DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2018 (…And 7 Top-Notch Subject Lines Pulled from the Vault)

Welcome to the 6th annual installment of DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines!

Within this post we have over 600 proven, swipeable email subject lines that are yours for the taking:

DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2017 (…And a 5-Year Email Subject Line Reflection)
DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2016 (…And 5 Free Tools You Can Use to Amplify Your Email Marketing!)
DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2015 (…And Our 3 Best Email Split Tests!)
DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2014 (…And Our 10 Worst!)
DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2013

There’s more here than just subject lines, though. Every year, I give this post a little extra ‘oomph’ with an additional tip, tool, or trick you can use to improve your email game.

(RELATED: Following Email Marketing Best Practices)

This year, I pulled some favorites from my personal subject line swipe file. I’ve included 7 subject lines that stood out in my inbox—they’ve got what it takes to compete in the inbox. I also break down why they worked so well, so you can leverage those same techniques.

You may wonder, why 7? Well, if there’s one thing we’ve seen again and again in this post over the last 5 years, it’s that oddball numbers are more effective at grabbing a potential email opener’s (or post reader’s) attention.

If you’re new to the post, take a minute to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of email subject lines. There are 8 different components we found again and again in our top performing email subject lines…

(NOTE: Tired of your email marketing being mostly guess work? Use this FREE plug and play guide and tracking sheet to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy. Download it here!)

Get your free guide to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy.

1. Self-Interest

These are your bread and butter subject lines—you should be using them most frequently.

They are usually direct and speak to a specific benefit your audience will gain by opening the email.

Self-interest subject lines also help pre-qualify openers by giving them a clue about your email’s body content.

2. Curiosity

If self-interest subject lines work because they communicate a direct benefit of opening the email, curiosity-based ones succeed for the exact opposite reason.

They pique the interest of subscribers without giving away too much information, leading to higher opens.

"They pique the interest of subscribers without giving away too much information, leading to higher opens."

Be careful though because curiosity-based subject lines can get old fast and are the most likely to miss their mark.

3. Offer

Do you like free stuff? Do you like to buy things?

So does your email list.

When you are giving something away or selling something your subscribers would be interested in, directly stating that in your subject line is a great way to convince them to open the email and learn more.

4. Urgency/Scarcity

This is the most powerful type of subject line you have at your disposal.

Subject lines that communicate urgency and scarcity tell readers they must act now.

"This is the most powerful type of subject line you have at your disposal."

Too many of these can lead to list exhaustion so use sparingly and, of course, only when there is truly a deadline, limited quantity, or limited availability.

5. Humanity

Don’t forget to remind your list about the person or people behind your products.

Sometimes you need to thank your subscribers, tell them a story about yourself, or make a human appeal for their attention.

6. News

Keeping your audience informed about new developments in your field builds authority and keeps your open rates high.

These subject lines often work well when combined with a curiosity element.

7. Social Proof

A fundamental characteristic of humans is that we look to the behavior of others when making decisions.

You can leverage this in your email subject lines by mentioning individual’s success stories, familiar names, or highlighting how many people are already using a product or service.

8. Story

Telling a story, or at least teasing the beginning of one, in your subject line is a unique way to highlight a benefit and get the open rate you’re looking for.

Ready for the subject lines? As is our tradition, we’ll start with our top 10 best!

(Quick Rules Note: I’ve only included emails that went out to 100,000 or more contacts. By focusing on emails with a large audience, we avoid including subject lines that performed well, not because of their language, but because of the audience that received them. Also, NAME in the subject line means it contained the email recipient’s first name.)

4 Lessons Molly Pittman Learned from Running 1,573 Facebook Ad Campaigns

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate:80%
Analysis: We can see those oddball numbers at work here, with 1,573 Facebook ad campaigns standing out prominently in the inbox. This element also demonstrates a level of authority and mastery on the subject. Lessons from someone testing over 300 ad campaigns a year is certainly going to help most marketers up their game. And with just 4 lessons, the wisdom will be distilled enough that anyone can put it to work!

“Frankly my dear, I don’t Instagram.”

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate:80%
Analysis: Historically, ‘cute’ subject lines haven’t graced these subject line Top 10 lists. But DigitalMarketer has been making a concerted effort to push a more conversational tone in its emails, especially those promoting content. This one strikes a good balance between cleverness and hitting a familiar sentiment for marketers who have been around for a while: what am I supposed to do with Instagram?

ICYMI: Want to be a better copywriter? Open this before midnight.

Content: Mastery Course (Copywriting)
Open Rate:82%
Analysis: Subject line elements like ‘ICYMI’ are particularly effective because they play on people’s FOMO: fear of missing out. This one also cleverly layers in a sense of urgency because there is a time limit that the subject line is working against. Recipients can’t file this one away for later. They must jump on the bandwagon now, or risk being left out.

NAME, Will You Marry Me? 💍

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 15.89%
Analysis: Proposing on the first date is a bad idea, both literally and in the figurative marketing sense. But could you turn down a marriage proposal from Ryan Deiss? I didn’t think so. This subject line combines a strong curiosity component with very effective use of personalization. Recipients opened this one to see if wedding bells were in their future.

🚫 💡 NAME​ – Stop ideating. Start implementing.

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate:22%
Analysis: This subject line leverages 2 key components. First, self-interest. Marketers all know that we need to spend less time in the clouds and more doing the work—this promises a path to that result. Second, curiosity. While you know you need to implement, and this email contains a way to do so, it’s not clear exactly what form that takes. You have to open this one to learn what this system is that can help you be your best self.

[Best of the Blog] 5 Copywriting Elements to Test on Your Landing Page

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate:86%
Analysis: This is a classic bread-and-butter subject line. It effectively calls out its value with the ‘[Best of the Blog]’ tag, and promises clear value with 5 elements readers should test. One of the reasons this made it to the top of the list is copywriting was a relatively new topic for DigitalMarketer to focus on, and it seems for good reason—we had 2 different subject lines about copywriting in the Top 10 this year!

[EMAIL MARKETERS] $95 today, $995 tomorrow

Content: Mastery Course (Email Marketing)
Open Rate:22%
Analysis: This subject line formula is one that has worked well for DigitalMarketer for the last few years. It leverages scarcity by emphasizing the impending price increase. But it frames this scarcity through the lens of self-interest—you can benefit significantly if you act now. Calling out your audience (here, email marketers) in a subject line is a great way to encourage engagement as well.

[Announcing DigitalMarketer Lab+] Digital Marketing University

Content: DigitalMarketer Lab+
Open Rate:40%
Analysis: Leveraging news elements is a powerful way to add authority to your subject lines. This subject line does so by bringing the word “announcing” into play. Its press release lingo adds gravitas to the product announcement, helping differentiate the subject line and the product. Finally, calling the product a “Digital Marketing University” promises a new take on familiar concepts.

[In Case You Missed It] Our best-performing blog post of all time

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate:46%
Analysis: Once again, the ICYMI language drives massive engagement because people do not want to miss out. And this subject line is even more effective than usual because it promises the best DigitalMarketer has to offer (which, incidentally, is promoting this blog post)—no small feat for a site with hundreds of articles. By touting the post’s popularity, the subject line appeals to human’s psychological groupthink. If everyone else is looking at this post, I probably should too!

[NAME’s Last Reminder] Up to 90% off our best-selling products gone in 3…2…1…

Content: Product Catalog Flash Sale
Open Rate:19%
Analysis: This year’s top subject line was a bit of a dark horse – often times subject lines using urgency and scarcity sacrifice open rate in exchange for higher conversion rates. But this year we are reminded of a fundamental truth of email marketing: offer scarcity works. This subject line is particularly effective because a 90% discount is extremely substantial. If you’ve been interested in products in the past but afraid to act, getting 90% off will put them within reach.

