Try wordplay, humor, creative techniques
Among the most popular subject lines for my e-zine, Wylie’s Writing Tips:
Now you see it
The Awwwww Factor
Paint the schnauzer
Can you read me now?
Don’t commit verbicide
Pleading for shorter sentences
Want to write subject lines that get clicked? Make them entertaining.
Why write clever email subject lines?
Entertainment comprises 2 of the top 3 reasons people share information via email or social media, according to a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey. They are:
- Because I find it interesting/entertaining (72%)
- To get a laugh (58%)
- Because I think it will be helpful to recipients (58%)
3 ways to craft an entertaining subject line
So how do you write subject lines that are entertaining, funny or pique readers’ curiosity? Here are 3 ways:
1. Make it cheeky.
Try a little cheekiness, as in this subject line from RLM PR about a media barbecue with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos:
Jeff Bezos Has Great Buns
2. Twist a phrase.
Or twist a phrase, like the fashion company River Island:
There’s no business like shoe business
3. Post a pun.
Or steal a tip from Weather Underground and post a pun:
Weather to pack sunscreen or an umbrella
Note that while all of these subject lines are clever, they are also clear.
Don’t be too clever.
This overly broad Cato Fashions subject line bombed in a study by usability expert Jakob Nielsen:
So did this clickbait subject line from AT&T:
Steven, wait until you see this!
As did this ridiculously silly InterContinental Hotels subject line:
Open Your (I)s to the Wonders of the Sea
Users in the NNG studies complained of “irritatingly cutesy” subject lines.
Ouch! Don’t let that phrase apply to your messages!
How can you get your emails read?
American professionals receive an average of 121 emails a day — times each of their two or more inboxes. No wonder 276 emails languish unread in the average inbox at any time.
Find out at Think Inside the Inbox — our email-writing workshop that begins Oct. 17.
You’ll learn to write email leads that get read (our fill-in-the-blanks formula will change your life), avoid the No. 1 reason people unsubscribe and pass a simple test for getting the word out via email on mobile.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.