Email subject line pattern inspiration

Email subject line pattern inspiration

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.

Chico’s — Sneak Peek: The Holiday 2015 Collection
Betty Crocker – 6 Sides You Didn’t Know You Could Make Ahead
Quora – What do psychologists know, that most people don’t?
Zendesk – Go ahead, take a look
B2B Marketing Summit – This will make your Friday
Ian Brodie – Better advice than Woody Allen gives?

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

Blue Apron – ? A special gift inside!

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

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.

About the Author: Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant. Next to helping companies improve their email marketing results he gives email marketing training and is a writer and speaker in the field of online marketing.
  • Nice post! Thanks for sharing these amazing subject line ideas. I have been looking for such tips for my email marketing campaign and finally got it from your post. Now, I will definitely use these patterns in my next campaign of MailGet. Great job, thanks again for the article.

  • Chandana Raja

    while using a impressive subject line majorly enhances the email open rate , keeping the email simple and small also plays a good role. here are 11 other metrics which you can follow to carry forward in email marketing

  • Chandana Raja

    The email subject line is the sole Representative of the email . we must make sure the words chosen in the email subject line are attractive at the same time professional. here are a few tips of the words that can be used and their impact on the email open rate . This also gives insights on how the length of the subject line affects the click and open rate.

  • Chandana Raja

    Good insight, I agree that email subject line is the gatekeeper of the emails. A well-defined subject can get your message across the readers
    clearly. However, a proper subject will not ensure that your audience
    would read your emails. But, it will help readers decide if your emails
    are of any importance to them.
    Much more tips have been given here :

  • Hi Jordie, this is so interesting, thank you! I must admit I’ve just understood the real benefits of email marketing for small business and I’m currently creating an online course, which I’m hoping to publish next month (October).

    I have just a quick question: when I was studying with HubSpot I learn that ‘salesy’ vocabulary in an email subject line was to be avoided. So I was quite surprised to read your suggestions about using a ‘Flashsale’ to generate urgency. I guess if you’re running a B2C company ‘sales’ subject lines are unavoidable. What do you think?

    • Well, it might just be that “salesy” vocabulary works perfectly fine for you. I sometimes wonder where these guys get their collective wisdom :D With online courses there are all kinds of types of urgency induced wordings you can use, rather it is an new update, price will be increased, last seats etc.

  • Thanks for sharing some of you testing, this is one BIG help! Finding the right words is one of the most difficult thing to think of.

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