While those might be the stars of the show, we aren’t done yet. Here are 91 more subject lines and the elements that helped these win in the inbox:

That’s A LOT of Adult Beverages 🍸 ­– Curiosity
NAME​’s Free Download: 15-Point Landing Page Audit – Offer
The Only 4 Email Marketing Metrics That Matter? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Why This is Still the Best Time to Be a Facebook Marketer – Self-Interest
[INSIDE] The best email marketing course on the market? – Curiosity
T&C Notes? ☑ – Curiosity
If you’re sick of hearing about Facebook, don’t open this newsletter – Curiosity
🚫 Friend Zone 🚫 – Curiosity
ICYMI: [FREE New PDF] 5-Point Paid Ad Audit – Offer
DigitalMarketer’s 505 Swipeable Subject Lines – Offer
How to Write Blog Posts That Sell – Self-Interest
The New Rules of Facebook Advertising – Self-Interest
You’re in our family. Now let’s be friends. – Curiosity | Self-Interest
An Evil Facebook Genius? – Curiosity
NAME​ – Don’t publish another blog post without this… – Curiosity
[Best of the Blog] 4 Persuasive Sales Copywriting Techniques – Self-Interest
[READ] How to fill, nurture, and convert leads (for agencies especially!) – Self-Interest
[READ] How to Create a Video Studio on a Shoestring Budget – Self-Interest
Struggling with paid traffic? Open this email. – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[QUIZ] The highest-converting sales medium of all time is…? – Curiosity
Don’t Be A One-Hit-Wonder on FB…Use The Ad Grid – Self-Interest
[Copy This] Our First EP Dedicated to Copywriting is Now Available – Offer
$7 today, $47 tomorrow – Urgency | Curiosity
[ICYMI] We finally did it…We finally… – Curiosity
[LAUNCH] DigitalMarketer’s FIRST EVER Copywriting Execution Plan – Offer
[INSIDE] Seven fill-in-the-blank blog post templates? – Offer | Curiosity
🔊 [ANNOUNCEMENT] In case you missed it…DigitalMarketer launched a new product – News
[Free PDF] The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing – Offer
🔨 Get the ultimate training tool for your company  – Offer | Curiosity
read this before the clock strikes midnight – Urgency | Curiosity
[NAME’s FINAL REMINDER] Be a member of the “first class” of Lab+ – Urgency
T&C 2018 Notes: Less than 1/10 the price of a ticket? – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Want 7 blog post templates that consistently work? Open this. – Offer
[LISTEN] 3 Facebook Funnels to Drive More High Ticket Leads – Self-Interest
[Preview Inside] Check out the T&C 2018 Notes – Offer
New EP: $7 today, $47 tomorrow? – Urgency | Curiosity
How To Architect The Perfect Conversion Funnel For Your Business – Self-Interest
[INTRODUCING] The 10 Point Indoctrination Email Checklist – Offer
Swipe DigitalMarketer’s Email Welcome Series? – Offer | Curiosity
[Best of the Blog] You Got: OFI – Curiosity
[FREE Hiring Kit] Hire the right Social Media marketer…The first time – Offer
Hold T&C 2018 in the palm of your hand? – Curiosity
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing – Offer
Obvious Observation #2,943 – Curiosity
[Best of the Blog] Best of the Best of the Blog (yes, for real) – Curiosity | Self-Interest
2 Billion leads for $7? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[T&C Notes] This is the Jump-Off Moment – Self-Interest | Curiosity
[EMAIL MARKETERS] We just launched a brand new Execution Plan for you – Offer | Curiosity
The platform that adds 2 new users a second – Curiosity
📢 [ANNOUNCING] The 6-Step Facebook Messenger Bot Builder – Offer
NAME – I have good news and bad news… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[CLOSING] Pre-order for T&C 2018 Notes Closing Tonight – Urgency
NAME’s Download: The Ultimate Email Marketing Metrics Guide 📩 – Offer
[T&C 2018 Notes] Pre-Order before the price jumps – Offer | Urgency
[Best of the Blog] Hoot have thought it would be so easy – Curiosity
Savvy Marketers Don’t Stop at “Search” – Curiosity
Our Step-By-Step Process for Creating a FB Messenger Sequence – Offer
[90% off] If you’re running traffic, you need to see this, NAME – Offer
$3.50 per session = no brainer – Curiosity
[Best of the Blog] The (Marketing) Dream Team – Curiosity
[CLOSING] Messenger Bot Builder Blueprint Launch Closing at MIDNIGHT – Urgency
Build your brand without spending a dime? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
READ: A 3-Step Framework to Generate Content with a Lean Team – Self-Interest
FB Comment-to-Messenger: What you need to know – Self-Interest
[BRAND NEW] Free Social Media Hiring Kit! – Offer
Swipe my plug-and-play email metrics guide? – Offer | Curiosity
6 Updates to Facebook and Instagram – Self-Interest
[LAUNCH] Brand New Facebook Messenger Bot Training with Molly Pittman? – Offer
Netflix for Marketers is now free? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
📕 100 Books Every Marketer Should Read – Self-Interest
NAME, Keep your 👀 on your inbox – Curiosity
Here’s your second chance, NAME – Self-Interest | Curiosity
[Time Sensitive] The best time to stock up on our most valuable products? – Curiosity
“We launched a podcast and so can you!!” – Curiosity | Self-Interest
NAME’s 24 hour notice – Urgency
Are you ready for 2019 yet? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Final Reminder: DigitalMarketer’s proven blueprint for crafting powerful, persuasive, bullet points – Urgency | Offer
[Introducing] Jumpstart Packs from DigitalMarketer – Offer
F-F-F-Fourth of July FLASH SALE – Offer
🔑 3 keys to subconscious selling – Self-Interest
⚡ [FLASH SALE] Community Manager Certification 80% off – Offer | Urgency
👀  The latest mastery course from DigitalMarketer – Offer | Curiosity
CLOSING: Facebook Messenger Bot Training Registration Closing TODAY – Urgency
Registration Available: Molly Pittman’s New Facebook Messenger Training – Offer
NAME – Swipe 37 of our best performing email templates – Offer
Introducing: The DigitalMarketer Podcast (plus a free giveaway?) – News | Self-Interest
The Word of the Day: “Multidisciplinary” – Curiosity
Facebook Messenger Bot Training discount CLOSES tomorrow… – Urgency
[ALERT] Our most popular certification is now 90% OFF – Urgency | Offer
The Content that Built DigitalMarketer’s Community – Curiosity | Self-Interest
🎥 Want my VSL workshop + copy & paste scripts? 📑 – Curiosity | Offer

7 Top-Notch Subject Lines Pulled from the Vault (My Swipe File)

Now that we’ve looked at our best email subject lines of 2018, it’s time to look at the subject lines I’ve swiped from other companies. The senders on this list include businesses working in marketing, financial SaaS products, thought leadership, membership products, and ecommerce. Let’s get started, and work our way to number 1.

(Last Minute) This Ugly Email Funnel Generated $300k

Sender: Market Hero
Analysis: This one feels like a lot of marketing emails I get—there’s a dollar amount and a marketing strategy dangled in front of you. These are staples because they work, nothing wrong there. BUT what really stands out to me here is the clever twist on urgency/scarcity. This email creates the same sensation of a “Last Chance” without relying on that somewhat overused turn of phrase. Finding a unique turn of phrase to revitalize one of our core components is subject line dynamite.

You deserve the best (here’s what that looks like)

Sender: LeaderBox
Analysis: This subject line is great because it hooks your attention with a truth you already know. You deserve the best, of course! Hard to argue with. And it really kicks into high gear when it builds on that idea you’ve already accepted, by offering definition to what is likely a very loosely defined concept. All you have to do to get the best is let the email body define it for you. Self-interest plus curiosity nabs the email open once again.

We’re trading wine for answers. You in?

Sender: Winc
Analysis: Something for nothing is always an intriguing offer. But in a world overloaded with marketing messages, we often filter “too good to be true” messaging out. This subject line gets around that by pitching a real exchange. But email recipients know they’re making out like bandits in this deal, and are only too happy to oblige.

Calling all lazy (smart) business owners

Sender: Social Panda
Analysis: I love this subject line! Not because I’m a lazy business owner, but because of the cognitive dissonance it inspires. The idea that lazy = smart is not one our brains are wired to accept, so in order to resolve this tension, recipients need to open up and read the email.

Why YouTube Stars Are More Influential Than Traditional Celebrities

Sender: Think with Google
Analysis: Think with Google often relies on their “Google” clout rather than inbox creativity. But this is a highly effective subject line that reveals a great formula you can use. Take something new and compare it to something familiar to anchor the concept. Here, Google takes YouTube stars, emerging public figures from their platform, and juxtaposes them with something familiar, traditional celebrities on an axis I care about as a marketer—influence. This helps audiences to engage with new concepts that don’t stop the scroll on their own.

RE: details on your future order

Sender: Torrid
Analysis: A friend shared this one with me, but it quickly made its way to the top of my list. The RE: prefix is always eye-catching in the inbox because it usually accompanies emails from people, not brands. But the real winner here is pairing ‘details’ with the phrase “future order.” A bit cocky, sure. But our brains are always monitoring our outstanding dopamine boosts—I mean, purchases. This leverages that unconscious awareness and likely created a few “present orders.”

Official Notice: Your refund is waiting

Sender: TurboTax Online
Analysis: Talk about leading with benefits! Tax season is no one’s favorite time of the year because the focus is always around obligation and the steady approach of April 15th. But TurboTax flips the script, enticing their email list with the shiny golden ticket at the end. The word “Official” also grants a strong sense of authority to the message.

