The Best Email Subject Lines of 2022

A list of the best email subject lines of 2022 with 20+ examples

You know what time it is!

As we approach yet another year (hey, 2023!) It’s time for my annual roundup of the best subject lines of the year.

Missed the last two years? Check them out here:

Best email subject lines of 2021

Best email subject lines of 2020

As I always mention, this list is somewhat subjective (as what may grab my attention may not interest someone else), but what is NOT subjective are the techniques being used in each example.

This year I’m covering 5 different email subject line techniques with plenty of examples for each category, so let’s not waste any time and get right into it!

Technique 1: Open loop 

Whether you’re a copywriter or marketer, you’re probably familiar with the “open loop” technique when it comes to writing email subject lines.

But if not, the open loop technique is about piquing curiosity so the reader feels compelled to open the email in order to “close the loop” on the story or concept they were teased by in the subject line.

This is one of my favorite techniques because it works so damn well (and I have to stats to prove it – my newsletter open rates are nearly 50%!).

Here are some of my favorite email subject lines from 2023 that use the open loop technique:


This subject line from copywriter and coach, Kim Krause Schwalm, not only piques your curiosity (a major component of the open-loop technique), but it’s totally unexpected (I mean, when was the last time you saw something like “I cut her string” in your inbox?).

The weirdness alone was enough to get me to click, and as always, Kim did a great job of connecting the email content to the hook within the subject line.

Asking a question

Talk about an irresistible subject line from freelance writer Ashley R. Cummings – I mean, how could you NOT click on “Wanna see me get robbed?”

Not only was the subject line enticing, the content within the email delivered on the promise — it really was a video of her getting robbed, plus some insight on how things (especially in business) don’t always go according to plan (and how to prepare for that).

Thought provoking

This example from The New Yorker is a pretty heavy one, but effective, as it combines story, emotion, and the open-loop technique to pique the reader’s interest and *hopefully* get them to read the full article.


When you have some news or unknown information to share, the open-loop technique can be your best friend.

In the example below, Allbirds used the “news” concept along with the name of a celebrity that’s often associated with salacious stories to create an effective open-loop-style subject line.

Even though I knew whatever was inside the email wasn’t going to be all that interesting (it turned out to be *shocker* a collab), the temptation to learn the news about Lilo was too hard to resist.

Making a promise

Promising readers that there’s something on the other side of the email that can ___ (fill a need, solve a problem, provide relief, etc) can be an effective way to pique curiosity and get readers to engage.

While this is a very simple example of using “promises” to pique curiosity, Madewell did a decent job of enticing me to click.

Technique 2: Fomo / Scarcity / Urgency

Like the open-loop technique, using fomo / scarcity / urgency are foundational persuasion tactics that should be in every copywriter’s toolkit.

And for good reason: they work!

In fact, Google lists “urgency” (aka “the power of now”) and “scarcity bias” as 2 of the 6 core biases that influence purchase decisions.

Here are a few examples of email subject lines from 2022 that use fomo, scarcity, and/or urgency:

Low inventory

Along with using all caps to draw our attention, Cami NYC used all 3 techniques to get me to click:

Fomo (the feeling like everyone has the item but me), scarcity (“sold out over 10x”) and urgency (“now back in stock”).

Taken together, this subject line makes you feel like you have a small window of opportunity to take action and if you don’t, you’ll soon regret it.


This example from Cult Gaia is very similar to the example above, but it’s written in a slightly different way using the copy “1,000 person waitlist” to induce fomo and imply scarcity/urgency at the same time.

Requests & deadlines

Unlike the e-comm examples above, the example below from Funnelytics uses a combination of the open-loop technique (“I’ve got something important to ask you”) and urgency by listing a specific action that needs to be taken (“need a response”) and a specific timeframe (“by Oct 11th”).

Mystery & urgency

Like the Funnelytics example, this subject line from Aerie uses the open-loop technique to pique our interest around the “mystery deal” (“open to reveal your offer”) while also using urgency (“last chance” and “ends today”) to drive action.

Technique 3: Personalization

As you may have seen in my 2021 and 2020 email subject line roundups, personalization is a technique that proves effective year after year.

Personalization can be anything from using the reader’s name in the subject line to offering them something that feels unique to them, and everything in between.

Here are a few of my favorite email subject lines from 2022 that utilize the personalization technique:

Personalized content

In the example below from entertainment coach Mara McCann, she uses my first name to personalize the message, and grabs my attention with the personalized offer: “I made you this video”

It’s very simple, but very effective, especially when combined with the preheader text: “Hi Annie, it’s Mara here!…” which makes it feel like a message between colleagues or friends vs a marketing message.

Using the reader’s first name

Similar to the example above, Saks personalized the subject line with my first name and reinforced the personalization with the copy “a gift card with your name on it” – of course the possibility of a “free” $700 is also really enticing.

Quiz-style personalization

With the subject line below, Zocdoc took a “quiz-style” approach to the subject line “What your poop says about you” (lol) which is another form of personalization.

This approach promises new information, but in a way that feels personalized to me.

Personalized service & authority 

In the example below, author and coach Jerry Jenkins combines personalization (“Your personal critique”) with another persuasion technique known as authority (“from an award-winning author”) to create a subject line that feels both personal and highly valuable.

