Blog Feature Subscribe

By: John Bonini on December 3rd, 2012

Print/Save as PDF

12 Examples of Laughably Terrible Email Subject Lines

email subject linesHave you thrown anything at your monitor today?

I mean, we've all had those mornings where we opened our email inbox and saw email subject lines so offensively-hilarious that you just can't help but toss a stapler or two across the room. I mean, who opens these emails? Surely, there must be enough poor schmucks opening these emails that necessitate these terrible subject lines, right?

Perhaps not.

In an age where unsolicited marketing messages are getting ignored, your email subject lines are a critical element of not coming across like a used-car salesmen.

I've decided to collect some of those most ridiculously-awful email subject lines I've seen as of late as an example of how NOT to approach your email marketing. And please, if you have any others to add to the list, we'd love hear them here and have a good chuckle here at the office.

12 Awful Email Subject Lines

1. Shop Early & Save!!!

OMG lower your voice. I just opened my inbox and I'm already being screamed at, and I wasn't even late for work. But seriously, thank you for your extremely audible offer, but I actually prefer to shop late and spend more. Different strokes, right?

2. Register to Win your FREE iPad!

I must be the luckiest man alive! I've actually received three of these this week! I'm actually running out to buy lotto tickets right this second, but as soon as I get back, you better believe I'll be registering for a lifetime of your spammy emails.

3. Shop for Dad with over $200 in Savings

So how much will I actually be spending to necessitate over $200 in savings?

"Hey Dad, you've been great this year, so I got you this laser engraved, gold-plated wine chalice. Oh...all you wanted was a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket? Oops...sorry. I just couldn't pass up these savings."

4. HUGE 15% off Sale!!


(Fine print: This sale excludes everything you planned on buying in the store. But hey....want some sweet napkin holders?")

5. Last Chance for 4th of July Savings

Thank heavens you sent me this email! I must've missed the plethora of emails for the past week promoting this sale.

I'm on my way!

6. Sneak a Peek at Our Black Friday Sale

Translation: Check out all the stuff you have no shot at getting, unless you're here at 2 PM on Thanksgiving Day, have an iron jaw, and have been cleared by your doctor to participate.

7. Congratulations!

"How many more emails do we have to send you?! You've won a %@#! iPad!"

What an ungrateful recipient I am.

8. I'm in Paris and I lost my Wallet and Passport...

Ok...this guy actually sounds like he needs my help. Excuse me while I wire him some cash and proceed to offer all the important information as it pertains to my identity.

9. Last Minute Gift – We Have the Answer!

Yes! My prayers haven been answered via email! I mean....I've been trying all of these other stores looking for "the answer," and it was sitting my in inbox all along.

Don't I just feel like a horses patute?

10. Last Chance to Complete Our Survey!

Phew! Crisis averted. I've been searching through my inbox all morning for a survey to complete. I have an unsatiable desire to dole out my opinons for 45 minutes, then receive a life sentence of your spam emails.

Best. day. ever.

11. Give a Gift Certificate this Holiday

After all, nothing convey's thoughtfulness quite like a piece of paper that says, "instead of giving you money, I've decided to tell you where you need to shop."

12. You Asked for More....

I did? I did! And whose going to provide me with it?

You are...that's who! (Unsubscribe)

Don't Be Terrible

It may sound like simple advice, but when it comes to crafting your email subject lines, don't be terrible.

We get it. We all want people to open our emails to and to take action. But in reality, people simply do not naturally talk the way these email subject lines read. And more importantly, they don't respond to them.

So make sure the next time you're crafting your email subject lines that you are marketing toward an actual person, not the spam box.

Interested in learning more about strengthening your email marketing? Check out our free ebook, "The Fast Track to Powerful Emails" for more expert tips on improving your open and click rates.

The Marketers Buyer Persona Kit

About John Bonini

As the Marketing Director of IMPACT from 2013-May 2015, John lead the IMPACT marketing team. He also wrote for the HubSpot Blog, Social Media Examiner, and Convince & Convert among others. In his free time, John enjoys playing guitar, high-fives, and anything with marinara sauce.

  • Connect with John Bonini

Wait! Before you go..


Free Guide: Master the 10 Essentials of an Inbound Marketing Website

We’re sharing our secrets with our loyal readers. Subscribe and download your free guide now!

Improve your website! Learn the 10 essentials to 3x your traffic & leads in this free guide.