(NOTE: Tired of your email marketing being mostly guess work? Use this FREE plug and play guide and tracking sheet to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy. Download it here!)

Get your free guide to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy.

Don’t stop there!
Check Out DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2017 (…And a 5-Year Email Subject Line Reflection)

As is our tradition, we’ll start with our top 10 best!

I promise it’s worth it…

Content: Launch a Podcast Execution Plan Flash Sale
Open Rate: 15.41%
Analysis: This is a very blind subject line that basically says, “trust me—click this.” Its success relies completely on the existing relationship between subscriber and sender. Using a line like this only works if there is a certain level of trust, but it certainly paid off here.

4 Critical Questions Every Business Must Answer

Content: Free Video Training
Open Rate: 15.64%
Analysis: Specific, odd numbers in subject lines always stand out. And this one combines that eye-catching trick with a powerful piece of value—focusing questions for any and all business owners. This subject line also intentionally speaks to a broad audience, which helped buoy the open rate.

I have good news and bad news…

Content: Intensive Workshop
Open Rate: 15.73%
Analysis: Another great curiosity-based option, this one works so well because it feels honest and conversational. It plays on a familiar idiom and the willingness to admit the contents are not all sunshine (and curiosity about what earned the qualifier “bad”) is a compelling reason to click.

[VIDEO] Social Media + Ecommerce Tech Stack 

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 16.25%
Analysis: Calling out unique forms of content is a great way to cut through the noise. There are many other examples including [Checklist] and [Poll] that cracked our top 101. This one is also helped by the fact that software and “tech stacks” are a hot button topic for DM subscribers.

🔨 Let’s fix your offer together

Content: Intensive Workshop (Perfect Offer)
Open Rate: 16.66%
Analysis: Getting customized or hands-on assistance is powerful when you know the expert, so this kind of email works well when there’s a “voice” behind your emails. Additionally, the implication that your offer may need some work will resonate with the perfect audience for this offer—it’s a great example of qualifying a prospect with the subject line.

Hiring a content marketer? Use this guide…

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 17.09%
Analysis: This is another great qualifying subject line and makes a strong offer. It’s a great example of how effective copywriting is even with just the bare essentials—there’s a clear pain point (hiring) and the answer you need (the guide) squeezed in just seven words. Hemingway, eat your heart out.

⚠️ Your private invitation expires tomorrow night

Content: Intensive Workshop (PSS)
Open Rate: 17.31%
Analysis: This subject line uses second person language (“your”) to really build curiosity about the invitation. Coupling that with the urgency of an impending expiration, you’ve got a recipe for a click. The subject line feels personal, exclusive, and urgent all at once.

Sales ⬆, Refunds ⬇, Retention ⬆

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 17.47%
Analysis: Leveraging emojis and symbols in your subject line always gives you a bump in open rates and this one triples down on them. The pattern and repetition are very eye-catching in the inbox and clearly communicate value without needing to give a hint to the topic.

Google Display Network (Your one page cheat sheet)

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 18.77%
Analysis: There’s a clear offer here – the one-page cheat sheet – and a more indirect one as well: the simplification of a very complex and powerful traffic platform. This subject line makes a daunting topic feel digestible, and the promise of finding more traffic is always a winning hook.

T&C 2017 in Bora Bora?

Content: T&C Livestream
Open Rate: 19.51%
Analysis: A classic DigitalMarketer headline if there ever was one. This combines elements of curiosity and self-interest with an attention-getting destination that’s sure to pique curiosity. The pattern interrupt of a relocated T&C always jumps out and the natural repetition in Bora Bora’s name does the open rate a favor as well.

Not enough subject lines for you?

Good news! We’ve also got the next 90 best performers and a breakdown of the elements that helped them win:

Convince your boss to send you to T&C! – Self-Interest
T&C Closing TOMORROW @ Midnight! – Scarcity
Copy our 7 best Facebook ads of 2016 – Self-Interest
Start using this new Facebook ad type – Self-Interest | Curiosity
[Flash Sale] 85% off our Podcast Launch Plan – Offer
What happens when you’re approved? – Curiosity
Your Content Campaign Planner (Google doc) – Offer
[EMAIL TEMPLATE] Fix your company’s biggest marketing issue – Offer | Self-Interest
#TCS2017: Day 1 Highlights – News
[In Case You Missed It] Hire The Right Content Marketer… – Self-Interest
[LAST CHANCE] 85% off sale ends today! – Scarcity
[CHECKLIST] Get up to 20% better email deliverability ✔ – Offer
🔥 New Facebook Group features – this is BIG – News | Curiosity
The Best of Traffic & Conversion Summit 2017 – Self-Interest
Livestream for T&C this year? – Curiosity
Tomorrow’s the day… – Curiosity
#TCS2017: Day 2 Highlights – News
Swipe these 5 killer traffic campaigns – Offer | Self-Interest
The 30-Second Sales Pitch – Curiosity
Massive changes coming to DM – Story | Curiosity
[Infographic] How to have the ultimate #TCS2017 experience – Self-Interest
Is this you? – Curiosity
Open up for our best content – Self-Interest
Facebook + Pinterest + Video = More Closed Sales – Self-Interest
You’re Invited – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Paid traffic not converting? Download this… – Curiosity | Offer
Here’s the REAL reason Amazon is buying Whole Foods – News | Story
I knew I was right… – Story | Curiosity
⏰ FINAL NOTICE: “Perfect Offer Mini-Class” – Scarcity
Russ surprised me with 18 more sessions – Humanity | Story
Digital Marketing Mastery is open! – Offer
Brand NEW (and free) Training: 3 Steps To a Perfect Offer – Offer
How we got 1,329,572 “earballs” in 20 months – Story | Curiosity
This, friends, is how you sell with email… – Story | Social Proof
Class closes down tonight… – Scarcity
Important message (about tomorrow’s big announcement) – Curiosity
$7 today, $47 tomorrow – Scarcity | Curiosity
The 30-Second Sales Pitch – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Blog posts that sell (a complete guide) – Self-Interest
The guy who made $1,015,209 in one day… on Amazon – Story | Curiosity
🔨 Let’s build the perfect FB ad campaign, together (for free)! – Self-Interest
🎁 Claim your free heat map! – Offer
The highest-level training we offer – Curiosity
T&C 2017 closing soon? – Scarcity | Curiosity
Re: Frequently Asked Question #1 – Curiosity
[Subscriber] Are you familiar with T&C? – Curiosity
🚀 Your perfect product launch for $7 – Offer
Landing Page Not Converting? Try This! – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Join me today at 3pm – Humanity
Ask me anything? – Humanity | Curiosity
LAST CALL FOR T&C TICKETS (hours left) – Scarcity
[85% Off] 3 Proven Facebook Campaigns to Run Today… – Offer
Join me in congratulating… – Humanity | Curiosity
For advanced marketers only! – Self-Interest | Curiosity
The BIG shift that’s happening right now (and what it means for you) – News | Self-Interest
T&C Tickets almost GONE! – Scarcity
[POLL] Can you answer this? – Curiosity
⚡️ [FLASH SALE] My 11-step business launch plan (and templates) – Offer
T&C 2017 Agenda – Self-Interest
Finally monetize your email list… – Self-Interest
Earn your (super-rare) “CDMP Designation” – Self-Interest
Announcing the 2nd Annual Content & Commerce Summit – News
[Subscriber] Exclusive T&C offer ending TOMORROW – Scarcity | Offer
[Free PDF Download] Claim our Social Media Swipe File – Offer
T&C in the comfort of your home… – Curiosity
BONUS MODULE ADDED: How to scale with Google & YouTube – Self-Interest
Marketing professionals wanted! – Self-Interest
Does your landing page suck?… or is it ‘perfect’? 😊 – Curiosity
⏰ LAST CHANCE: T&C closes tonight – Scarcity
Your 2018 Business Growth Plan – Offer | Curiosity
Do NOT launch your product or service without this… – Curiosity
Who’s speaking at T&C? – News | Curiosity
[CASE STUDY] 30 minutes of work -> 82,613 pageviews – Self-Interest | Story
WIN a day with Ryan Deiss & Molly Pittman! – Humanity | Self-Interest
Meet me in LA, NAME? – Humanity | Curiosity
The little Facebook tweak that halved lead cost – Curiosity | Story
Does your ad type match your offer? – Self-Interest
❄ Turn ice cold prospects into buyers 🔥 – Self-Interest
Exciting announcement (and special invitation)* – Curiosity | Self-Interest
How he built a $20M ecommerce brand – Story | Curiosity
🎯 Facebook Targeting Expansion: The Test (and the results…) – Self-Interest
At DigitalMarketer, we LOVE agencies… – Humanity | Curiosity
[ANNOUNCEMENT] C&C 2017 lineup revealed… – News
A new DigitalMarketer event… – Curiosity
Free Online Training: OMG’s 90-Day System – Offer
Surveys are not the answer… – Curiosity
Facebook’s newest feature: setup, strategy, examples – News | Self-Interest
NAME, meet Justin. – Humanity
[New Blog Post] Use FB Messenger to grow your business – Self-Interest
Email list building: Why you’re stuck – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Are you using Facebook’s powerful new advertising feature? – Curiosity | News

Download our best email subject lines of 2017!

