What will spark engagement with your readers? What will make them want to act on your message? Everybody can do with some extra inspiration. In this archive different types of interesting email subject lines patterns and the commonality that binds them.

This is a Work in Progress: I will be revisiting this page and updating the list often, please make suggestions for additional patterns in the comments.

Pattern one: The dotted cliff-hanger
A way to use a curiosity is to create a cliff hanger. The cliff hanger is a method that leaves you with the burning question: “What will happen next?”. We see it in any good soap opera (if you believe such a thing exists) or television series.

One form of cliff-hanger is easily recognized, the three dotted end. This is the email subject line that ends with …

Secret Escapes Team – ? On the second day of Christmas…
Banana Republic – Shoes don’t make the man, but…
HMV – Mr. Grey Will See You Now… (50 shades of Grey promotion)
Ann Taylor – Between Sandals And Boots, There’s This…
eBags – This never happens…

Knowledge gap signal
A part of your audience might feel as if they already know everything or have read everything they need to know. But you know they are wrong. Point out that there is a knowledge gap, to make them curious and interested.

Sneak Peek: The Holiday 2020 Collection (Chico’s)
6 Sides You Didn’t Know You Could Make Ahead (Betty Crocker)
What do psychologists know, that most people don’t? (Quora)
Go ahead, take a look (Zendesk)
How I made a ____ of myself. (Laura Belgray)
This will make your Friday (B2B Marketing Summit)
Better advice than Woody Allen gives? (Ian Brodie)

The mystery gift
What will be inside? It must be something interesting that I would likely want, but what can it be?

? A special gift inside! (Blue Apron)

Open For a Special Coupon + This Week’s Ad! (Michaels)
An apology from our CEO, and a gift for you (Neiman Marcus)
A gift for you │ Sparkling gift ideas from €39 (Swarovski)
Have you opened your gift yet? It’s inside! (Lands’ End)
Mystery Sale: How Much Will You Save? (Grammarly)

Urgent matters at hand
One should act now, at least with some urgency

CNET Insider – Tick tock! It’s time to find last-minute gifts.

This is not for everyone, maybe not even for you.

Conversion Rate Experts – Read this only if your sales exceed one million

An urgency classic. The flashsale is the offer that almost expires before you even knew it was here.

NM Last Call – Hurry! Extra 55% off coats & furs >> ends at 4 p.m. CT
Selfridges – Last chance! Hurry, 20% off at Selfridges ends today
Southwest Click ‘N Save – Hurry! Low fares end soon. Book now.
Lands’ End – Be quick! F L A S H S A L E ends midnight.

The Transactional Twin
Transactional emails generally have better open rates. Make an ordinary email look more transactional by implying transactional messaging.

J.Crew Factory – We booked you a seat

I will be revisiting the page and updating it, if you have any suggestions be sure to leave them in the comment section below.