100 Inspiring Email Subject Lines
 

100 Inspiring Email Subject Lines

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The most effective subject lines are straightforward and predispose openers to engage with the content of an email. However, creativity has its place. Creativity in less than half the length of a ...

The most effective subject lines are straightforward and predispose openers to engage with the content of an email. However, creativity has its place. Creativity in less than half the length of a tweet can give your emails the edge—especially when your subject line is backed up with great email content.

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  • Great compilation of subject lines, what really comes across is how striking subject lines from 2008 still sound in 2014.
    The interesting question is whether subject lines we like from a creative standpoint are truly successful and if there's a strong link between subject lines that sound great and subject lines that deliver opens and clicks. A/B testing lets us explore this question, but it takes time and often by the time a statistically significant result is achieved, the offer has expired, the product is out of stock or business need has changed. That's why we developed Touchstone, a tool that compares your proposed subject line with a database of 110,000 (and growing) database of other subject lines and results. It can predict open and click rates for a given subject line before you send anything so we'd recommend anyone with an interest in this area gives it a try - it is currently in open beta and free to beta users, try Touchstone at www.subjectlinegold.com
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  • Got quite a few good tips from this article. Thanks for sharing.
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100 Inspiring Email Subject Lines Presentation Transcript

  • 1. 100 Inspiring Subject Lines and B2C Subject Line Trends since 2006 @chadswhite
  • 2. Chad White Principal of Marketing Research Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud @chadswhite
  • 3. The most effective subject lines are straightforward and predispose openers to engage with the content of an email. However, creativity has its place.
  • 4. You may not have a fantastic deal to tout. Creative language can differentiate nonpromotional from sales-oriented messages. You might be newsjacking. Humor, wit and pop culture references may fit your brand.
  • 5. Whatever your reason, creativity in less than half the length of a tweet can give your emails the edge—especially when your subject line is backed up with great email content.
  • 6. To get your creative juices flowing, here are our picks for some of the most inspiring subject lines since 2006, along with some notable trends and events through the years that have affected subject lines.
  • 7. 2006 Pre-dating the launch of the first iPhone, in 2006 subject line writing was geared toward desktop email clients, which generally displayed the first 60 or so characters of a subject line.
  • 8. FTD, 10/10/06 1 Tell your boss what you really think A great tongue-in-creek double-meaning sets up this email promoting gifts for National Bosses’ Day. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #1 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 9. RedEnvelope, 10/3/06 2 Vhat vould Dracula vear? An engaging question, posed in Dracula’s trademark diction, introduces this email promoting Halloween costumes. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #2 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 10. Sharper Image, 10/13/06 3 Oops! Texas isn’t THAT big! Save $20 anywhere. After sending their entire list an offer for $20-off at a new store in San Antonio, this apology email subject line starts with the common “oops” or “sorry,” uses a little humor and extends the offer to every store to smooth things over. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #3 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 11. REI, 10/27/06 4 Coming Soon: SNOW! See REI's new winter gear now. This subject line borrows the “coming soon” language of a product or movie announcement to nice effect for this email promoting winter gear. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #4 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 12. Harry & David, 12/5/06 5 We've got the Pears ... who really wants the partridge or tree? Promoting Harry & David’s Royal Riviera Pears, this holiday email uses a subject line that pokes fun at the “partridge in a pear tree” line in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #5 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 13. Abercrombie & Fitch, 11/2/06 6 Get it on. Our warmest, softest fleece... Abercrombie.com The “get it on” pun is a perfect match with this retailer’s young, promiscuous brand image. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #6 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 14. Avon, 12/7/06 7 FREE Shipping with ANY Order, plus Holiday SAVINGS on Kisses The subject line for this email promoting lip gloss starts off with run-of-the-mill language—then surprises you with unexpected “Kisses.” CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #7 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 15. 2007 The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. As mobile reading of emails has grown, the recommended subject line length has shrunk from 50-60 characters in 2007 to 20-40 today.