Don’t stop there!
Check Out DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2016 (…And 5 Free Tools You Can Use to Amplify Your Email Marketing!)

We’ll start with our ten best email subject lines of 2016…

How “Ryan Deiss” became “DigitalMarketer”

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 14.61%
Analysis: This subject line appeals to people’s human nature. It promises a compelling narrative, DigitalMarketer’s origin story, and reminds readers that a person started this company, emphasizing a human connection.

Don’t buy this from Amazon!

Content: Invisible Selling Machine
Open Rate: 14.64%
Analysis: This is an old standby, and has worked time and time again. It’s a perfect example of what successful curiosity-based subject should do—generate an emotional reaction without giving away the email’s purpose.

[DOWNLOAD] 15-Point Landing Page Audit

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 14.97%
Analysis: This kind of subject line (and email) is the very definition of value-first content. A free download that is intended to give audiences the opportunity to self-identify as interested in this topic.

I called. You didn’t answer.

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 15.05%
Analysis: Just reading this subject line makes me feel a little guilty! While it doesn’t take something away, it creates a sense of urgency similar to an expiring offer. And of course, using “I” in a subject line is a great way to humanize email copy.

[DECLASSIFIED] DM’s 2016 Planning Meeting

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 15.44%
Analysis: What’s your reaction when someone lets you in on a secret? For most people, it’s to lean in a bit and give them your ear. This subject line takes a traditional (but great) blog post and gives it a bit of mystique.

Announcing: The 7th Annual Black Friday Bootcamp

Content: Black Friday Bootcamp
Open Rate: 15.71%
Analysis: This subject line needs no frills and no complex hooks; it relies on people’s familiarity with our annual Black Friday Bootcamp workshop. When leveraging the familiar, a direct, clear offer works wonders.

13 billion emails analyzed [Infographic]

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 15.79%
Analysis: This subject line uses a classic technique, featuring an odd number that stands out to readers in an inbox. And highlighting the content type, an infographic, assures readers that this massive amount of information will be easily digestible.

Steal these email templates…

Content: The Machine
Open Rate: 16.16%
Analysis: Making a direct offer, “download this,” “grab this,” is a strong hook for any email. And this subject line does a great job of amplifying what’s already working with more surprising language.

5-Point Paid Ad Audit

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 16.25%
Analysis: This is a great subject line to appeal to intermediate and advanced marketers, which comprises most of DigitalMarketer’s list. It’s a direct offer and one that speaks to people who are knee-deep, and trying to make the most of their efforts.

Your new favorite marketing tool…

Content: Blog Post
Open Rate: 16.57%
Analysis: This subject line touches on a broad interest for the audience, marketing tools, and promises positive change. Finding new software or strategies means faster, better processes, which marketers are always looking for.

Those may be the cream of the crop, but with nearly 107,442,263 emails sent in 2016, we saw a few other good ones, too.

Here are the next 90 subject lines that had the highest open rates and a breakdown of the elements that compose them:

Facebook’s New Pixel: What You Need to Know – News | Self-Interest
G + L + F = 2X Your Sales – Curiosity | Self-Interest
I’m in this new book… – Humanity | Curiosity
Google Compliant Landing Page Checklist [Download] – Offer
28 ways to increase organic social traffic – Self-Interest
Yep, that just happened… – Curiosity
BRAND-NEW certification released today… – Curiosity
These 6 skills will pay the bills… – Self-Interest | Curiosity
[BLOG] How an unknown podcaster generated 100,525 organic downloads in 80 days – Story | Self-Interest
Did you get your book yet? – Curiosity
She sold 122 subscriptions for $97 each. Here’s how… – Story | Self-Interest
New for 2017: 2 ways to master marketing… – Self-Interest | Curiosity
15 killer content marketing tools – Offer | Self-Interest
[Download] Customer Avatar Worksheet – Offer
10-week live training and certification – Offer
What do Google, YouTube, Amazon and Pinterest have in common? – Curiosity
All Execution Plans 75% off! – Offer | Self-Interest
Is “ISBO” the future of search marketing? – Curiosity
Ultimate Guide to Facebook Video Ads [2nd Edition] – Self-Interest
Facebook Ad Targeting (The Complete Guide, 2nd Edition) – Self-Interest
ANNOUNCING Recommended Agendas and “learning tracks” – News
The Complete Guide to Google Tag Manager [Part 2] – Self-Interest
Better than T&C? – Curiosity
Become a Certified Digital Marketing Professional – Self-Interest
Your Content Campaign Planner (Google doc) – Offer
Ryan Deiss #TCS2016 Keynote: What you need to know – News | Self-Interest
Happy Birthday to… …DigitalMarketer! – Humanity | Story
How to generate FREE, organic traffic! – Self-Interest | Curiosity
⏰  Are you In or Out? – Urgency/Scarcity | Curiosity
Great News — new T&C tickets released! – Self-Interest
Bad news…closing down – Urgency/Scarcity | Curiosity
[DOWNLOAD] 8-Point Lead Magnet Success Checklist – Offer
Why “Yes” Kills and “No” Can Make You Rich [part 3 of 3] – Story | Curiosity
⚡️ [FLASH SALE] Our Facebook ad plan (and best templates)… – Offer | Self-Interest
Huge Announcement: Brand new event… – News | Curiosity
3 proven Facebook campaigns to run today… – Self-Interest | Offer
T&C 2016 in Tahiti? – Curiosity
[RANT] Why I HATE Business Cards! – Story | Humanity
Lethal Combo: AdWords Remarketing + Google Analytics – Self-Interest
Reach your audience… without their contact information. – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Open up for our best content – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Secret FB campaign gets 23,247 leads in 30 days… – Self-Interest
Case Study: 7-figure eCommerce Funnel – Social Proof
49 Split Tests that (Almost) Always Win – Self-Interest
Our Paid Traffic Playlist – Curiosity | Offer
Meet me in San Diego? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[Flash Sale] A 7-Step ”Paint By Numbers” Process for FB Campaigns – Offer
Forget GroupOn — this stuff works! [Case Study] – Curiosity
Swipe our eCommerce Email Marketing Roadmap – Offer
[Case Study] $25,865/mo in recurring revenue – Social Proof | Story
Are you a victim of manipulated data? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
The power of empty pockets – Story | Curiosity
New business model — this is the future of business… – Self-Interest | Curiosity
[Last Call] For the Ultimate Email Marketing Game-Plan (PDF) – Urgency/Scarcity | Offer
[Save $500] Become a Search Marketing Specialist – Self-Interest
Watch T&C in your underwear… – Curiosity
✈ Meet me in Orlando – Self-Interest | Curiosity
⚡️ [FLASH SALE] My 6-Step Market Research Plan (and workbook) – Offer | Self-Interest
[DOWNLOAD] 10-Point Blog Post Audit – Offer
Finally, track social media ROI – Self-Interest
Community Manager vs. Social Media Manager: Which is right for you? – Self-Interest
[SWIPE] This email got 6X open rate… – Offer | Curiosity
Stand out in your customer’s inbox – Self-Interest
Pokemon GO: 3 Marketing Mistakes, Millions of Users Lost! – News | Curiosity
[Free Gift] Our Facebook ad targeting checklist… – Offer
3 wicked AdWords tactics to increase your ROI – Self-Interest
This is what’s truly essential… [part 2 of 3] – Curiosity | Story
$4 Million in Ad Spend (Here’s what works) – Self-Interest
Measure ROI by traffic source – Self-Interest
📢  HUGE Announcement (another big change at DM) – News
Marketing Showdown: Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders – News | Curiosity
[Case Study] Local Facebook Advertising – Self-Interest
Does anyone even WANT what you’re selling? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[Last Chance] 75 percent off all our Execution Plans ends TOMORROW! – Urgency/Scarcity
Turn your assistant into a marketing rockstar – Self-Interest | Curiosity
The Ad Grid: 20X your success rate – Self-Interest
Aducational Video + Remarketing – Curiosity
Lowest price on T&C – Self-Interest
ANNOUNCING: Marketing Mastery Class – News
There is still time… – Urgency/Scarcity | Curiosity
T&C hotel almost SOLD OUT! – Urgency/Scarcity
A tested and proven framework… – Self-Interest | Curiosity
✔ [Checklist] Your Split Testing Guide – Offer
[TODAY] Our Facebook ad targeting plan (3 pm Eastern) – Urgency/Scarcity | Offer
CLOSING down soon! (Don’t get locked out) – Urgency/Scarcity | Curiosity
Why I (kinda) HATE surveys… – Humanity
$7 today, $47 tomorrow – Self-Interest | Urgency/Scarcity
How an electronic retailer surged their revenue by 60% – Story | Self-Interest
New DigitalMarketer event for Bloggers! – News
[ICYMI] Everything you need to know about Facebook’s new pixel – Self-Interest | News

5 Free Tools You Can Use to Amplify Your Email Marketing

And now that we’ve looked at our best email subject lines of 2016, I want to hand you a several free resources you can use to improve email open rates, click-through rates, and even deliverability rates!

