Best Subject Lines of 2021

Best Subject Lines of 2021

For the fifth year in a row, I have compiled the Best Email Subject Lines of the year! You can read the Best Email Subject Lines of 2017, the  Best Email Subject Lines of 2018, the Best Email Subject Lines of 2019 and the Best Email Subject Lines of 2020 to see previous winners winners.

Every year, I listed the best email subject lines according to my personal email inbox.

My Totally Biased Judging Methodology


  • 3rd place – You are on the list. Sometime in the past year, I opened one of your emails and thought, ‘Hey, that got my attention.’ I put a label on your email so you would be on this list when it came out.
  • 2nd place – You are on this list more than once.
  • 1st place – You have written more subject lines on this list than anyone else.

Since I subscribe to digital marketers and sales leaders, the content of the subject line skews to that school of thought. But I follow these people the most because they write the best email subject lines, and are more likely to contribute to my swipe files.

3RD PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

     2ND PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

    Those who earn 2nd Place in this annual contest make it on the best subject line list more than once.

    • [FREE] Download my Cheat Sheet – Pat Flynn
    • Learn these powerful email marketing strategies – Pat Flynn


    1st Place – Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

    Yael Bendahan

    Yael Bendahan is an online marketing and growth strategist, and specializes in training women to grow their business.

    Yael’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

    1. can I promote you in Q1? – Yael Bendahan
    2. do you see that elephant in the corner? – Yael Bendahan
    3. want to hit your income goals this month? (and next?) – Yael Bendahan
    4. the daily affirmation that changed everything for me – Yael Bendahan

    MAP workbook coverI’ve been collecting the best subject lines from my inbox every year for a while (see previous yearly roundups here). Feel free to review these subject lines, click through to the authors, and subscribe to their email newsletters (if someone is on this list, they are worthy to follow).

    Once you learn about writing better email subject lines, it’s time to automate your marketing! My Marketing Automation Planner takes you step-by-step through the process to create a lead generation machine. Get all my best tools, templates, and workbooks here:

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

    Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    The awards for this contest, the Best Email Subject Lines of 2018, is totally biased and skewed. To even be considered for this award, you have to:

    1. Publish a newsletter regularly, to which
    2. I happen to be subscribed, and
    3. One or more of your subject lines has to make me go, ‘Wow!’

    Last year I did a round-up of the 170 best email subject lines from 2017. Now that we’ve faced another New Year, I clicked the same Gmail label in my inbox to pull up a list of all the best emails that got my attention in 2018.

    Email Subject Line Contest Judging Criteria

    • 3rd place – You show up in this list. Sometime, in 2018, you sent me an email with a subject line that made me say, ‘Wow, that’s good.’
    • 2nd place – You show up in this list more than once.
    • 1st place – You show up in this list more than anyone else.

    Again, this is a highly subjective list, and it’s skewed towards digital marketers and salespeople (since they are the content creators I like to follow the most, and they are usually the best at writing subject lines that make you want to open the email) and the joy of having your own award show is that you get to award them however you please, so without further ado, here is…

    3RD PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    I kept this secret way too long – Mira Kelly

    I never wanted to be an entrepreneur – Stu McLaren


    Can we talk about getting you leads? – Dan Faber

    Announcing major new services for your site. – Jetpack

    How I Generated 800 Booked Calls With A Four Page Website – James Kemp

    So, stop me if you’ve heard this one – Joseph Michael

    How to get 10 paying Clients Now – Ted McGrath

    New for you. The Mozart Pack is now ready. – Divi Den

    The bad advice I followed at the start of my business – Melyssa Griffin

    Full-time author within 12 months (how she did it) – Nick Stephenson

    Question – Holden Qigong

    did you miss it? – Jill Knouse

    You are guest speaking on TED in 3 days (you’re ready, right?) – Dominika

    Write me back if you want one of 7 test drives – Amber McCue

    I know Keto is hot. Here’s a simple way to do it. – Pedram Shojai

    Surprise! Unlock a Free Membership Upgrade When You Join Today – Trusted Housesitters

