Email best practices

All you need to know about newsletter subject lines

Take your marketing campaigns to the next level by convincing recipients to read what you have to say. One of the best ways to do that is by writing good subject lines for emails.

Illustration of two Greek goddesses in front of a newspaper stand



Yes, you read that right. There are dos and don’ts to email subject lines. Considering email is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers, build brand awareness, and increase sales figures, it's crucial for you to draft the quirkiest yet easiest subject lines. Your subscribers usually decide if they want to open your emails by just reading the subject line.

Although users notice emails, they don't always open them. As email marketers, you’re responsible for both convincing recipients to read what you have to say and improving open rates. One of the best ways to do that is by writing good subject lines for emails. After all, 47% of email recipients open emails only based on the subject line.

Writing catchy newsletter headlines is the first step toward improving your average email open rate and increasing conversions. Subscribers need to be curious and enticed by what they see in newsletter subject lines and have a strong desire to click, open, and read on to learn more about your brand's offerings.

Dos and don'ts for newsletter subject lines

The first thing your consumers will notice about your email and brand will be the subject line and your choice of words. You want to entice new and existing customers to open the email and read the content. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to help you do that:  


1. Personalize your subject lines

Personalization is an excellent way to build rapport and convince recipients to open your email newsletter. You can use their first name, age, or gender to create an authentic connection instead of a generic one that seems distant or pushy.

2. Emphasize FOMO

Tapping into someone's fear of missing out (FOMO) can cause them to act. One way of doing that is by making a product or offer only available for a limited time or in small quantities. This approach can make potential customers feel like they're buying something special or are part of a unique group.

3. Keep your subject lines to the point

A simple, straightforward subject line works best to persuade a user to open your email. Subject lines with 61–70 characters have higher open rates than those with more than 100. Using fewer words to include pertinent information and enticing detail may be all you need to help your open rates reach new levels.

4. Use an urgent tone

A feeling of urgency in your content can help persuade email recipients to take action, but it's important not to overdo it. If that happens, you may come across as pushy and cause readers to delete a message rather than view its marketing information. Some urgent email subject line examples include:

  • Pizza Hut: Tonight only. Save $5 on your order

  • Jaybird: Last chance to save big this holiday

  • Sephora: Last day: Pick your 5 faves

  • HP: Time is running out…save up to $300

5. Make the subject lines mysterious

Subject lines with a mysterious tone can drive curiosity and increase your open rates. But it's essential to deliver any information or claims made so your subscribers keep opening what you send. Remember to send mysterious subject lines infrequently, as subscribers can grow tired of them.

6 Ensure your subject lines are important to recipients

When users choose to opt-in to an email newsletter, odds are they're interested in receiving content on a particular topic and related news and trends. Write to-the-topic subject lines that pique the interest of your email list and establish your brand as an industry expert.

7. Include “power words”

Power words trigger emotion and action. Use these to persuade or entice your audience. You can target feelings like trust, curiosity, and simplicity through dependable, unexplained, and easy words.

Some examples of power words include:






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8. Include an offer

To convince recipients to open your email newsletter, you have to make it worth their while. Including an offer that gives something in return may be just what you need to get them to open a message and read what you have to say. But your offers must be legitimate to gain your subscribers' trust and avoid the spam folder. 

9. Use storytelling

Storytelling is an excellent way to relate to your subscribers and convey information.Subject lines that hint at the story inside can heighten curiosity and serve as the catalyst that pushes users to open, read, and click through. 

Examples of stories in subject lines:

  • How I overcame my fear of public speaking and landed my dream job

  • The inspiring story of a single mom who built a million-dollar business

  • From homeless to CEO: the incredible journey of [name]

  • What my grandmother taught me about building lasting relationships

  • The surprising lesson I learned from a failed business venture

  • How a weekend trip changed my life forever

  • A small act of kindness that made a big difference

  • The day I decided to pursue my passion, no matter what

  • The incredible story behind our best-selling product

  • From burnout to breakthrough: my journey to finding work-life balance

10. Pay attention to timing

You can target feelings like trust, curiosity, and simplicity through dependable, unexplained, and easy words.

Another critical point is sending newsletters during the holidays. They’re a perfect time to send newsletters as subscribers look for gifts and discounts. Consider subject lines that include related topics like unique gifts or holiday coupons that may grab your audience's attention and lead to more website visits.


1. Including spammy words

Avoid words that are emphatic or make an offer sound fraudulent, potentially activate spam filters, or cause users to hit the delete button.Some of these terms include free, apply now, and bonus. Recipients generally consider these spammy and sometimes delete emails without even opening them.  

2. Being overly promotional

The best examples of newsletter subject lines pay attention to an email subscriber, not promoting a company. Good email subject line examples focus on the recipient's needs and how a product or service can better meet them and improve their lives. Of course, you can still include new product information or special offers, but most content should be about the customer. 

3. Using “newsletter” in the subject line

Users generally consider the word “newsletter” boring in a subject line. Plus, it takes 10 of your 60 characters, wasting valuable words. For an improved open rate, avoid using the term.  

4. Writing in all caps

An email newsletter subject line in all caps is terrible for two reasons: shouting tonality and spammy behavior. If users read an all-caps subject line, they may feel yelled upon and move the email to the bin without even opening it. Or, if inbox service providers (ISPs) view an all-caps subject line, they may suspect the email to be spam, resulting in the sender facing deliverability issues and sometimes even ending up on a blocklist

Newsletter subject line examples

Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t write in a subject line, let’s take a look at some of the best email subject lines:

Wired: Watch out for this Amazon phishing scam

This subject line uses techniques that tap into brand recognition and trigger a sense of urgency. Many recipients may buy products from Amazon, and words like "phishing" and "scam" add a degree of importance that makes users want to click.

Asana: Tips to increase remote collaboration

This is an excellent example of a clear subject line that lets recipients know what they can expect in the email. It also capitalizes on the remote work trend since the pandemic’s onset.

TechCrunch: Google sees smartphone heroics in Oreo. It's The Daily Crunch.

Subscribers to TechCrunch are likely interested in the latest technology topics. Because of that, TechCrunch sends emails about current technology news and happenings. 

Buffer: Buffer has been hacked – here is what's going on

Several years ago, Buffer got hacked. This subject line was so great because it handled the crisis with simple, to-the-point language and conveyed genuine concern. 

Craft your newsletters with Mailjet

As an email marketer, you must consider a lot when creating an effective strategy, achieving higher open rates and increasing conversions while using appealing and professional templates. This is where we come to your rescue. Mailjet has all the tools you need for a successful email marketing strategy.

Our A/B testing tool lets you analyze up to 10 versions of a message, find out which works best, and optimize your future marketing emails. When you want to design templates that express your brand identity but don't want to learn complex software, our intuitive Email Editor with a drag-and-drop interface makes it easy.

For the ultimate data analysis, we offer A/B testing, which allows multivariate testing of up to 10 email campaigns, with variables for email content, subject line, reply to name, and sender name. When you like to exhibit a fun attitude and increase open rates, we can guide you on emojis in subject lines and how they attract more attention.

Now get out there and start crafting some eye-catching email subject lines!

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