1. A/B Significance Tester

Split testing is one of the best ways to figure out not just what works in email marketing, but what works for your audience. You could read a dozen articles on email tips and tricks but at the end of the day, what you need to know is what the subscribers who have opted in for your materials are interested in.

Unfortunately, when dealing with split testing large audiences, it’s sometimes hard to get a sense of what actually worked. That’s why it’s so important to see if your results are statistically significant—basically, how likely is it that if you ran the test again, you’d get the same results.

I’ve used this free resource from Kissmetrics for more than two years because it’s simple, free, and easy to use to get a read of whether or not your split test results matter.

2. Bulletproof Email Buttons

Responsive buttons are a great way to make the CTAs in your email copy stand out.

In fact, in last year’s subject line roundup, I talked about how DigitalMarketer saw some amazing results from buttons in emails—a 38% higher earning per click for emails with buttons.

But if you aren’t a coder, you’ll need some other resource to help simplify creating these—otherwise, you run the risk of screwing up your email templates or breaking your links.

Luckily, Campaign Monitor has an awesome free solution for creating buttons of all shapes, sizes, and colors. With this tool, creating a button is easy and doesn’t require any special knowledge of CSS or HTML.

A pro tip for slightly more advanced users: you can easily increase the font size as well by changing the value for “font-size” from 13 pixels to whatever your heart (or email template) desires.

3. GifRocket

This one’s for Mac users only, but boy is it a doozy. If you’ve ever seen an email with a “video” in it, most likely it was actually an email leveraging GIFs. GIFs are graphics that store and show a series of images, creating an experience similar to a short video.

For most people, making GIFs requires finding a graphic artist or hiring out the task on Fiverr or TaskRabbit, a slow and often painful process.

But with GifRocket, anyone with a Mac and a video can create their very own GIFs. Here’s an example (which took under 2 minutes to film and gif-ify):

GIF John made using GiftRocket

Combining this software with your smartphone camera can create some magical moments, no technical skill required. All you need is a dash of imagination!

4. Headline Analyzer

If you just can’t quite decide if a subject line you wrote is good enough, maybe you need to test it out “in the lab.”

CoSchedule created a free tool that helps you evaluate the efficacy of your headlines. All you need to do is post your headline in their analyzer and they will give you a score for how well you did, and how likely the headline is to get your audience clicking.

The program identifies what kinds of words are used and how effective they are at evoking an emotional response, or how eye-catching and “powerful” they are.

Feel free to take their advice with a grain of salt—I tend to find them overly critical of short subject lines which have been shown to work well. But it’s a great resource if you’re looking for a second opinion.

5. Sender Score

This one’s a bit technical but is a must-use resource for anyone wanting to make the most of their email marketing.

Do you feel like your emails don’t make it to the inbox as often as they should?

The IP you use to send emails may have a bad reputation, literally.

With Sender Score, you can see the sender reputation that your emails have, and figure out what mailbox providers like Google think of your mails. This free tool from ReturnPath is a great way to keep an eye on the more technical elements of your email marketing. After all, with

After all, with poor delivery, even the best subject line isn’t going to get many opens. So go sign up for a free account and remember to keep an eye on your score.

Swipe out best email subject lines of 2016

Don’t stop there!
Read on to Learn DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2015 (…And Our 3 Best Email Split Tests!)

First, here are our ten best emails subject lines of 2015…

10. Seriously, get this book.

Content: The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth (James Altucher’s book)
Open Rate: 16.91%
Analysis: This subject line is pretty direct—seriously means no fooling around. But the blind reference to an as-yet unidentified book demands the recipient take a look inside and see if it’s a good fit for their library shelf.

9. I’m pulling the plug…

Content: Blog Post
Open: 17.13%
Analysis: This subject line uses negative language to great effect. What does “pulling the plug” mean for DigitalMarketer subscribers? Is this bad news (or as it turned out, great news)? Only by clicking through can you find out.

8. 7 split testing mistakes

Content: Blog Post
Open: 17.34%
Analysis: Do you like making mistakes? Neither do we (though it happens). So when someone promises to show you pitfalls to avoid before it’s too late, no one wants to miss the opportunity to do so.

7. How HostGator does retargeting

Content: Blog Post
Open: 17.40%
Analysis: This subject is simple and to the point, with a clear value proposition (learn how to leverage their retargeting strategy). The social proof of leveraging a well-known brand helps validate the information contained within the email.

6. TRAFFIC (on a “shoestring” budget)

Content: Blog Post
Open: 17.79%
Analysis: All caps can be pretty polarizing—no one likes to be yelled at digitally. But when you pick a word business owners love, the results are more positive. And offering a cost-friendly solution to a problem never hurts.

5. 11 sneaky email tricks

Content: Blog Post
Open: 17.83%
Analysis: This subject line uses a number that stands out (11) and a compelling adjective (sneaky) to hook the audience. And everyone loves simple to implement strategies, as implied by words like “trick,” “hack,” or “shortcut.”

4. Facebook Ads (Your first 3 steps)

Content: Perpetual Traffic Episode
Open: 17.87%
Analysis: If you’ve wanted to try something new, like Facebook ads, one of the biggest barriers to entry is not knowing where to start. This subject is clear, direct, and helps people who aren’t sure if they’ll be able to use the information.

3. The YouTube Gold Mine

Content: Blog Post
Open: 17.90%
Analysis: Have you ever discovered a gold mine? Probably not, but it sure would be nice to do so. This subject line combines a high-value proposition with intriguing but vague details. Open up!

2. Thank You!

Content: $1 Trial Offer
Open: 17.99%
Analysis: This is a subject line that works so well we sneak it into our mails every year and it never fails to disappoint. People love recognition, and acknowledgment of what they’ve done (if you swipe just one subject line, make it this one).

1. 23 bizarre products selling online

Content: Blog Post
Open: 18.71%
Analysis: This was one of our experiments for 2015, seeing how some lighter, less actionable content would fare, and the fact that subject line took our top slot shows that this strategy works. This subject promises a fun twist on studying just how crazy ecommerce can be. And lists with odd numbers always catch the eye.

Those may be the cream of the crop, but with 134 million emails out the door, we saw a few other good ones, too.

Here are the next 90 subject lines that had the highest open rates and a breakdown of the elements that compose them:

