Boost Open Rates with These Funny Email Subject Lines!

By Marco Franzoni March 8, 2024

Boost Open Rates with These Funny Email Subject Lines!

Introduction: Boosting Open Rates with Humor

Why a good email subject line is important

In the vast sea of emails that flood our inboxes daily, standing out is more crucial than ever for business professionals aiming to catch their audience's eye. A good email subject line does not just serve as a preview of the email's content; it's the golden key to boosting open rates in the competitive realm of email marketing. While many strategies exist to enhance the effectiveness of your email campaigns, incorporating humor into your email subject lines is an underutilized tactic that can significantly differentiate your messages from the rest.

Funny email subject lines can be the breath of fresh air your audience craves. They not only break the monotony of typical professional correspondence but also build a unique connection between your brand and its recipients. This approach leverages the universal language of humor to encourage readers to engage with your content, thereby driving the success of your email marketing campaign.

But why does humor work so effectively? For starters, it adds a personal touch that can make your brand feel more relatable and human. It taps into the emotional aspect of decision-making, making recipients more inclined to open an email out of curiosity or the promise of a good laugh. Moreover, funny subject lines can showcase your brand's personality and tone, making your messages memorable and helping to establish a loyal audience base.

However, striking the right balance between being humorous and maintaining a professional tone is key. Not every joke lands the same with every audience, and what's hilarious to some may fall flat with others. This introduction aims to guide you on how to craft catchy and funny email subject lines that resonate with your target audience, ultimately boosting your open rates while keeping your brand's identity intact. Whether it's a clever play on words, a pop culture reference, or a simple dad joke, the right humorous touch can turn the mundane task of checking emails into a moment of delight, encouraging engagement and setting the stage for the content that lies within.

Boost Open Rates with These Funny Email Subject Lines!

The Magic Behind Funny Email Subject Lines

Why humor works: The science of funny

Humor works wonders in email marketing due to its profound impact on our brains and behavior. When we encounter something funny, our brain releases dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, which not only makes us happier but also enhances our ability to remember and connect with the source of laughter. This neurological response is why humor resonates so deeply with audiences, making funny email subject lines an effective tool in capturing attention and improving email open rates.

The science of funny reveals that humor can lower defenses, making recipients more receptive to the message being delivered. It breaks through the clutter of mundane and overly formal emails, encouraging readers to see the brand behind the message as more approachable and relatable. Furthermore, a well-crafted funny subject line can spark curiosity, compelling the recipient to open the email to discover more of the humor and warmth inside.

Types of funny subject lines that work

To harness the power of humor in your email marketing campaigns, consider these types of funny subject lines that have proven to engage audiences effectively:

  1. Puns and Wordplay: These rely on the clever use of language, offering a quick wit that can make your email stand out. For instance, a bakery might use, "We're on a roll this week!" to promote their latest bread selection.
  2. Pop Culture References: Tying your subject line to popular movies, TV shows, songs, or memes can resonate well with your audience, especially if it's relevant to their interests and the content of your email. "Winter is coming... and so are our winter collection deals!" could be a hit for a clothing retailer.
  3. Dad Jokes: Sometimes, the cheesier, the better. A simple, wholesome dad joke can be surprisingly effective because of its universal appeal and the warmth it brings. For example, an optometrist might use, "Eye think you'll see the difference with our new lenses."
  4. Questionable Questions: Asking a humorous question that piques curiosity can prompt an open simply to find the answer. A travel agency could intrigue readers with, "Is it legal to bring back sand from the beach?"
  5. Unexpected Twists: Starting with a common phrase or situation and then adding an unexpected twist can capture interest. For a coffee shop, something like, "We have a latte to offer this week!" can work wonders.

Implementing humor in email subject lines requires a good understanding of your brand's tone and your audience's preferences. What makes your audience tick (or laugh) may vary, but the goal remains the same: to create a memorable, engaging experience that encourages them to read on. By carefully crafting your funny email subject lines, you not only boost open rates but also foster a positive and lasting relationship with your recipients.

Crafting the Perfect Laugh: Best Practices

Creating funny email subject lines that resonate with your audience and encourage them to open your emails can be a game-changer for your email marketing campaign. However, crafting these subject lines requires a blend of creativity, understanding of your audience, and adherence to best practices to ensure they hit the mark without offending or confusing your readers. Here are some effective strategies:

Pun-based subject lines

Puns are a staple in the world of humor, thanks to their clever use of wordplay that can bring a smile or a groan (often both) to your recipients. When done right, pun-based subject lines can showcase your brand's wit and creativity, making your emails memorable. For example, a wine shop might use, "We're not trying to be vine, but our new selection is grape!" This type of humor pairs nicely with brands known for a lighthearted tone.