    [pdf download] Get paid to share your message – Ben Kniffen

    Why I love it when my clients are afraid – Laura Simms

    Steal this sales email – Shenee Howard

    You won’t believe who just joined the Naturopathic CE Faculty! – Naturopathic CE

    I recorded a video for you – Fab Mancini

    “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard” – Vishen Lakhiani

    You’ve acquired FIFTY PERCENT OFF 😉 It’s confirmed, CAELAN – Expedia

    Can we put your name in the raffle? – Danny Iny

    Day Six – “ABANDON SHIP!” (and other launch lies your brain tells you) – Kyla Roma

    [Explosion noises] – Digg

    Don’t buy this course! Guerilla Publishing is NOT for you if… – Derek Murphy

    Your “Start Here ” Page – Pat Flynn

    REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN – Susan Peirce Thompson

    Now I’m obsessed. – Nick Stephenson

    Changes – SARK

    do you believe me yet?- Cory Huff

    Announcement : Introducing Unstoppable with Kerwin Rae – Kerwin Rae

    You have a $603 credit – Michelle Shaeffer

    The Productivity Hack That’s Made Me Millions – Bob Allen

    Can I give you $1000? Two people are going to win…might as well be you. – Kelly Poelker

    You’ve always wondered ….Now you can find out for yourself – Team Tony Robbins

    The ultimate list building short-cut (PDF DOWNLOAD Inside) – Navid Moazzez

    BOOM! This is how you make money from a tiny list – Meera Kothand

    Something BIG is coming – Steph Crowder

    Write better emails TODAY-Here’s how – Derek Halpern

    You’re not in yet 🙂 last chance today! – Aaron Morin

    Can you come as my guest? (VIP invite) – John Assaraf

    did you hear the news? – Dustin W. Stout

    Why do customers really buy? – Donald Miller

    Did you see this? – Andrea Leda

    10x your book revenue without selling another book – Ty Ward

    Get my best speaker training tips! Here’s how… – Sage Lavine

    do you need a raise? – Lisa Sasevich

    The hardest decision I’ve made in my business this year. – Caleb Wojcik

    Make Your Website a Well-Oiled Machine – Pia Larson

    While some of these subject lines look like they were addressed to me personally, or seem to be a personal request, I can assure you, they are not. Some of these were so good because they insinuated a personal connection so well, but these were really all mass emails.

    The email subject lines in this list – these are examples of really good mass emails.

    2ND PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    These authors showed up multiple times in my inbox this year, and more than once I said, ‘Hey, that’s a really good subject line.’

    Wendy Weiss

    Wendy Weiss, the Queen of Cold Calling

    Wendy Weiss runs a sales training and coaching consultancy, with an expertise in new business development.

    Wendy’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • Your message = your money
    • This will be your last chance

    Eben Pagan headshot

    Eben Pagan, Entrepreneur & Teacher

    Eben Pagan teaches advanced strategies to grow your business to the 6 and 7 figure per year level.

    Eben’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • Email me back
    • Did you still want this?

    Jon Morrow, 7-Figure Blogger

    Jon Morrow gives cutting edge advice about blogging to smart bloggers.

    Jon’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • [Blog Launch Tookit] Please don’t pay full price for this
    • [FLASH SALE] The Ultimate Training Library for Beginning Bloggers

    Benji Bruce headshot

    Benji Bruce, Motivational Keynote Speaker

    Benji Bruce shows an audience how to create a psychological advantage so they stay sharp and stay ahead.

    Benji’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • Send me your pitch
    • Cancel my membership

    John Lee Dumas headshot

    John Lee Dumas, Podcaster

    John Lee Dumas hosts the daily business podcast EOFire for the Fire Nation.

    John’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • Secrets to selling from pages, stages, and webinars
    • Get ready to learn Facebook Ads!