Think like a Facebook ad pro… – Self-Interest | Curiosity
29 Landing Page Reviews (Plus…) – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Get your Facebook advertising plan – Offer
How to Build an Unstoppable Business (2nd Edition) – Story
The 3-step Content Marketing plan – Self-Interest
[SWIPE] 10 Best Customer Survey Questions – Offer
This is embarrassing but… – Curiosity
Facebook Ad Case Study [listen to Part 3] – Self-Interest
… this failed miserably – Humanity | Curiosity
How to get paid [Literally] – Self-Interest
Still doing it the old way? – Curiosity
Sales ⬆︎, Refunds ⬇︎, Retention ⬆︎ – Self-Interest | Curiosity
How Emily Faith got 76,974 YouTube views in 10 days… – Story
Facebook Video Ads | The Ultimate Guide – Offer | Self-Interest
Avoiding the “Facebook ban hammer” – News | Curiosity
How to sell tickets to live events – Self-Interest
Don’t buy this from Amazon! – Curiosity
Finally! Facebook releases… – Curiosity | News
Split Test This, Not That – Self-Interest
My Gift to you… – Curiosity | Offer
New tool changes webinars forever… – News
The PERFECT traffic platform? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
I’m closing it down! – Urgency/Scarcity
Join me in congratulating… – Story | Curiosity
Inverted Web Analytics? – Curiosity
The ideal length of everything online – Curiosity
The PERFECT Facebook Ad – Self-Interest | Curiosity
BIG news from YouTube – News | Curiosity
This critique gets uncomfortable at times – Curiosity
[Leads] Scaling from 50 to 5,000+ – Self-Interest
Rice, gasoline and website traffic? – Curiosity
The AdWords Remarketing “Easy Button” – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Private Invite – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Big Celebrity Announcement – News
[SWIPE] Our best email copy – Offer
Answers to the Facebook Pixel Madness – Self-Interest
2 killer blog post templates – Offer | Curiosity
WANTED: Professional Content Marketers – Curiosity
Read this before clicking “Send” – Self-Interest
Can’t Buy FB Traffic? – Curiosity
This has nothing to do with marketing… – Curiosity
Meet me at ICON (and save $300)… – Offer
[TEMPLATE] Cold email anyone and get a response – Offer
[Podcast] Frank Kern on Paid Traffic – Story
Traffic for the eCommerce biz – Self-Interest
“I just want the recordings…” – Curiosity
Twitter Traffic (In an hour a day) – Self-Interest
Paid traffic not converting? Download this… – Offer
MAJOR announcement! (big changes at DM) – News | Curiosity
Become a “Customer Acquisition Specialist” – Self-Interest
3 proven FB campaigns to run today… – Offer
2 BRAND-NEW certifications launched today – News | Curiosity
Start with this funnel – Self-Interest
I was wrong… – Humanity
Use THIS to become an Authority (in ANY market)… – Self-Interest | Offer
$100 or $100.00? (It makes a difference) – Curiosity
Blog posts that sell (A complete guide) – Offer
I LOVE this little tool! – Curiosity
T&C 2016 closing soon? – Urgency/Scarcity
Limited-time open enrollment… – Curiosity
①⓪① ways to boost email open rates – Self-Interest
New DigitalMarketer Training Center – News | Curiosity
Conversion vs. Content – Curiosity
21 landing page mistakes – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Facebook’s New Lead Ads (What you need to know) – News | Self-Interest
Copy and paste these 72 headlines [Last Chance] – Offer
How to hire a content marketer – Self-Interest
Get your first 1,000 blog subscribers – Self-Interest
Stop writing NEW blog posts. Here’s why… – Curiosity
[TEST RESULTS] 2,689 leads from “On Site Retargeting” – Self-Interest | Curiosity
A visit to Facebook (Here’s what we learned) – Story | Curiosity
My 2016 business plan… – Offer | Curiosity
5,219% ROI from new traffic source – Self-Interest | Curiosity
The Remarketing Grid – Curiosity
[Case Study] Numbers don’t lie – Story | Curiosity
Score your landing page – Self-Interest
Create the perfect marketing calendar – Offer
Reach 6,372,857 people with zero ad spend – Self-Interest | Curiosity
A 15.2% lift (but we were shocked) – Curiosity
My favorite automation tools – Self-Interest
A very direct (and some might even say, “RUDE”) email – Curiosity
[CASE STUDY] AZ shoe store 20X’d sales by sending what? – Story | Social Proof
Download This Social Media Swipe File (PDF) – Offer
Turn ice cold prospects into buyers – Self-Interest | Curiosity
My favorite business model – Curiosity
The Ultimate Course on Paid Traffic – Self-Interest | Offer
My new book! (and a big mistake) – Story | Humanity
Double sales (Get the formula) – Self-Interest
Dirt cheap Facebook leads – Self-Interest
⬆︎ Social media traffic (Your 6-step plan) – Self-Interest

Now it’s your turn—   Post in DM Engage or tweet us with #101!

(NOTE: Tired of your email marketing being mostly guess work? Use this FREE plug and play guide and tracking sheet to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy. Download it here!)

Get your free guide to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy.

Should You Test That?

Now that you have our best subject lines of the year, you should be ready to up your own game and start sending some emails.

We’re going to give you just a little bit more information to help you get an extra bump…

Here are our three top performing email split tests of 2015.

1. Highlighting a Pain in the Subject Line

Open rate can lie about performance.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look at the metric because you definitely should. It’s one of your top four email metrics to watch, along with click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, and earnings per click (EPC).

But here’s a great split test that shows why you can judge a campaign by a single metric.

We ran this subject line split test in March of this year. These were the two subject lines.

The two email subject lines we split tested

The “Little _______ = big sales [QUIZ]” beat out the other one, but the results weren’t significant. So at first glance, the test was a wash. However, on closer examination, the subject line “This is why your prospects aren’t buying” actually had more clicks.

A LOT more.

We saw a statistically significant lift of 18% in click-throughs for the second subject line. The reason? The other headline pre-qualified openers by highlighting a pain they were feeling in their business.

That’s one of the risks with curiosity headlines—they drive more opens but people don’t know what they are getting into when they open. So for more complex or expensive offers, direct and pain-based subject lines can produce better results. Don’t overdo it on the doom and gloom though; a little bit of negativity goes a long way and too much can turn subscribers off your emails.

2. Use CSS Buttons in Your Email

Setting yourself up for mobile wins has never been more important, as more and more people are using their mobile devices to read email, browse the web and make purchases.

Because of this trend, we decided to experiment with CSS buttons during our Black Friday promotion. We tested emails using buttons for the CTA against emails using just text hyperlinks, which had been our standard practice.

Here’s a glance at what each one looked like:

DigitalMarketer email with a CTA button within the body

DigitalMarketer email WITHOUT a CTA button within the body

We figured the button would win, but we had no idea how incredible the results would be. The email with buttons had a 22% higher click through rate, no small feat and definitely a sign that this test was a winner.

But that’s not the mind-blowing part of the results.

We also compared the performance and found that the earnings per click, the amount of money we made for every person who clicked through the email, was 38% higher for the email with CSS buttons.

3. Use Unicode Symbols to Highlight Emails

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again–using Unicode symbols in your subject line is a great way to generate a bump in opens.

These symbols are the little pictures that show up in your inbox, including ☼, ★, ☂, and ①. Since Unicode symbols are coded in computer systems like alphabet characters and numbers, they can be displayed on multiple browsers and devices.

Across all kinds of topics and subject lines, we’ve found that Unicode symbols produce a consistent 8% bump in email opens. So these can be a great way to squeeze everything you can out of a big promotion or help push visitors to a particularly strong blog post.

An email with unicode symbols within the subject line

You can grab a swipe file of some of the best Unicode symbols here.

Swipe our best email subject lines of 2015

Don’t stop there!
Check Out Our 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2014 (…And Our 10 Worst!)

We start with our top ten email subject lines for 2014…

10. [WEEKEND ONLY] Get this NOW before it’s gone…

Product: AuthorityROI
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 9.49%
Analysis: This is a great example of a flash sale subject line. It combines the urgency of limited availability with an element of mystery. Keep in mind that these work best in very small doses.

9. The Facebook Slap is coming…

Product: Twitter Ads EP
Product Type: Execution Plan
Open Rate: 9.51%
Analysis: Personally, just rereading this subject line has me digging through my email archives. It combines the curiosity and news elements, and speaks to a penalty the entire digital marketing industry will want to avoid.

8. Steal these email templates…

Product: Email Templates
Product Type: The Machine
Open Rate: 9.53%
Analysis: This one is simple and direct, and makes a clear offer. The phrase “templates” works particularly well with Digital Marketer’s email list.

7. Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight…

Product: AuthorityROI
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 9.64%
Analysis: Are you willing to wave goodbye to 7 figures? Most people aren’t—this is another great example of curiosity and urgency working in tandem to raise that open rate!

6. Is this the hottest career in marketing?

Product: eCommerce EP
Product Type: Execution Plan
Open Rate: 9.77%
Analysis: This one is all about curiosity. Using questions in your subject line is a great way to open a loop that your audience will want to close by checking out the email’s contents.

5. A Native Ad in 60 Minutes or Less

Product: Blog Post
Product Type: Lead Magnet
Open Rate: 9.78%
Analysis: Quantifying how long it will take a subscriber to realize some benefit in the subject line is great—it feels manageable and promises results, making even inactive members of your list curious. This offer feels bite-sized and achievable.

4. 212 blog post ideas

Product: Blog Post
Product Type: Lead Magnet
Open Rate: 9.94%
Analysis: Another great offer example—it communicates the email’s value in just four words.

3. Check out my new “man cave” [PICS]

Product: eCommerce EP
Product Type: Execution Plan
Open Rate: 10.24%
Analysis: This is a fun blend of curiosity and humanity—it directly addresses some value Ryan got, a sweet new “man cave,” in the subject. Not only does this spark interest, but it reminds readers about the human connection that brought them to DM in the first place.

2. [URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to watch this…

Product: AuthorityROI
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 10.79%
Analysis: Once again, curiosity and urgency team up to create a compelling subject line. If you are careful about using these sparingly, you’ll find that they just work.

1. How (and why) to calculate Average Customer Value

Product: Blog
Product Type: Blog Post
Open Rate: 10.91%
Analysis: Our number one email subject line, this blends all of the good stuff. It gives you a metric that can improve you business, inspires curiosity about why this number matters, and offers to help you figure out how to calculate it.

