make sure the newsletter is too. Check out these tips to up your newsletter header game.

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40 brilliant newsletter subject line examples (and how to replicate them)

Here’s a fun experiment: scroll through your inbox for a while to look for the best email subject lines. After reading a few, you’ll be able to notice some clear patterns in subject lines for newsletters—wordy, repetitive, lacking important information…boring. We’ve gathered expert advice to shake things up a little with open-worthy subject lines.

“Understand the tone and goal of your email. Is this a serious email? Keep the subject line short, sweet, and to the point. Readers should be able to easily identify what this email is for (i.e. order confirmations). If this is a more fun email, the subject line should reflect that. Make it catchy. It should still relate to the email, but keep the reader wanting more so that they open the email.”

Kristen Lopez, Growth Marketing Manager at Haven Energy

Let yourself be inspired for your next update with the examples below. 

The super-relevant subject line

This type of subject line works by referencing the recipient’s pain points or interests. It’s a typical ‘what you see is what you get’ subject line. 

Here are a few examples:

  1. 5 Gift ideas for your dog-loving friend
  2. Solve your space problems with these storage solutions
  3. Get extra cash for your opinion: take our survey
  4. The best productivity tips for remote workers like you
  5. Get green: plants to add to your garden this month

How to make these subject lines work for you

To make this type of subject line work for you, start by segmenting your email list based on interests or pain points, and write content that is directly linked to what they want to know about. 

You’ll hit two birds with one stone here: it’ll be easier to find a topic for your newsletter, and you can tailor your subject lines accordingly.

The short and simple subject line

Sometimes less is more. A short and simple subject line can be just as effective as a longer one. 

Why say in 10 words what you can say in 5? Get to the point quickly so that readers know exactly what they’re in for. 

Check out these examples:

  1. Hey there!
  2. New blog post: writing tips
  3. Quick question for you
  4. New video to watch
  5. Funny community posts

How to make these subject lines work for you

To make this type of subject line work for you, focus on creating a sense of curiosity or intrigue with just a few words. Look at the absolute essence of your newsletter and condense it into a snappy subject line. 

Don’t worry about being super clear in these types of newsletter subject lines, a little mystery will only help to get more people to open your newsletters.

3. The ‘get It before it’s gone’ email subject line

This type of subject line works by creating a sense of urgency or scarcity. It’s most suitable for emails for ecommerce businesses, or content creators who have limited-edition products or services on offer. 

Instead of trying to trick people to open a newsletter, be upfront about having a great offer for something you’re trying to sell. 

Here are a few subject line examples that trigger people to act fast :

  1. Last chance to save 50%!
  2. Only 5 spots left!
  3. $70 off your next 3 orders
  4. 24-hour sale starts now
  5. Be one of the 10 lucky ones

How to make these subject lines work for you

To make this type of subject line work for you, you’ll have to be running time-limited promotions or offer limited quantities of a product or service. 

These types of email campaigns work best if you don’t do them too often—you want to catch your reader’s attention with truly valuable offers, so keep it limited.  It typically works best to go straight to the benefit in the subject line

With these types of email subject lines, it’s especially important to check whether you’re using spam words. 

The funny and cheeky email subject line

We’ve all got a crowded inbox, mostly with email subject lines that don’t spark any joy. So if you want to get people excited about your content coming in, try making them laugh right from the first time they see your newsletter pop up. 

There are many ways to let your brand’s personality shine through and pique curiosity with humor-packed newsletter subject lines—even if you’re not a seasoned comedian.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Don’t leaf me hanging: the latest trends in indoor gardening
  2. Un-bowl-ievable: our new menu is out
  3. Why cook if you can just open the door?
  4. Looking for (cute) guinea pigs: want to test our new product?
  5. Putting the ‘fun’ in ‘funnel’: marketing tips that don’t make you yawn

How to make these subject lines work for you

It’s a very fine line between cringe and funny, but it pays off to explore it anyway. If you don’t have a knack for writing humorous copy, just keep some tactics in mind:

  • Be sarcastic: Ask yourself, “How would Chandler from Friends say this?”
  • Add ridiculous synonyms: Dive into the synonyms of the word you were going to use until you find something only someone from the Middle Ages would say
  • Be super honest: Sometimes being blunt is the funniest thing you can do. Instead of saying you’ve got an exciting new offer that people can’t miss, just rewrite it as: ‘ridiculous discount we really shouldn’t be giving’’.

If you’re looking for more material, have a look at this post from Dave Harland, aka The Word Man, in which he gives some more ideas on how to write a great email subject line.