    Alan McKenna, Business Strategist

    Alan McKenna is a sales & marketing strategist with over 20 years experience in turning companies around and exploding their growth

    Alan’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • Can I send you $3000?
    • Wednesday March 21st-Add to your calendar
    • I changed the date of the meeting

    David Siteman Garland headshot

    David Siteman Garland, Online Course Creator

    David Siteman Garland helps experts create and sell online courses.

    David’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    • (super time sensitive) Create Awesome Online Course is open
    • The biggest mistake I made in my business (plus deadline)

    1st Place – Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    Marisa Murgatroyd headshot

    Marisa Murgatroyd, Brand Builder and Marketing Strategist

    Marisa Murgatroyd provides done-for-you branding, website design, and training on becoming the most bold, colorful, vibrant expression of who you are online.

    Marisa also has one of the best platforms on the internet, IMHO. She’s got crystal-clear messaging, top-notch website design, excellent sales funnels and creates a TON of content. So it’s no big surprise that she showed up in this (highly subjective) list a total of NINE times.

    Marisa’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

    1. Can we work together on your business?
    2. I hit 7-figures because I did this…
    3. what Luke Skywalker can do for your business
    4. this common product creation mistake can lead to zero sales
    5. this is not a trick question
    6. I’ve got an idea for you!
    7. {true story} How I hit zero….
    8. 2 inconvenient fact that should disqualify me as a coach
    9. {urgent} change of plans….

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

    Follow Caelan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube.

    The Stellar Email Template

    The Stellar Email Template

    The best autoresponder sequences have a lot of shared characteristics. After subscribing to hundreds (maybe thousands) of email newsletters over the past decade, I’ve become adept at noticing what works, what the best people are using, and what steps are used by everyone. Here’s a standard email template you can use for a follow-up autoresponder sequence, one that you can use with just about any email newsletter signup autoresponder: 

    1. You Are Confirmed
    2. Let’s Connect
    3. Here’s My Services
    4. Survey To Segment You Into A Group
    5. Here’s Some Good Education
    6. Book a Call
    7. Referrals

    If I’m working with a new client who doesn’t yet have any content on their blog, this is the outline that I use to set up their email autoresponder. I make a copy of my Stellar Email Template, spend an hour or two writing some good copy, and then migrate the content into their ESP. In an afternoon, you can have a completely custom email newsletter autoresponder sequence all set up and ready to go, using this template.

    Get the Stellar Email Template

    Note: this template can be used for an entire sales funnel, and it also includes copy templates for thank you pages, confirmation emails, and more. Some of the pre-written email autoresponder templates in this doc may not apply to you or your business. But if you want to flesh out your email autoresponder sequence with CTAs to follow you on social media, book a call, or buy your services, there are templates for those emails in this document as well. Delete the ones that are not relevant, and add sections if you want to promote more blog posts.

    This easy, step-by-step process outlined above can give you a brand new email autoresponder sequence with just a couple hours of attention. Passively nurturing your sales funnel is definitely worth this investment of your time; successful bloggers and entrepreneurs are always tweaking and optimizing their onboarding autoresponder sequence.

    Can I send autoresponders and newsletters at the same time?

    Personally, I have no problem with this overlap, in the emails that I send or that I receive. I like to leave a long interval between email autoresponder messages (unless it is a 5-day or a 30-day course, which often needs to be every day) so any email newsletters sent will likely be in between the delivery of the autoresponder.

    Besides, many times, your new subscriber cannot tell the difference between an immediate newsletter and a pre-scheduled autoresponder.

    There are ways that you can exclude someone from your newsletter sends until the autoresponder sequence has completed – the specific method of doing so depends on your email service provider – but generally, I don’t bother with that unless the newsletter would really interrupt the flow of the autoresponder sequence.

    If you ever wonder, “How are others doing this well?” You can just collect some examples to find out.