(NOTE: Tired of your email marketing being mostly guess work? Use this FREE plug and play guide and tracking sheet to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy. Download it here!)

Get your free guide to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy.

Here are the next 90 emails with the highest engagement and what elements they used:

[FINAL CHANCE] 7-figure blueprint gone tonight… – Curiosity | Urgency
How to write a promotional email – Self-Interest
Steal our best subject lines – Offer | Self-Interest
Weird traffic test… – Curiosity
How to craft a guarantee that sells – Self-Interest | Story
[SECOND CHANCE] This weekend only… – Curiosity | Urgency
The Machine is coming… – Curiosity
It’s landing page magic… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[NEW POST] How To Build an Email Marketing Machine – Self-Interest | Story
THIS disappears at midnight! – Curiosity | Urgency
A simple sales copy formula – Self-Interest
Gold In Your Mailbox – Curiosity
[RESULTS] My Facebook Case Study – Curiosity | Story
This is working on Facebook right now – Self-Interest | Story
Two Words: Cheap Traffic! – Curiosity | Self-Interest
[FLASH SALE] 51% off sale ends tonight… – Curiosity | Urgency
I made you a video… – Curiosity
How to write bullets that sell… – Self-Interest
Facebook is cracking down… HARD! – Curiosity | News
Thank You! – Humanity
[Case Study] Copy & paste this $10 million business… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Swipe my Email Game-Plan (PDF) – Offer | Self-Interest
[FREE PDF] Ultimate Email Marketing Game-Plan – Offer | Self-Interest
The 10-Minute Bloggers Editorial Plan – Self-Interest
What are you doing this weekend? – Curiosity
212 Blog Post Ideas (PDF) – Offer | Self-Interest
Is email marketing dead? – Curiosity
C’mon – everybody’s waiting for you… – Curiosity | Urgency
I LOVE this amazing little tool! – Curiosity | Self-Interest
3-Part Followup Series [Download] – Curiosity | Offer
A quick YouTube hack – Self-Interest
Find writers for your blog – Self-Interest
Facebook Ad Targeting Options [A Complete Guide] – Offer | Self-Interest
[NEW FORMULA] Cheap, Targeted Facebook Traffic – Self-Interest
4 emails with stellar click-through rates – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Step up your video marketing game – Self-Interest
Want to look at our email stats? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Native Ad Hacks? – Curiosity
198% ROI on Twitter Ads – Self-Interest | Story
[URGENT] About today’s traffic training… – Urgency
Do NOT sell on Amazon without this $10 tool… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
How to Stop Ho-Hum Marketing – Curiosity
Would You Do THIS For Money? – Curiosity
2 huge mobile marketing opportunities – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Twitter is the new… Facebook?! – Curiosity | News
[PART 2] See how I got $0.10 email optins… – Self-Interest | Story
My business model… on a napkin? – Curiosity | Story
We beat up this landing page – Curiosity
[Gone Sunday] Your traffic training replay is available… – Urgency
Don’t make these 7 AdWords mistakes – Self-Interest | Curiosity
My Gift to you… – Offer | Curiosity
Zero to 30K Page Views in 11 Weeks… – Story | Self-Interest
This sucks, you lose… – Curiosity
Should you follow your passion? – Curiosity | Story
Low Conversion Rate? Fix These 6 Elements. – Self-Interest | Story
Are you missing one of these FIVE steps? – Curiosity
Copy and paste these 72 headlines [Last Chance] – Offer | Self-Interest
How to craft a winning 3-part followup series – Self-Interest
32 split testing ideas – Self-Interest
Less _______ = More Sales [SURVEY] – Curiosity
[Template] Create engaging Facebook images – Offer | Self-Interest
No blog comments? – Curiosity
Download this Social Media Swipe File (PDF) – Offer | Self-Interest
Presenting: “Funnel 2.0” – Curiosity
321% higher conversions using THIS… – Curiosity | Story
This guy makes 6 figures per month? – Social Proof | Curiosity
Amazon app cherry-picks hottest products for you… – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Unlimited penny traffic… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
My Twitter Ads Cheat Sheet – Self-Interest
Still haven’t launched your funnel? – Curiosity
Our top Facebook ad campaigns – Curiosity
“Borrow” all my checklists… – Offer | Curiosity
SEO is dying (a slow and painful death)… – News | Curiosity
☠This is rated aaarrrgh! (details inside) – Curiosity
Does your marketing smell funny? – Curiosity
Do you HATE money? – Curiosity
(time sensitive) Last night’s Funnel training… – Urgency
[Case Study] $188,674 from a dead list – Social Proof | Self-Interest
[ONLY $7] My “cheap traffic” plan – Self-Interest
Get More Email Newsletter Clicks – Self-Interest
Reduce shopping cart abandonment – Self-Interest
Create opt-in pages that convert like crazy – Self-Interest
My Facebook retargeting plan – Self-Interest
This gets my highest recommendation – Curiosity
Better than Facebook? – Curiosity
28,507 leads in 45 days – Self-Interest | Social Proof
A slick mobile lead gen funnel – Self-Interest
The Machine is LIVE… here’s your link – Curiosity
Pounce on these shifts in digital marketing – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Uncomplicate your analytics – Self-Interest
I do THIS for traffic… – Curiosity

But Don’t Do This…

We’re also sharing our top 10 worst emails of 2014 and picking them apart to find why exactly they didn’t work.

Our Top 10 Worst Emails

For these, we looked at emails with the highest unsubscribe to open ratio. Not only did these miss the mark, they drove our audience away! We’re going to work backward, starting with the 10th most unpopular email.

10. [85% Discount GONE] Blog launch “checklist on steroids” price increasing…  

Promotion: Blog Launch EP
Promotion Type: Execution Plan
Unsubscribes / Opens: 1.78%
Analysis: This subject line is trying to do too much at once. The framing of the price increase is presented as both a disappearing discount and a price increase. While these mean the same thing, it can be a little confusing and makes the subject line too long. Sticking with short, sweet, and clear is best.

9. Last chance to be a whale…

Promotion: The Whale Method
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 1.90%
Analysis: This curiosity subject line is cute, but it’s a little too cute. We’ve found that trying to be too clever or funny with subject lines often hurts an email’s performance. This varies by industry, but for educational authorities, it tends to hurt performance.

8. 321% higher conversions using THIS…

Promotion: Video Sales Letter Formula
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 1.93%
Analysis: This subject line isn’t terrible – it combines curiosity with self-interest and makes an exciting promise. So I looked at the body as well. A key issue was that the body was even more blind than the subject line – the promise got lost in the open.

7. uh oh

Promotion: Napkin Project
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 2.01%
Analysis: This is a great example of a curiosity subject line that completely misses the mark. It’s too vague and sets a negative tone. Be very careful when using curiosity subject lines, especially when you don’t mix them with other elements.

6. 3-Part Followup Series [Download]

Promotion: Native Ads Academy
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 2.09%
Analysis: One of the big issues with this email was that it didn’t explain exactly what kind of follow-up series was being offered. By not giving the audience enough information, those who opened it and weren’t interested in an email follow-up series were turned off.

5. Free traffic SUCKS!

Promotion: Whale Method
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 2.21%
Analysis: This subject line strikes a negative tone right off the bat. While that can be very effective way to get opens, it also sets audience members up to feel frustrated. When you go negative, it’s important to really focus on putting a positive spin in the email body.

4. 43% discount GONE at midnight…

Promotion: Video Sales Letter Formula
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 2.46%
Analysis: This subject line isn’t particularly bad on its own—it combines curiosity and urgency, which is often very effective. However, the subject line is nearly identical to the one sent the day before. Using the same elements in a subject line two days in a row can make your emails seem stale and leave your audience bored. And bored audiences become unengaged very quickly.

3. This sucks, you lose…

Promotion: Whale Method
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 2.67%
Analysis: Another example of a negative curiosity-based subject line. It has a similar issue to the other one—it didn’t spin the tone of the communication enough and left readers with a bad taste in their mouth, leading to a high unsubscribe rate.

2. [GONE TONIGHT] Native Ads training OVER at MIDNIGHT

Promotion: Native Ads Academy
Promotion Type: Course/Information Product
Unsubscribes / Opens: 2.94%
Analysis: This subject line is a little too urgent—overdoing capitalization in the subject line can feel like shouting. And no one wants their email inbox to yell at them. Capitalization is a great way to draw attention but works best in small doses.

1. C’mon – everybody’s waiting for you…

Promotion: Native Ads Academy
Promotion Type: Course/Information
Unsubscribes / Opens: 3.05%
Analysis: This email actually had one of our top 100 email subject lines, but it’s a great example of the double-edged sword of curiosity hooks. The email went to audience members not already planning to attend a webinar. This subject line puts some pressure on the reader which, for those clearly not interested in the webinar, is an, unfortunately, effective way to drive them off your email list.

