5 Examples of Awful and Awesome Email Subject Lines…and Maybe a Few Shades of Grey 54 comments


Yes, my inbox is overflowing. I my defense, most of those 23,000 have been read and replied to.

Yes, my inbox is overflowing. I my defense, most of those 23,000 have been read and replied to. And, yes, that’s a Mario background.

I get a lot of email newsletters, PR emails, special offers, blog alerts…you name it, my email is full of it. I like to keep up-to-date on what others are doing in my industry. To be able write for my clients, I need to stay in-the-know about what’s happening in other industries, too. So, when it comes to email subject lines I’ve seen them all. (Plus, in my almost two decades of copywriting, I’ve written my fair share.)

Let me tell you something: a bunch of you guys are doing it all wrong. Let’s look at some examples and I’ll tell you why they miss the mark.

The Hand Slap

Email Subject Tips

This subject line made me curious, so I clicked. I have to give them credit for that. I also have to admit that I love crazy people. Come on, I am one.

It would have been a great subject line if it wasn’t paired with a horrible intro:

Hi Alina (Yes, this marketer didn’t put a comma after my name. Sigh.)
Call me crazy, but I am a little surprised you still haven’t taken me up on this…

Instantly, I felt like I got an email hand slap from the online nunnery. It’s like when your mom would pull you aside, call you by your full name and say, “I’m surprised at your behavior!”

Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad, on reflection. Those were my first impressions, though, and that’s all you’ve got, my friend.

The Clingy Boyfriend

I have to admit, when I saw this subject line, I panicked, thinking that I had forgotten to email someone back or said something wrong. Of course, I clicked.

This one hits in the feels.

This one hits in the feels.

Then, I read the email. Here’s a little:

Don't be that email marketing guy. Just don't.

Don’t be that email marketing guy. Just don’t.

 

It went on and on. Boy, it felt like I needed to pry this email out of my inbox with a spatula!

My first thought was: Come on, people! Really? You’re trying to guilt trip people into buying your products? You’re better than that.

My second thought was: Clingy, needy and suffocating.

I know, I know. That sounds really harsh and awful, but I’m being honest. No person ever wants to feel like a company is coming on to them like a clingy ex, so it is no surprise that I didn’t by this person’s product.

A Few Good Men…and Women

Okay, I don’t like a pile-on of negativity, so let’s look at some people who hit the mark. I clicked. I laughed. I loved.

fifty shades of grey subject line email

Oh, Nikolas, this is perfect.

 

Now, to understand why this is a fantastic subject line, you need a little context. This is a PR pitch about a study on how Fifty Shades of Grey is just about as well written as the majority of other books in its genre. That subject line shocked me. (I tried giving the book a try to see what people were fussing about and couldn’t stand how poorly written it was. I put it down after a chapter.) This email subject certainly made me curious. The inro and the rest of the email didn’t disappoint. It was email marketing perfection. (If you want to see the study, I’ve added the infographic to the bottom of this post.)

Al's a funny guy.

Al’s a funny guy.

Now, I’ve already featured Al Ruggie in a previous article, but I just can’t help but list him here, too. Here is the full email:

A great marketing email example

Okay, the subject line did scare me for a split second, but then I realized my dog was sitting right beside me. Then, I read on. The email was funny and upbeat. Everything and marketing email should be. Damn skippy I used him in that article.

great email subject for a newsletter

The Freelancer by Contently Newsletter continually has great subject lines for their newsletter emails. How do they do it? Pretty simple. Their subject asks a great question about their featured article. This week’s featured article was As a Journalist, Should Writing Listicles Bother Me? The subject line tied in well with the content of the email and it asked an intriguing question that made me open the email. Bravo!

The Lesson?

People want positive messages in their inbox. No downers, no guilt. Most of all, make sure that your subject lines and your email text are cohesive. Just getting someone to click isn’t going to get you a sell or a reply. What’s in the email is just as important. If your emails aren’t converting, take a look at your email subject line AND the copy.