Technique 4: The unexpected – in formatting or content

There is some overlap between using unexpected content and the open-loop technique, as the ladder often uses unexpected language or concepts as a way to grab attention and entice readers to click.

However, in the examples below, I’m focusing more on unexpected formatting (meaning using numbers, symbols, punctuation, capitalization, word length etc in unexpected ways) and providing unexpected new information.

Let’s review the examples together to show you what I mean:

Exaggerated text

While I can’t speak to the effectiveness of this subject line from Drizly, I included it as an example of how you can use unexpected formatting to stand out in a cluttered inbox.

The combination of the subject line (Awwwww) and preheader text (Yeahhhhh) creates a fun effect when seen together while the exaggerated words grab your attention. It’s also a great way to show off brand personality.

Numbers & symbols

The example below from US representative Val Demings combines the open-loop technique (using just a percentage “re: 0.12%” as a way to pique our curiosity) and unexpected formatting (just numbers and symbols) as a way to stand out within the inbox and grab attention.

Unexpected ideas & information

Outside of formatting, the unexpected can also come to life through topics or information, like the example below from the skincare company (and my former client) MD Solar Sciences.

This idea – needing to wear sunscreen during your gel manicure due to the UV lights used throughout the drying process – is something I’d never thought of before, but could be a totally legitimate concern for those who get their nails done frequently.

Technique 5: Tap into emotions & beliefs

It’s no secret that emotions play a huge role in our decision-making process, including our purchasing decisions.

According to this article from Psychology Today, “emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions,” which is why leveraging the power of emotion in your marketing can be so effective.

Below I highlight some of my favorite email subject lines from 2022 that leverage various emotions to grab attention and drive action:


Copywriter and freelance coach, Brian Speronello, combines the open-loop technique with emotionally charged stories to grab attention and form an authentic connection with his audience.

In the examples below, Brian uses the subject lines “The scariest moment of my career” and “I have a confession” to create a sense of vulnerability that shows off his “human” side while sharing stories that will resonate with this audience.

Kim Krause Schwalm also uses a similar technique with the subject line “I can STILL feel the humiliation…” which is something we can all relate to.


While not always appropriate (and can easily be abused), fear is a powerful emotion that can be used to grab attention and drive action.

According to this article from the marketing agency, Publicist, fear is “the strongest [emotion] of them all. It’s said to have twice the effect of pleasurable emotions.”

In the example below, Zocdoc uses a scary-sounding medical story with the open-loop technique to pique interest and drive engagement (it also helps that they sent this email during the summer when it would be most relevant to their audience).


If you subscribe to any political or non-profit organizations, you know they often use guilt to get your attention and drive action.

In the example below, Joe Biden uses guilt to essentially “call me out” for not behaving in the way he expected I would. While it’s obviously not directed at me personally, the way it’s written still stirs up feelings of guilt.

That being said, the use of guilt in marketing can have negative effects, so use it sparingly, if at all.


Tapping into positive, familiar concepts from the past can be an effective way of building trust and associating your brand with something consumers already know and love.

Madewell does a good job of tapping into nostalgia with the subject line “Remember summer camp?” which instantly fills you with feel-good memories that may be powerful enough to get you to engage or even shop.


One of Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence is “Commitment & consistency” which is essentially the idea that we want to remain consistent with the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

In the example below, author and coach, Jerry Jenkins (yes, him again!), leverages this concept by combining his offer (“Want me as your personal mentor?”) with the parenthetical “(Driven writers only).”

The use of the parenthetical is meant to purposefully tap into the reader’s self image (or the image of themselves they want to see – someone who is driven and committed to their writing goals) which entices you to agree with the statement (I mean, who wants to think of themselves as lazy or noncommittal?).

A recap of the 5 techniques

TL;DR? Here’s a quick recap of the techniques covered in this year’s “best of” roundup and how you can leverage them within your own email marketing efforts.

#1: The open loop

Look for the hooks (meaning interesting or unexpected tidbits) within your email content that can be used as open-loop-style subject lines. Try experimenting with storytelling, asking questions, making thought-provoking statements, sharing news, or making a promise.

#2: Fomo / scarcity / urgency

When appropriate, use tried-and-true persuasion tactics like fomo, scarcity, and urgency to drive action. This can include things like calling out low inventory/availability, using waitlists, deadlines, and more.

#3: Personalization

Whether it’s using their names in the email subject line, using words like “you” and “your,” highlighting personalized offers (i.e. 1-on-1 coaching), or providing content that speaks to a unique part of each subscriber (i.e. quizzes, survey results, astrological content, location, etc). Segmentation can help with some of this, too.

#4: Unexpected formatting and/or content to get noticed

Play with things like numbers, symbols, emojis, word length, and more to differentiate and stand out. Consider testing new content ideas that feel unexpected or outside the box (i.e. taboo topics, topics your competitors haven’t covered, new research or findings, etc).

#5: Tap into emotions & beliefs

Emotions are a major part of the decision-making process, so don’t ignore them – use them in your email subject lines to tap into specific feelings that may resonate with your audience and/or persuade them to take specific actions.

What Are Your Favorite Subject Lines of 2022?

Did I miss any good ones? Feel free to share below or send them to me directly:

As always, thanks for reading — if you found this article helpful, subscribe below or share it with a friend or colleague. 🙂

I hope you have a great rest of your year and a happy New Year!

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