    How To Collect Autoresponder Email Examples

    The best autoresponder email examples are only a subscription away. I’m sure you follow some people who are good at email. (If you don’t, there are a number of them quoted in this article.) Go subscribe to a bunch of their email newsletters, and if you like, use a filter to automatically tag their emails as they arrive. In a few weeks, you can search your inbox for this tag, and you will have dozens of the best autoresponder email examples to review.

    Pat Flynn’s autoresponder sequence examples

    Autoresponder Series #1: The Bait and Hook
    Autoresponder Series #2: The Ground and Pound
    Autoresponder Series #3: The Pat Flynn

    “The real magic of my approach is two-fold,” says the mastermind behind Smart Passive Income. “I’m establishing credibility and building relationships in a non-evasive manner, which keeps people on my list and opening emails. This obviously helps increase the open rate and responsiveness of my broadcast emails; and some of the content emails get people back onto another platform where opportunities for affiliate sales and product sales exist.”

    Pat Flynn is one of the best in the business. If you want to make money online, I recommend you subscribe to his newsletter, just to watch what he does, and how he does it. Read his article explaining these 3 Autoresponder Series here.

    Best welcome autoresponder email examples


    Dan Wang collected 13 of the best Welcome emails on the web, and laid them out in a nice visual progression. Give this article a scan so you can see how some other successful email autoresponders are doing their thing.

    Other talented email marketers that I follow include:

    Subscribe to their newsletters and take notes. And download the Stellar Email Template to work on your own.

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress helps people sell their stuff online. As a website designer, sales strategist, copywriter, and digital marketer, he works with entrepreneurs, coaches, authors and public speakers to bring them more calls, more clients, and more customers.

    The Easiest Email Autoresponder Sequence for Bloggers

    The Easiest Email Autoresponder Sequence for Bloggers

    If you have been blogging, then you already have an easy email autoresponder sequence that is 85% done. Writing email newsletter autoresponders doesn’t have to take a long time; you can repurpose your best blog posts, using the 10-step system in this article. Before I describe the step-by-step process for converting your best blog posts into email autoresponders, let’s take a second and remind ourselves why email autoresponders are so effective.

    Email autoresponders convert strangers into customers, automatically.

    You’re facing a problem, and you’ve met someone who is solving that problem. They offer you a solution: it’s an intriguing lead magnet, giving a step-by-step solution to your problem, and you only have to subscribe to their newsletter to get access. Shyly, you hand over your first name and email address, and your relationship begins.

    Over the next few weeks, this person courts you. They send you interesting and useful emails, that seem like they were written just for you. Over time, you begin to know this person. Then you like them, because they are funny, and engaging, and real. Finally, you trust them, and when they ask you to buy something, you agree.

    This is what an email autoresponder sequence is supposed to do.

    “Autoresponders allow you to build ‘know, like and trust’ before you ask for the sale. That way, you can convert more customers, and you can do it without being overly ‘salesy’ or pushy.”
    – Mary Fernandez

    Research tells us that it can take up to 7 touches to close a sale. So don’t try to sell your services right away in your confirmation message – treat this new relationship like a courtship.

    Butter them up. Demonstrate your expertise. Tell some stories. Share some photos of you and your life. Give them time to get to know you for a few weeks, and then, when they are interested, ask them to buy something.

    What is an email autoresponder, and how does it work?

    “Autoresponders are the hardest-working, unsung heroes of content marketing. They’re a series of emails you write once and set up to send out at pre-set intervals to anyone who asks for them.”

    Beth Hayden

    Simply put, an email autoresponder is a series of pre-written email messages. They are sent at specific intervals after someone subscribes.

    You can think of email autoresponders as evergreen newsletters – rather than sending them out once a month, or every Friday, email autoresponders are sent in a predetermined sequence after subscription.


    The Secrets of Great Autoresponder Messages

    • The best autoresponder emails are repurposed from your best content.
    • They can be short, or long, but they typically only ask the reader to take 1 action.
    • Use a testimonial or a PS at the end.