  • 16. RedEnvelope, 5/11/07 8 Shop now for Mother's Day or pay until 2008. RedEnvelope takes the familiar “pay nothing until…” language and spins it into a warning about the wrath of mothers who get bad gifts. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #8 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 17. RadioShack, 10/28/07 9 The holidays are just around the corner. Fortunately, so are we. At a time when most emails from retailers focused heavily on driving online sales, this subject line is dedicated to driving store traffic, which email does just as effectively. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #9 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 18. Gap, 10/24/07 10 Can the Shirt off Your Back Change the World? Putting a spin on “I’d give you the shirt off my back,” Gap immediately projects generosity and compassion, setting the right tone for this (Product) Red t-shirt promotion. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #10 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 19. RedEnvelope, 6/4/07 11 Why man discovered fire. This subject line uses one manly archetype—Neanderthals— to promote another slightly more modern archetype of manliness—the grill master—for this email promoting grillrelated Father’s Day gifts. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #11 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 20. Crate & Barrel, 10/22/07 12 What holiday tables are wearing...plus Free Shipping Using a little personification, Crate & Barrel brings fashion anxiety to tableware. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #12 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 21. Urban Outfitters, 11/23/07 13 Step away from the leftovers: Free Shipping Ends Monday! A mix between an intervention and the cops busting down your door and yelling, “Drop the drumstick, scumbag!” this subject line fits Urban Outfitters’ brand image and nicely promoted their after-Thanksgiving sale. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #13 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 22. RedEnvelope, 2/12/07 14 Express Love Two words and one nice double-meaning are used in the subject line for this email, which promotes express shipping for delivery by Valentine’s Day. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #14 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 23. 2008 Surging gas prices were making headlines and brands mentioned them in their subject lines to convince subscribers to shop online. Video content was shiny and new and also getting mentions in subject lines.
  • 24. TigerDirect, 6/4/08 15 Over 150 Gallons of Savings from TigerDirect - See How... With gas prices dominating the news and the public consciousness, TigerDirect uses gallons of gas as an alternative currency, as a topical way of expressing the value of their offers. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #15 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 25. Toys “R” Us, 6/27/08 16 Save $10 on Stay-cation Shopping! Demonstrating that Toys “R” Us was tuned into consumer sentiment, this subject line was one of the first to use the neologism “staycation.” CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #16 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 26. AbeBooks, 5/28/08 17 Birthday. Happy birthday. Celebrating a New James Bond Release Riffing on how James Bond introduces himself, this subject line is a great lead in for the email, which touts the release of a new Bond novel, Devil May Care, on what would have been Bond creator Ian Fleming’s 100th birthday. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #17 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 27. Norm Thompson, 1/11/08 18 Fan mail for socks? Yes! And that's not all... Product reviews were superhot at the time and this subject line tapped into that interest. This subject line worked so well Norm Thompson reused the tactic with Jan. 28 subject line “Our KNIT JEANS get love letters. See what they say...” CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #18 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 28. Sephora, 12/3/08 19 10 ways to kiss Promoting their top 10 lip gloss gift sets, this subject line could easily be a headline for a piece in Cosmopolitan or Glamour, which speaks well to Sephora’s target audience. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #19 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 29. Urban Outfitters, 12/11/08 20 You lost. Will 15% off make it better? Matter of fact, perhaps a little shocking, and definitely unusual, this email notifies sweepstakes entrants right in the subject line that they didn’t win, but that there is a consolation prize. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #20 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 30. Bluefly, 10/23/08 21 Rock the Coat Tapping into election interest, this pithy subject line puns on the familiar “Rock the vote” saying and is backed up with Bluefly’s Fashion Decision ’08 feature, which asked customers about the fashion choices of the candidates. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #21 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 31. Finish Line, 6/2/08 22 Selling Your Sole Can Be A Good Thing! Some people probably did a double-take on this subject line, which was for an email about getting a discount on new shoes in exchange for donating your old ones to charity. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #22 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 32. RedEnvelope, 4/29/08 23 She's like a mom to you. Treat her special this Mother's Day. RedEnvelope tries to broaden the scope of Mother’s Day with the subject line for this email, which suggests buying gifts for coaches, stepmoms, mother-in-laws and nannies. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #23 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 33. AbeBooks, 8/8/08 24 Crisis at the Olympics Sent on day 1 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, this email was very topical and appeared newsy, although the email promoted a selection of books about past Olympic scandals. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #24 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 34. 2009 Promo codes started appearing in subject lines, allowing subscribers to get their discount without even opening the email.