Sparking curiosity with an unexpected request: Piper Lou

A subject line that poses an unexpected request or presents a peculiar statement can spark curiosity and compel readers to open the email to learn more. For instance, Piper Lou's approach of using intriguing questions or statements in their subject lines, such as "Is this the best we can do?" challenges readers' expectations and piques their interest, making them wonder about the content of the email.

Pop culture-related subject lines

Leveraging pop culture references in your email subject lines can immediately grab your audience's attention, especially if it's timely and relevant to their interests. This strategy taps into the shared knowledge and experiences of your audience, creating a sense of connection and relatability. A subject line like "May the Sales Be With You" during a Star Wars movie release period can engage fans and encourage opens.

Funny subject lines best practices to improve your email campaign performance

To ensure your funny subject lines enhance your email campaign's performance, consider the following best practices:

  • Know Your Audience: Humor is subjective, so it's crucial to understand what makes your target audience laugh. Avoid jokes that might be too niche, controversial, or potentially offensive.
  • Keep It Relevant: Ensure your humor is relevant to the email content. Misleading subject lines might get opens, but they can lead to disappointment and mistrust.
  • Test and Learn: Use A/B testing for your subject lines to see what type of humor resonates best with your audience. This data can guide your future campaigns.
  • Balance Humor with Clarity: While being funny is the goal, make sure your subject line still conveys the essence of your email's content. Clarity should not be sacrificed for the sake of a joke.
  • Be Mindful of Timing: Timing can significantly affect how a humorous subject line is received. Be sensitive to current events and cultural moments to avoid appearing tone-deaf.

Incorporating these elements into your email marketing strategy can help you create funny email subject lines that not only entertain but also strengthen your brand's relationship with its audience. By making your recipients laugh or even just smile, you're more likely to engage them and keep them looking forward to your emails, ultimately boosting your open rates and campaign success.

Boost Open Rates with These Funny Email Subject Lines!

Real-World Chuckles: Examples That Worked

The effectiveness of funny email subject lines in boosting open rates and engagement is well-documented, and some brands have truly mastered this art. Let's dive into a few real-world examples that not only captured attention but also achieved their marketing goals, providing us with valuable insights into how humor can be a powerful tool in email marketing.

"Hey, We Need to Talk..." (Missguided)

This subject line from Missguided cleverly plays on the phrase often associated with serious conversations, immediately sparking curiosity and concern. However, upon opening the email, recipients were greeted with a lighthearted promotion or an update, relieving the initial tension with humor and likely leaving a positive impression. This approach works by leveraging the element of surprise and relief to create a memorable interaction with the brand.

"C'mon, it's Friday and You're Killing Time Anyway" (RebelsMarket)

RebelsMarket hit the nail on the head with this subject line by acknowledging a common truth: by Friday afternoon, many people are winding down and more receptive to distractions. It's relatable, slightly cheeky, and invites recipients to engage with the content on a more personal level. This subject line stands out in a crowded inbox by speaking directly to the reader's current situation, making it an effective way to drive engagement.

"The Email Marketing Activity Book for Kids"

This fictional subject line, inspired by the creativity seen in actual campaigns, illustrates how absurdity can be a potent tool in capturing attention. Imagine receiving an email with this subject line; the sheer incongruity would likely compel you to open it out of curiosity. Inside, you could find interactive content or humorous comparisons that draw parallels between simple children's activities and email marketing tactics, making the content both entertaining and educational.

50 examples of funny email subject lines (and preview texts) fresh from the Ongage Team's inboxes

While listing all 50 examples would exceed our scope, this idea showcases the variety and creativity that marketers can employ to engage their audience. Some standout strategies include:

  • Pun Intended: Using puns related to the product or service, like a bakery sending out "We knead you to check this out!" It's a simple, effective way to bake humor into your message.
  • Pop Culture References: Tapping into popular movies, TV shows, or memes with lines like "Winter is here... and so are our deals!" This approach connects your brand with familiar entertainment, making your emails more relatable.
  • Playful Threats: "Open this email, or we'll resend it every day for a week." It's a bold move but done in jest, it can make people laugh and appreciate your brand's personality.
  • Absurdities and Exaggerations: "How to survive a zombie apocalypse with our new product line." Over-the-top subject lines like this grab attention because they're unexpected and imaginative.

These examples demonstrate that funny email subject lines can take many forms, from playful jests to clever wordplays and everything in between. The key to their success lies in their ability to resonate with the audience, sparking curiosity, amusement, or even a sense of camaraderie between the sender and the recipient.

Incorporating humor into your email marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of your brand's voice, your audience's preferences, and the timing of your messages. When done correctly, funny email subject lines can significantly enhance your campaign's performance, making your emails a highlight in your recipients' inboxes. Whether you're aiming to drive sales, boost engagement, or simply keep your audience entertained, a well-crafted funny subject line can be your ticket to achieving these goals while also enriching your brand's relationship with its audience.