    “The very first email you send to a new subscriber sets the tone for how they see you for the rest of their time with you – so you want to get this one right. It’s also the single best email for getting them to look at specific pages of your site, like popular posts or product pages.”
    Naomi Dunford

    How do you write the best email autoresponder, without creating tons of new content? Simple. Don’t start from scratch. Use your blog.

    Your blog is a pre-written autoresponder series waiting to happen

    Every time you write a blog post, you have a free email autoresponder message.

    This is a piece of content that your future email subscribers would be happy to read, if it’s on-topic and relevant. Chances are, they are not going to subscribe to your newsletter, and THEN go read every blog post you’ve ever written. The likelihood of doubling up here is very low, and the likelihood of presenting useful and interesting information is very high.

    “An email autoresponder easily makes use of the blog content you’ve already created. Most readers haven’t read everything you’ve written, nor have they read it in sequential order. Your email autoresponder groups related topics together and packages it neatly for the convenience of your readers, delivering it right to them.

    You don’t have to create new content in order to make this happen. You can use what you’ve already written for your blog.”

    Julie Neidlinger

    You can pick your own favorite blog posts, and decide manually; or, you can follow the data. The blog posts that are most successful on your blog are typically the ones that will make the best autoresponder emails.

    10-Step Blog-To-Autoresponder Email Series Writing System

    1. Go to Google Analytics, and find your most popular posts.
    2. Create a card for the title of each post in Trello, and link to the article on the card.
    3. Drag and drop the subjects until they make a sensible progression.
    4. Scrape a couple paragraphs from each post, and paste the content onto the card.
    5. Create a copy of the Stellar Email Template in Google Docs (linked below)
    6. Paste the content from the Trello cards into the template.
    7. Edit the copy in Google Docs. Add connectors, like ‘I’ll tell you all about X next week,’ and ‘Remember last week, when I talked about X?”
    8. Add a CTA (Call-to-Action) to each message. Sometimes, this is just a link to read the full blog post, but it may be ‘book a call with me’ or ‘reply’ or ‘buy this product.’ Make sure there is only 1 CTA.
    9. Migrate the content from Google Docs to the email autoresponder delivery platform.
    10. Subscribe with a testing email, to review the results.

    This final step is critical. There are so many moving pieces in any autoresponder email series, it is inevitable you will find things to tweak and edit only by being on the receiving end.

    Setup an email address [email protected]. Subscribe to your own newsletter. Make note of what you find, what needs to change, and what can be better.

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress helps people sell their stuff online. As a website designer, sales strategist, copywriter, and digital marketer, he works with entrepreneurs, coaches, authors and public speakers to bring them more calls, more clients, and more customers.

    Get the Stellar Email Template

    (Fill-in-the-blank email autoresponder series)

    170 Best Email Subject Lines of 2017

    170 Best Email Subject Lines of 2017

    I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters. (As of this writing, I have 256,918 unread emails in my inbox.) While I don’t read all of these emails, I do scan them all, so I can find the best email subject lines. As a digital marketer, it is really useful to listen to what the masters of content marketing are doing, en masse. Every day as I sift through my email, I notice what grabs my attention. When an email subject line stands out in my inbox, I know there is something that it can teach me.

    All year, I have been tagging the best email subject lines that catch my attention, and below is a list of the 170 best email subject lines that I saved. The author of the subject line is linked next to each one, so if you like, you can subscribe to their email newsletters, and follow the masters that I follow.

    Table of Contents

    22 Webinar Invitation Subject Lines

    These subject lines ask your email subscriber to register for an upcoming webinar. Webinars are fantastic for creating rapport and delivering mini-campaigns that increase engagement.

    8 Best Customer Survey Email Subject Line Examples

    Getting feedback from your customers gives you invaluable marketing intelligence. (If you’ve got a website, btw, I’d love to know your thoughts in this 2-minute survey.) Getting your list to open the survey request is step 1, and a few different techniques are shown below. Coupons work well.