  • 35. JCPenney, 11/8/09 25 Want Free Shipping? Use Promo Code 49SANTA At JCP.com! What’s in it for me? How do I get it? Where do I get it? Focused on generating conversions rather than opens or clicks, this subject line answers all those questions—all without needing to open the email. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #25 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 36. L.L. Bean, 2/3/09 26 "Is it really wrong to love a doormat?" With Valentine’s Day top of mind, this testimonial subject line made genius use of the double-meaning of “doormat” for this email promoting actual doormats. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #26 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 37. Neiman Marcus, 8/30/09 27 Piranhas, chihuahuas, and fashion! Meet Leyendecker The power of threes meets weird in this subject line, which does a great job of creating intrigue. What do piranhas and Chihuahuas have to do with fashion? And who or what is Leyendecker? CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #27 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 38. Gap, 10/19/09 28 Bring This Email to a Gap Store and Win, Starting 10/19 Now even easier and more common in the age of smartphones, this subject line asks subscribers to bring this email to a store to take advantage of the printable barcoded offer inside. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #28 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 39. NikeStore, 8/13/09 29 Actually, It Is Rocket Science Nike creates intrigue with this nice twist on “It’s not rocket science” to get subscribers interested in learning more about their new Lunarglide shoe. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #29 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 40. AbeBooks, 1/19/09 30 Join the Barack Obama Book Club Piggybacking on the Oprah Book Club, AbeBooks creates an unofficial Obama Book Club that highlights books and authors Obama mentioned in interviews and promotes it in this email sent the day before his inauguration. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #30 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 41. Sephora, 11/17/09 31 Gift Tip: Separate these sets into multiple gifts With the Great Recession underway, this subject line was super savvy and very much on the same wavelength as consumers, who were trying to stretch their holiday dollars. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #31 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 42. Victoria’s Secret, 12/19/09 32 Fantasy No. 339... With a nod to erotica fiction, Victoria’s Secret sent several emails that December using the “Fantasy No. X” format. Who doesn’t want to know women’s fantasies? Although fulfilling over 300 fantasies sounds super-daunting. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #32 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 43. AbeBooks, 7/10/09 33 Size Does Matter. The Longest Novels. Channeling the spam subject lines of old, AbeBooks grabs your attention with the first three words and then quickly reveals the true point of the email with the next three. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #33 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 44. Staples, 10/9/09 34 Save like it's 1492! Staples put a fun Columbus Day twist on the saying, “Party like it’s 1999.” CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #34 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 45. 2010 The growing adoption of iPhones and Gmail ushered in the rise of preheader text as a “second subject line,” since those platforms display a preview of the first HTML text in an email.
  • 46. GameStop, 3/9/10 35 We know when Tiger is coming back. Tapping into the endless speculation about when Tiger Woods would return to playing golf in the wake of his sex scandal, this newsjacking subject line grabs subscribers’ attention to promote the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #35 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 47. J&R, 12/17/10 36 Free Shipping DAY? People Puhleeze, We Have Free Shipping All Holiday Season! Mocking the rise of Free Shipping Day and the retailers supporting it, this Manhattan-based retailer stresses their standing free shipping offer. It was a great branding moment—with a little NYC sass to boot. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #36 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 48. Disney Store, 9/20/10 37 Last Day! Free Shipping Ends at the Stroke of Midnight! The allusion to Cinderella turns a mundane message about an offer expiration into a delightful moment of brand expression. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #37 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 49. Victoria’s Secret, 3/29/10 38 Get Naked: Tomorrow at Victoria's Secret. A nudist event tomorrow at VS stores? Nope. They were only introducing The Nakeds by Victoria’s Secret line, but the creative wordplay likely boosted opens and garnered more…um…exposure for the launch. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #38 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 50. Kohl’s, 8/11/10 39 We still have all this money to give away. Appealing to subscribers’ self-interest, Kohl’s uses this subject line to promote that their Kohl’s Cares charity is giving away $10 million to schools and needs their customers to vote for deserving schools. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #39 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 51. The Company Store, 6/7/10 40 Get Fresh...in bed The Company Store uses the “…in bed” fortune cookie joke in their subject line to promote buying fresh bed linens. It was playful in a way that they weren’t usually, which made it stand out for them as a brand as well. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #40 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 52. Disney Store, 3/17/10 41 Spell Your Name & Save Up to 30% on Tees! Hey, I know how to spell my name. Gimme that discount! Well, it turns out that you didn’t even have to know how to spell your name to get the discount on personalized tees offered in this email. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #41 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 53. Ralph Lauren, 2/2/10 42 Just In: The Official U.S. Olympic Opening Ceremony Uniform As the official outfitter of U.S. Olympians, Ralph Lauren was able to give this subject line a breaking news feel as they unveiled the official opening ceremony uniforms. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #42 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 54. Eddie Bauer, 2/8/10 43 90 Years in Seattle - We Know Rain! Eddie Bauer leverages the rainy reputation of their hometown in this subject line to promote rain coats, umbrellas and other wet weather gear. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #43 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 55. Uncommon Goods, 2/7/10 44 "Print. Cut. Lock the door." The instructions in this subject line are like a minimystery. All is made clear when you open the Valentine’s Day message and find a printable “Do Not Disturb” doorknob sign. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #44 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 56. GameStop, 2/9/10 45 Aliens, Predators & Humans play lethal Rock, Paper, Scissors Triples, symmetry and humor—what more could you ask for in a subject line promoting the Aliens vs. Predator video game? CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #45 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 57. Disney Store, 2/10/10 46 Alice is Here! Open Me! While subject lines often implore subscribers to “open” or look for “details inside,” this one promoting the Alice in Wonderland collection freshens the request by punning off the “Eat Me” cake and “Drink Me” bottle from the story. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #46 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 58. Frederick’s of Hollywood, 5/5/10 47 What sexy essential did we introduce? Find out with free shipping.. This subject line engages subscribers with a bit of brandbuilding trivia, spurring them to open the email to find out the answer. (A: They introduced the thong in 1981.) CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #47 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 59. Barnes & Noble, 6/3/10 48 Book your summer getaway here. Save 10% on first class reading. Figurative language bookended by two double-meanings makes for a nice subject line that taps into subscribers’ travel plans and travel-reading needs—or just their flights of imagination. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #48 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 60. Toys “R” Us, 5/17/10 49 Grad Gifts for Scholars of ANY Age! View our favorites High school and college graduation gifts are common, but in this subject line and email, Toys “R” Us tries to extend this tradition to honoring the graduation of younger kids to the next grade. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #49 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 61. 2011 Some thought subject lines would decrease in importance because of the late 2010 debut of Facebook Messages, which doesn’t support subject lines. However, the “not email” platform flopped.
  • 62. LinkedIn, 1/13/11 50 Chad, 118 of your connections changed jobs in 2010. A sign that personalization was moving beyond firstname, this subject line contained two personal data points and was a great lead into the email, which featured pictures of 20 connections with new jobs. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #50 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 63. FetchDog, 8/9/11 51 Add more fun to your walks with Suki Had this subject line said, “with your dog,” it wouldn’t have been nearly as personal and compelling. FetchDog asks subscribers for the names of their dogs, and puts them to good use in this personalized subject line. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #51 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 64. Urban Outfitters, 1/31/11 52 XOUO Inserting their brand’s initials into the common expression of affection “XOXO” for this Valentine’s Day email’s subject line is a testament to the power of brevity. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #52 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 65. Bed Bath & Beyond, 10/10/11 53 Shop here. Get your face licked. This subject line sounds a little gross or kinky (depending on your disposition), but Bed Bath & Beyond turns that into an aha moment when you open the email and discover it promotes pet products. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #53 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 66. Lands’ End, 6/8/11 54 Starfish: you named it. You bought every last pair. We made more. The subject line for this email—which tells the story behind Lands’ End’s Starfish Pants, which got its name from customer requests—makes you feel like you missed out not only on a product but a conversation. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #54 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 67. Frederick’s of Hollywood, 5/4/11 55 What bra sold 10,000 after being seen on the Today Show yesterday? Using consumer action and media attention for social validation amps up the intrigue of this subject line. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #55 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 68. Brookstone, 10/25/11 56 Forget about daylight savings While others were reminding subscribers to set their clocks back, Brookstone stood out by giving the exact opposite advice in this subject line for an email promoting clocks that set themselves and auto-adjust to Daylight Savings. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #56 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 69. Foot Locker, 6/8/11 57 Dads: This Email is Not For You, Please Forward It To Your Family. The forwarding request in this subject line is a clever device to get dads to open the email in order to see if it’s worthy of being forwarded. Plus, saying it’s “not for you” just makes you want to open it more. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #57 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 70. J. Jill, 8/31/11 58 Additional 30% off sale + free shipping. Our power may still be out, but our sale is ON! Sent in the wake of Hurricane Irene, this subject line expresses resilience. It doesn’t make light of the storm and isn’t exploitive, but rather conveys that they’re in the same boat as everyone else and carrying on as best they can. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #58 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 71. HP, 7/18/11 59 Check your next email on this: the HP Tablet! This subject line engages recipients by referring to what they’re doing at the moment—reading their email—and getting them to imagine doing it on a tablet. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #59 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 72. Lowe’s, 12/14/11 60 Build Your Own North Pole. Save up to 50% on Tools This subject line is both festive and aspirational, challenging DIYers to dream big—like Santa’s workshop big. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #60 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 73. Williams-Sonoma, 6/6/11 61 Top 5 Gifts Selected by the Dads of Williams-Sonoma Part of the then-emerging trend of brands abandoning corporate-speak and putting a face on their marketing, this subject line let subscribers know these Father Day gifts were picked by dads at WilliamsSonoma. TO TWEET: I love subject line #61 from @ExactTarget’s CLICK 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 74. Lands’ End, 12/21/11 62 Christmas delivery with express shipping - on Dasher, on Dancer, on Procrastinator Lands’ End makes Santa’s sleigh super-express by hooking up a 10th reindeer, Procrastinator. It’s seasonal while also making it clear who they’re addressing. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #62 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 75. Target, 1/30/11 63 Baby Sale: Sweet wittle pwices. Target uses some baby talk in this subject line, betting in part that the unusual spellings will catch subscribers’ eyes. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #63 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 76. J.Crew, 4/2/11 64 perfect for party hopping (plus, free shipping) Although they don’t mention Easter by name, the “hopping” pun in this subject line was cute and served well to promote kids’ clothing for “springtime special occasions.” CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #64 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 77. Victoria’s Secret, 4/14/11 65 Yours, All Ways... With just three short words, this is a wonderfully suggestive subject line promoting multi-way bras. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #65 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 78. Bed Bath & Beyond, 5/10/11 66 Hold your breath until you see this. The language they use to build intrigue in this subject line connects directly and delightfully to the product being promoted in the email: air purifiers. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #66 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 79. Dell, 9/23/11 67 You know it's time to upgrade to a new PC when... With Dell channeling a little Jeff Foxworthy, this subject line sets you up to expect some comical reasons why you need a new PC, which the email delivers with a faux infographic. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #67 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 80. Helzberg Diamonds, 8/17/11 68 This free bracelet has your name on it. The subject line leaves you wondering if they’re making a literal or figurative statement, which drives you to open the email—and discover it’s a literal one thanks to first-name personalized images of charm bracelets. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #68 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 81. 2012 Special characters like hearts and stars started appearing in subject lines early in the year. Overall, roughly 1% of retailers’ promotional emails included a special character in their subject line during 2012. That tripled in 2013.