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The odd one out email subject line 

Don’t want to be like all other businesses? Consider getting weird with your email subject lines. Really weird. 

This, of course, only works if it matches your brand, but especially if you have a very creative newsletter, it could be the trick to boosting those click-through rates. 

Check out these examples for inspo:

  1. You won’t believe what we found in our backyard
  2. If you believe in hypnosis, don’t read this email
  3. How to travel through time with only a toaster
  4. Talking to plants: the best opening lines we’ve used
  5. Did you dream about this too last night?

How to make these subject line work for you

These subject lines, of course, have to tie in with the rest of the newsletter. It requires storytelling—you’ll need to make the subject line match some other part of the story. Use anecdotes or metaphors in your newsletter to make this easier.

These types of subject lines are best used for a specific audience that appreciates humor and creative thinking. If you’re uncertain if your audience would respond well to this style, test it out with a small group first. 

The ‘no excuses’ email subject line

A nifty subject line trick is to include the newsletter time investment in hard numbers.

That way, people immediately know what they’re getting themselves into, and more often than not that means quick and easy-to-read newsletters that are packed with wisdom.

By telling people up front what the time investment will be for reading your email, you increase the chances of them opening your newsletter. 

Here are some examples of newsletter subject lines that incorporate this trick:

  1. Skip the fluff: 5 new jobs that match your profile
  2. Cook this in 20 minutes {no long intro, promise}
  3. 1-page guide to the new Google update
  4. 60-sec video on intermittent fasting
  5. Read this before bed (1 minute)

How to make these subject lines work for you

These email subject lines work great if you make these quick newsletters part of your brand and content strategy. That’s what James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, does. He sends out newsletters that he calls 3-2-1’s (which he also mentions in the subject line, making it easy to recognize his content). 

The more you do this, the easier it becomes for people to know what to expect from you. They’ll feel confident that they can quickly open your newsletter and get a good nugget of info. 

You can hint at being a quick read that’s packed with knowledge right from the signup moment. Check out these newsletter signup examples for more ideas to attract more readers.

The question-style email subject line

Every so often the answer to writing great subject lines is asking questions.

With questions, you spark an interaction instead of just pushing content onto your readers. Many content creators experiment with using questions in their newsletter subject lines, and if you use them right, they can certainly up your email marketing game. 

Here are some questions you could use as inspiration:

  1. Does your sales team use this trick?
  2. How is your business impacting the environment?
  3. What bothers you when hiring new employees?
  4. Did you know about this, [name]?
  5. What did your first customer teach you?

How to make these subject lines work for you

It’s important to ask questions that are directly related to the content of the email and get your subscribers thinking. Make sure your questions are to the point and simple. You don’t want to overwhelm readers before even opening your newsletter, or alienate a large chunk of them by asking questions that are too specific. 

This format requires some storytelling skills, but it’s a great way to interact with your audience, instead of just driving down that one-way lane. Check out our tips on how to write a great newsletter to learn all about engaging newsletters. 

The ‘do you feel it too?’ email subject lines

Last on the list: playing into people’s emotions in your newsletter subject lines. Do this with care—you want to be genuine and kind, and positive, above all else. These newsletter subject lines intend to show your audience that you understand them and their pain points and needs. 

Here are some examples:

  1. Stressed at work? Here’s advice from our managers
  2. This heartwarming story will help you sleep
  3. 5 ways to avoid feeling overwhelmed this holiday season
  4. Feel confident with these resume tips
  5. Here’s how to connect with people like you

How to make these subject lines work for you

First up: Take the time to understand what makes your audience tick. What are their pain points, desires, and goals? This will help you craft subject lines that resonate with them emotionally.

Certain words in email subject lines trigger emotions more than others. Try to go for synonyms of the words you would quickly jump to. Moreover: stay authentic. 

This is not a tactic to manipulate your audience’s emotions with false promises or sensationalized headlines.

Using storytelling is great here again. You can tie these types of email subject lines into 

story-style newsletters that make it easier to talk about certain emotions. 

Looking for inspiration that goes beyond the subject line? Make sure to check out these newsletter examples.

Create newsletters people want to open with Flodesk

What’s a killer newsletter subject line without a newsletter that lives up to the hype? Your readers deserve engaging emails and stunning designs. 

Enter Flodesk—with our beautiful and customizable templates, intuitive drag-and-drop builder, and in-depth analytics, we make crafting engaging and effective newsletters lines a breeze. 

Plus, as a Flodesker, you’ll join a supportive community of email marketers on Facebook, sharing tips and information to take your email game to the next level. Try it for free for 30 days, no credit card required.