(RELATED: Generate more sales by sending fewer emails with our Ultimate Email Marketing Gameplan.)

Swipe our best email subject lines of 2014

Still here? Great!
We’re Sharing Our 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2013 Below!

In 2013, our best email subject lines were all made up of one of the eight all-important elements we outlined at the top of this post…

Perhaps more importantly—NONE of our best email subject lines were:


OK… almost none of our best are cute or clever. Every once in a great while a cute or clever subject line will work… most of the time they will get low open rates.

For the most part, it pays to be direct and clear.

Ready to look at our top email subject lines? We begin with the 10th best email subject line…

10.  Breaking News…

Product: Black Friday Webinar
Product Type:  Webinar
Open Rate: 7.6%
Analysis: This subject line promises that the reader will find something timely and unknown if they open up.

9.  Facebook traffic is dead?

Product: Facebook Ad Power
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 7.6%
Analysis: This subject line creates plays on a reader’s self-interest—particularly those that are using or are considering using Facebook for business.

8.  Everybody’s waiting for you…

Product: Funnel Webinar
Product Type: Webinar
Open Rate: 7.7%
Analysis: This is a clever way to use urgency in an email subject line. This email was sent a couple of minutes after we started the webinar it was promoting.

7.  Kindle bestseller in 4 days?

Product: Facebook Ad Power
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 7.8%
Analysis: This subject line promises a benefit in a short amount of time—a good example of a self-interest subject line.

6.  Watch live? From anywhere?

Product: Traffic & Conversion Summit (Event)
Product Type: Event
Open Rate: 8.0%
Analysis: This subject line creates curiosity. It creates the following question in the reader’s mind: “Watch what from anywhere?”

5.  Facebook closing down?

Product: Facebook Ad Power
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 8.0%
Analysis: This is a curiosity subject line that implies that something of self-interest to the reader might be going away.

4.  I feel kinda sorry for you…

Product: Facebook Ad Power
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 8.2%
Analysis: This subject line plays on the reader’s ego and creates curiosity.

3.  How to scale your business

Product: The Amazing Selling Machine
Product Type: Course/Information Product
Open Rate: 9.5%
Analysis: This is a clear and direct self-interest subject-line.

2 .  Good news for people who love bad news…

Product: Traffic & Conversion Summit (Event)
Product Type: Event
Open Rate: 9.6%
Analysis: This one creates curiosity through a cute and clever use of word play.

 1.  Can’t Make The Trip?

Product: Traffic & Conversion Summit (Event)
Product Type: Event
Open Rate: 9.8%
Analysis: This curiosity subject line asks a question

So that’s the Top 10. But there are more… here are the next 90 email subject lines that enjoyed the highest open rates.

Your funnel is broken… – Self Interest
[New Video] 1,000,000 customers in 11 months? We have proof. – News | Self-Interest
Need my help? – Self Interest | Curiosity
Ahhh, San Diego! Spanish for… – Curiosity
I LOVE this little Facebook tool! – Self Interest
[URGENT] Emergency Gmail Webinar Tomorrow, 7/24! – Urgency | News
The Story of “The Vagabonds” – Story | Curiosity
My favorite market research tool – Self Interest
Get your business funded in 2014 [Case Study] – News | Self-Interest
Copy & paste this $10 million business… – Self Interest
(time sensitive) Last night’s Funnel training… – Urgency
The Ultimate Facebook “Cheat Sheet” – Self Interest
Create your own digital magazine (no iPhone/iPad required) – Self-Interest
Will this KILL your business in 2014? – Curiosity | News | Self-Interest
Questions about War Room? – Self Interest
[TONIGHT] My proven funnel system revealed… – Urgency |Self-Interest
[Last Chance] Create the perfect funnel… – Urgency | Self-Interest
[PROOF] How to get 10 cent email leads from Facebook… – Self Interest
[Free Book] The $10 million discovery (limited) – Self Interest | News | Scarcity
Boost your email clickthroughs by 200% – Self Interest
No more discounts on T&C! – Self Interest | Scarcity
Facebook sucks – Curiosity
[FLASH SALE] This is how we get traffic from Amazon – Urgency | Self-Interest
[Open NOW] The Digital Publishing Blueprint is LIVE! – News | Self-Interest
The Perfect Webinar Funnel – Self Interest
Tim Ferriss says “Hi” – Social Proof
Pulling FBAdpower DOWN… – Scarcity
LAST CHANCE for Livestreaming… – Urgency
New site and new sales in 3 days or less?! – Self Interest
1 cent CLICKS?! (open up)… – Self Interest | Curiosity
I hope they’re not mad… – Curiosity
[Closing Tomorrow] Don’t get shut out… again! – Urgency
Good News… Your 1st sale in 3 days… – Self Interest
How I get dirt-cheap, high-quality traffic… – Self Interest
[FINAL PLAYING] Emergency Gmail Webinar! – Urgency | News
Will 2014 be better than 2013? – Curiosity | News
T&C CLOSING! Only 61 spots left! – Scarcity
Facebook “panic” is great news for you… – News | Self-Interest
[CLOSING TONIGHT] T&C tickets GONE tonight… – Scarcity
[JUST RELEASED] More T&C Tickets Available… – News | Urgency
Software cherry-picks the hottest leads for you… – Self-Interest
Free 68 page book Interview With A Mega-Bestseller – Self-Interest
[FLASH SALE] Get targeted FB leads for dirt cheap… – Urgency | Self-Interest
[Finally] Get this Proven Digital Marketing Blueprint – Self Interest | News
85% sale ends today – Urgency
You an Amazon Bestseller? – Self-Interest
Last chance – T&C Closing at Midnight TONIGHT! – Urgency
Important letter for you – Curiosity
[NEWS] EmailWorld 2013 Sept. 24th and 25th in San Diego, CA – News
Announced 306% increase in FB traffic? – News | Self-Interest
Facebook OWNS Google… – Curiosity
[Almost Gone] New T&C Tickets going fast… – Scarcity
[IMPORTANT] Gmail Webinar TODAY! – Urgency
Only open if your business will do at least 7-figures this year… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Apple Newsstand training is CLOSING – Urgency
FW: Did you miss this yesterday? – Curiosity
Merry Christmas to You! – Humanity
Can I help you build your sales funnel? – Self Interest
“Panda” update for Facebook? – Curiosity | News
Press Releases More Powerful Than Ever? – News | Curiosity
Last chance for Apple Newsstand training [FREE RESOURCE] – Urgency | Self-Interest
Interact with the industry’s brightest minds at the QuickSprout Forum – Self-Interest
You on Facebook? – Curiosity
Turn Ideas into Million-Dollar Products – Self-Interest
100,000 unique visitors PER MONTH… – Self-Interest
The “Mystery Man” Behind 500 Product Launches… – Curiosity | News
This 1 “weird trick” is worth the trip – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Arrested for printing money? – Curiosity | News
Can we meet in San Diego? – Curiosity | Self-Interest
Bad news and good news… – Curiosity | News
T&C is selling out! Only 32 seats left! – Scarcity
Ex-construction worker earns $309/day with… – Story | News
This Free book changed my business… – Curiosity | Self-Interest
The free books are all gone… – Curiosity | Scarcity
[NEWS] 5th Annual Traffic & Conversion Summit OPEN – News
[80% Discount] Game-changing software… – Self-Interest
Content idea generator [Free Resource 1 of 3] – Self-Interest
[RESULTS] My Facebook Case Study – Self-Interest | News
THIS Increased Conversions 24%?!? – Self-Interest | News
FINAL NOTICE: Only 11 seats left! – Scarcity
Only 187 free copies of Frank’s book left… – Scarcity
No list & NO partners = sales in 3 days?! – Self-Interest | Curiosity
Your “On Demand” bootcamp replay… – Self-Interest
Happy Thanksgiving! – Humanity
How I “busted-up” Google’s monopoly… – Curiosity | News
[SPOOKY NOTICE] 82% off T&C Tickets (CLOSING 24 hours) – Urgency
Your DEADline is tonight! 82% off dies at midnight… – Urgency
If I had to start all over again… – Story
Wanna pick an $80 Million brain… – Curiosity |Self-Interest
[REVEALED] Turn Likes into email subscribers fast… – News | Self-Interest

(RELATED: Generate more sales by sending fewer emails with our Ultimate Email Marketing Gameplan.)

Swipe our best subject lines of 2013

(NOTE: Tired of your email marketing being mostly guess work? Use this FREE plug and play guide and tracking sheet to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy. Download it here!)

Get your free guide to track, analyze, and optimize your email marketing strategy.

The post DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2018 (…And 7 Top-Notch Subject Lines Pulled from the Vault) appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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