    12 Good Email Subject Lines for Lead Magnets

    These are the best email subject lines for getting opt-ins for a new list. If you want to develop a segment of your existing list, or clean your list so you can identify the people who are willing to re-subscribe, these subject lines will get your existing subscribers to opt-in again.

    9 Re-Engagement Email Subject Lines

    Sometimes, your open rate lies to you. Open rates are notoriously inaccurate, but they are still used to determine the level of engagement of your list – which can be factored into the likelihood you will land in Gmail’s Propmotions tab, or in the Spam folder. To keep your list engaged, you need to both produce compelling content, and check in with your subscribers regularly to see if they still want to be on your list.

    21 Best Email Subject Lines for Sales

    Email is for selling. Out of every method of selling things on the Internet, email is still the #1 driver of sales. Improving your open rate on your sales emails through a good subject line is probably the most granular thing you could improve to increase your revenue. Pay special attention to how people are selling with the best email subject lines, and you can increase your own sales as a result.

    16 Post-Product Launch Email Subject Lines

    These emails are sent after a product launch. If your product launch has a sales funnel, with a lead magnet at the top of it, or if you had a waitlist, then you have an additional group of people to market your product to during launch.  After launching your product, it’s good to keep communicating to this hot list with all the benefits of your product – the extra bonuses, the expiring offer, and the testimonials of people whose lives have been changed because of what you’re launching. The best email subject lines will help get those emails opened.

    10 Subject Lines For Affiliate Offers

    These emails were sent to promote another person’s product (or lead magnet) and they do a good job of creating interest, offering solutions to a pressing problem, and standing out in the inbox.

    9 Great Blog Post Announcements

    Announcing a blog post can get very pedestrian – or it could be an opportunity to showcase your great headline writing skills.

    • New post: 47 Resources for People Who Love to Write but Can Never Find the Time – Jon Morrow
    • What my vacation face-plant can teach you about success  – Marie Forleo
    • Are successful people crazy? Benji Bruce – Speaking Lifestyle
    • ✪ The Cardinal Sin of Self-publishing ✪ – Derek Murphy
    • 7 Questions You Have About RE-Launching a Product – Answered! – Bailey Richert
    • Did you miss this episode? Tim Ferriss
    • 5 Unusual Ways to Get Paid Doing What You Love (Even If You’re Not an Expert Yet!) – Live Your Legend Team
    • New Episode: Do you want to hear a joke? – Dr. Fab Mancini
    • My podcast launches today! – Noah Kagan

    38 Email Subject Lines That Intrigue

    The best emails in a crowded inbox can create a ‘pattern interrupt’ – something that makes you curious enough to stop what you are doing and actually pay attention. The best pattern interrupts are usually shocking in some way, making them stand out from the noise. These are the ones that caught my attention this year.

    16 Email Marketing Subject Lines for Email Marketers

    Many of the lists I subscribe to are about email marketing, since I spend a lot of my time marketing through email. These are the best email subject lines that don’t fit in the other categories on this page, but are of particular interest to people who work with email as their craft.

    9 Welcome Email Subject Lines For New Customers

    When engaging new clients on your list, getting them involved immediately is a great way to increase retention. A good onboarding sequence starts with an introductory email that gets opened.

    Bonus Tip: Subscribe to Email Newsletters in ALL CAPS

    You may have noticed that some of the best email subject lines listed above address the name CAELAN in all caps.

    This is because I make it a practice to always subscribe for newsletters with CAELAN as my first name. I can easily pick out who is using a first-name parameter in their email, and who is actually addressing me personally, by the capitalization of my first name in the email.

    Some people have a specific email address they use for email subscriptions, so they can corral them all into one inbox, and only check it when they want to. Personally, I like having everyone’s email newsletters crowding my personal inbox. I even disabled the ‘Promotions’ tab in Gmail so I can get an unfiltered firehose of communication anytime I check my inbox.

    Whenever something stands out from that noise, I know that it matters.

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

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