Oh, and here’s that study, as promised:

Credit: grammarly.com/grammar-check

 


About Alina Bradford

I've been a DIY, lifestyle, tech and health writer for almost two decades. Dang, that makes me sound old...Anywhoo, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I'm @alinabradford. Real original handle, huh?


Don't be shy! Leave a tell me what you think!

54 thoughts on “5 Examples of Awful and Awesome Email Subject Lines…and Maybe a Few Shades of Grey

  • Auto Car Auction

    I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thank you, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?

  • Rick Jurgenson

    The following time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to read, however I truly thought youd have one thing fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you can fix in the event you werent too busy searching for attention.

  • Denver Health

    I¡¦m now not certain the place you’re getting your info, however great topic. I must spend some time finding out more or figuring out more. Thank you for magnificent info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  • Arts

    Hey, you used to write fantastic, but the last few posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  • Technology

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  • Family Vacation

    Hi my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and come with almost all vital infos. I would like to look more posts like this.

  • Health Plans

    Good info and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is really the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • social security administration

    Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your web site in web explorer, could check this¡K IE still is the market chief and a huge portion of other people will miss your magnificent writing due to this problem.

  • Automotive

    Its wonderful as your other content : D, regards for posting . “If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be–a christian.” by Mark Twain.

  • automotive

    I have fun with, result in I discovered exactly what I was having a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • Home Improvement

    Great tremendous things here. I am very happy to see your article. Thank you so much and i am having a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  • Arts

    I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  • Insurance

    I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thanks , I¡¦ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?

  • Arts

    Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last several posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  • Home Improvement

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  • Business

    Useful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by chance, and I’m stunned why this accident did not took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

  • Games

    I will right away seize your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognize so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  • Women

    Great amazing things here. I¡¦m very satisfied to look your article. Thanks so much and i’m looking ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  • Pets/animal

    Someone essentially lend a hand to make critically posts I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular publish extraordinary. Magnificent process!

  • Pets/animal

    Great awesome issues here. I am very glad to look your article. Thanks so much and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  • house and home improvement

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Great. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your effort.

  • Health

    I want to point out my admiration for your kindness supporting folks that have the need for guidance on this topic. Your real dedication to getting the message across had been amazingly advantageous and has really permitted ladies like me to realize their targets. Your own valuable recommendations signifies a lot a person like me and a whole lot more to my peers. Many thanks; from all of us.

  • Finance

    Hi there, I discovered your website via Google at the same time as searching for a comparable matter, your web site got here up, it appears great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  • education and career

    I have been reading out many of your articles and i can state pretty clever stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your blog.

  • sports

    I¡¦ll right away grasp your rss as I can’t in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me know in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  • business

    Terrific work! That is the type of information that are supposed to be shared across the net. Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and discuss with my website . Thank you =)

  • General

    Hi there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  • Health & Society

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  • House & Home Improvement

    I¡¦ll right away clutch your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me recognise so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  • Technology

    You completed some fine points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found nearly all people will go along with with your blog.

  • shop homes

    great publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t realize this. You must proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  • automaker

    Nice blog right here! Also your site a lot up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I want my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • Technology

    Good post and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thank you 🙂

  • Technology

    Wow! Thank you! I continually wanted to write on my website something like that. Can I include a fragment of your post to my website?

  • House & Home Improvement

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

  • business

    Useful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by chance, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

  • technology

    Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your site in web explorer, would test this¡K IE still is the marketplace leader and a big component of people will miss your fantastic writing due to this problem.

  • House & Home Improvement

    Very nice post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is really the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • modern sofa

    Great work! That is the kind of information that are meant to be shared around the web. Shame on Google for no longer positioning this post higher! Come on over and consult with my web site . Thank you =)

  • Woman

    I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks , I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

  • House & Home Improvement

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  • Automotive

    This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  • Dating

    I appreciate, result in I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • Woman

    fantastic post, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  • Computer & Technology

    I have not checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  • arts and health

    You completed a number of nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found nearly all folks will agree with your blog.

  • Delores

    Hello! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!