  • 82. Avaaz.org, 12/10/12 69 They want to ██████ the Internet To support their rallying cry against internet censorship, this populist movement uses a series of special characters to create a black box like the subject line has been redacted. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #69 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 83. Neiman Marcus, 11/12/12 70 shoes for a well-rounded wardrobe The special character in the subject line is mimicked in the email creative, creating a strong connection between the subject line and email’s body copy. The “well-rounded” pun on the special character is a bonus. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #70 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 84. eBags, 11/18/12 71 The best gifts are opened again and again and again. This subject line is seasonal, intriguing and wonderfully inspired by eBags’ products. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #71 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 85. Lowe’s, 11/23/12 72 Just Woke Up? Already Out? Swing By -- Stores Open at 5 a.m. Sent as the sun was coming up, this subject line acknowledged that subscribers might be reading this email on a mobile device while they were out waiting for a store to open or driving to a store. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #72 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 86. Barnes & Noble, 1/29/12 73 Pop Quiz! What City is Home to the Most Angry Bird Players on NOOK? Tapping into people’s city-pride and desire to be right, this subject line engages with trivia that’s mined from the behavior of users of Barnes & Noble’s tablet, NOOK. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #73 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 87. Lowe’s, 6/1/12 74 Meet Tom -- He Learned the Hard Way Like an email of introduction, this subject line engages subscribers on a more personal level using Tom, a man who isn’t using the MyLowes program to help him remember which products he used to get his lush lawn. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #74 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 88. Lane Bryant, 9/28/12 75 Help Fight Breast Cancer & Show The Girls You Care The tongue-in-check “girls” pun in the subject line for this Breast Cancer Awareness Month email softened a serious issue with a little humor. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #75 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 89. ThinkGeek, 6/21/12 76 ThinkGeek hides $100 in your 525 Geek Points update As an extra incentive to get loyalty program members to open this update email, this subject line refers to the single-use promo code worth $100 off an order that ThinkGeek hid in the email. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #76 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 90. Wayfair, 6/11/12 77 Reward the one who never judges you. Top dog & cat supplies With this email arriving not coincidentally between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the subject line uses the setup and punch line delivery of a good one-liner. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #77 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 91. Lands’ End, 2/14/12 78 Dear Lands' End: A Valentine from Arlene D. This subject line makes it clear this message is actually one that someone sent Lands’ End and they’re now sharing with subscribers. It begs the questions: What made it worth forwarding? And who is Arlene D.? [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #78 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 92. Dell, 9/11/12 79 Inspiron 15 - $499.99 for the first 1000 customers with this coupon. While limited-time offers are common, this subject line incites competitiveness as well as urgency with a limitedquantity offer. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #79 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 93. Warby Parker, 12/27/12 80 Time to use your flex spending account! Acting like the helpful year-end “use it or lose it” reminder you should get from your FSA manager but don’t, this subject line makes you grateful to Warby Parker and receptive to their suggestions. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #80 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 94. 2013 Hashtags in subject lines went mainstream. Their inclusion often drives social conversation at the expense of decreasing email opens slightly.
  • 95. Feeding America, 12/3/13 81 How will you give back? #GivingTuesday As much about starting a conversation as about driving action, this subject line poses a question and then supplies a hashtag for subscribers to use when replying via social media. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #81 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 96. Jeep, 9/5/13 82 ||||||| Your Jeep newsletter is here. Using special characters, Jeep creates a very good representation of their logo, adding great branding to this subject line. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #82 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 97. Vizify, 10/3/13 83 Your bio's been updated. View what's new. This subject line starts off using common update confirmation language, but this email is a notification that Vizify has automatically updated your bio. Of course, subscribers will want to know what’s new. [VIEW EMAIL] TO TWEET: I love subject line #83 from @ExactTarget’s CLICK 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 98. JCPenney, 1/2013 84 Glad You’re Here--Just Open to Confirm Something short of the standard double opt-in that requires a click in the subscription confirmation email, this one only requires that you open it, as its subject line makes clear. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #84 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 99. ThinkGeek, 1/23/13 85 ThinkGeek's roses are #FF0000, violets are #0000FF... Geeking up the staid “roses are red, violets are blue” rhyme, ThinkGeek used the eye-catching (and possibly head-scratching) hexadecimal color codes for the two hues in this subject line. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #85 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 100. Kiva, 10/10/13 86 $62.14 Using money and minimalism to create intrigue, the micro-loan company included the balance for the recipient’s account in the subject line. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #86 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 101. Moosejaw, 12/6/13 87 You have $37.90 in Moosejaw Rewards Points Waiting to be Spent You’re more likely to shop where you already have money on the table, and this rewards notification email’s subject line gives subscribers a compelling reason to wrap up Cyber Week by making another purchase. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #87 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 102. NFLshop, 9/29/13 88 Your Patriots Are 4-0! Plus, Free Shipping on All Patriots Gear Knowing that team pride helps drive sales, this subject line leads with the current record for my favorite team— which I indicated during signup—and then follows with a promotion. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #88 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 103. Carnival Cruise Lines, 1/2013 89 Chad, your vacation fun starts at $249 (email 1 of 5) The first email in this 5-email welcome series sets the expectation right in the subject line to be on the lookout for four more introductory emails. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #89 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 104. Vera Bradley, 7/1/13 90 Summer checklist: Sarong Beach Towel... Tapping into people’s love of checklists, this subject line lists the first couple of items in one and uses checkmark special characters to strengthen the effect. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #90 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 105. Delta Air Lines, 4/1/13 91 Register. Spend $50 dining. Earn 150 miles. In addition to creating a simple 1-2-3 list, the special character numbers in this subject line function like bullet points, allowing the subscriber to more quickly skim the text. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #91 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 106. Vera Bradley, 8/14/13 92 Q. Best accessory? a) lanyards b) IDs c) wristlets ... To set the right back-to-school tone, this subject line uses a multiple-choice question to engage subscribers, taking the tried-and-true question-based subject line one step further. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #92 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 107. Moosejaw, 1/7/13 93 It worked for Obama... Topical since it was sent shortly before President Obama’s inauguration, this subject line leaves you wondering what worked? The email, which mimics the Obama campaign’s emails, answers the question. [VIEW EMAIL] CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #93 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 108. ModCloth, 8/29/13 94 FLOTUS-worthy frocks. In addition to capitalizing on Michelle Obama’s popularity, this subject line uses the FLOTUS abbreviation for First Lady of the United States, keeping the text short while also sparking the curiosity of those unfamiliar with the CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #94 from @ExactTarget’s term. 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 109. Etsy, 3/16/13 95 ROYGBIV Using the mystery and insiderness of a nonword acronym, this subject line refers to the color spectrum of rainbows—Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet—with the email promoting products in each color. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #95 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 110. JCPenney, 11/13/13 96 Pinterest faves for your home for 2050% off! More aspirational and positive than the post-purchase reality of a product review, Pinterest provides a great way to source consumer-selected “favorites,” as JCPenney does here. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #96 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 111. Gap, 4/29/13 97 1 dress, 4 ways to wear it This subject line promises context for the dress it promotes. Even if subscribers aren’t interested in the dress, they may be interested in a new styling tip. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #97 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 112. ThinkGeek, 7/31/13 98 We solemnly swear we are up to no good... Using a quote from the Harry Potter books, this subject line connects with fans of the series for this email that celebrates J.K. Rowling’s birthday. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #98 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 113. Wine.com, 12/4/13 99 And our #1 wine is… The Wine.com 100 is here! More evidence that retailers are finding success with a content marketing approach, this subject line feels like it’s promoting a top 100 wines magazine article. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #99 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 114. Moosejaw, 11/13/13 100 We lied last time. THESE are the best Moosejaw jackets ever. Sounding like a confession, this subject line starts by admitting they lied—which certainly piques people’s interest. It then pivots to a product promotion. CLICK TO TWEET: I love subject line #100 from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines What’s your favorite?
  • 115. We hope these examples have inspired you to look for your own creative subject line opportunities. Remember that…
  • 116. Content filtering now plays a minor role in deliverability at major ISPs, so don’t be afraid to use: • • • • punctuation and special characters all caps formerly taboo words like “free” really long or short subject lines
  • 117. We encourage you to run subject line tests routinely to discover which approaches and wordings your subscribers respond to. And don’t forget that the best subject line is the one that generates the highest conversion rate or most sales, not the one that generates the highest open rate.
  • 118. Good luck! Did you enjoy our 100 Inspiring Subject Lines? If so, please tell a friend or colleague about it. CLICK TO TWEET: I got lots of great ideas from @ExactTarget’s 100 Inspiring Subject Lines: extg.co/100SubjLines Check it out!
  • 119. METHODOLOGY: Subject lines were selected based on their innovativeness, uniqueness and excellence as an example of an important trend. The performance of the subject lines was not a factor in their selection.
  • 120. SOURCES: All subject lines were collected as a part of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud research into subject line trends using both personal and anonymous email accounts. For more information, visit exacttarget.com