Addressing Your Audience: The Do's and Don'ts

In the realm of email marketing, understanding how to effectively communicate with your audience is paramount. While humor can be a powerful tool to enhance engagement, it's essential to navigate its use carefully to maintain a balance between entertaining and addressing the needs of your audience. Here are some guidelines to ensure your funny email subject lines hit the right note without undermining your message's value or professionalism.

Customer Pain Points Email Subject Lines

Addressing customer pain points in your email subject lines can significantly increase open rates. This strategy involves identifying common challenges or frustrations that your audience faces and suggesting that your email contains a solution or relief. When done correctly, this approach not only grabs attention but also positions your brand as empathetic and solution-oriented. However, incorporating humor into these subject lines requires a delicate touch. The goal is to lighten the mood or add a playful twist without belittling the problem. For instance, a subject line like "Feeling Overwhelmed? Let's Simplify Your Life" combines a light-hearted approach with a promise to address a genuine concern, making it effective and appealing.

❌ DON'T: Use jokes as a distraction from the email content

While funny email subject lines can attract more opens, they should not mislead the reader about the email's content. The humor used in the subject line should be relevant and lead smoothly into the main message of the email. Misalignment between the subject line's tone and the email body can lead to disappointment or confusion, potentially harming your brand's credibility and subscriber trust. Therefore, ensure that any humor or witty remarks in the subject line accurately reflect the email's content or the solution you're offering.

❌ DON'T: Overthink your open rates

It's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of high open rates, but it's crucial to remember that the ultimate goal of your email marketing campaign is to build meaningful connections with your audience and drive engagement. While funny subject lines can be very effective in boosting open rates, they should not come at the expense of substance or relevance. Crafting subject lines that are too convoluted or trying too hard to be funny can alienate your audience. Instead, focus on clarity, relevance, and adding value to your subscribers' lives. A genuine attempt to entertain, coupled with a clear message, will resonate more deeply with your audience than forced humor.

When integrating humor into your email subject lines, always keep your audience's preferences and sensitivities in mind. A professional tone doesn't have to exclude fun, but it should guide the choice of humor to ensure it aligns with your brand's personality and the expectations of your subscribers. By addressing pain points with a touch of humor, ensuring alignment between your subject line and email content, and focusing on meaningful engagement rather than just open rates, you can create successful email campaigns that delight and provide value to your audience.

Boost Open Rates with These Funny Email Subject Lines!

Adding Personality to Your Campaigns

Injecting personality into your email campaigns not only sets your brand apart but also fosters a deeper connection with your audience. By using funny email subject lines that reflect your brand’s unique identity and tone, you can engage your subscribers in a more meaningful way. Here’s how you can add a personal touch that encourages readers to look forward to your emails.

"You have this in common with Steve Jobs"

This subject line cleverly piques curiosity and draws parallels between the recipient and a renowned figure, Steve Jobs. It's not just about the humor but also about making the reader feel part of an exclusive group. This technique works well because it blends admiration with curiosity, encouraging the reader to open the email to discover what they possibly share with a visionary like Jobs. It’s a testament to how well-crafted subject lines can elevate your brand's personality, making your message compelling and personal.

"Swipe right on us."

Borrowing from the popular vernacular of dating apps, this subject line instantly modernizes your brand's image, making it relatable and fun. It suggests a casual, engaging interaction, inviting subscribers to "match" with your brand. This approach is excellent for brands targeting a younger audience or those looking to refresh their image. It encapsulates a sense of humor while cleverly inviting engagement, embodying how a simple phrase can resonate with the current cultural context and speak volumes about your brand's personality.

Contrarian comedy to make subscribers smile: Stumptown Coffee

Stumptown Coffee excels at using contrarian comedy, often taking a stance or opinion that is unexpected, to charm their audience. A subject line like "Worst Coffee Ever?" immediately grabs attention by contradicting what one would expect from a coffee company. This reverse psychology is not just humorous but intriguing, prompting subscribers to open the email out of sheer curiosity. It’s a bold strategy that reflects confidence in the brand's identity and a deep understanding of its audience's appreciation for humor. This type of comedy works because it's unexpected, engaging, and provides a fresh perspective that entertains while subtly highlighting product quality.

Enticing subscribers to entertain educational content: Snowfeet

Snowfeet, a company known for its innovative snow skates, uses funny email subject lines to make educational content more appealing. For instance, "How to Not Fall on Your Face" combines humor with practical advice, turning what could be a standard educational piece into an entertaining read. This approach not only demonstrates the brand's personality but also adds value to the reader's experience by making learning fun. It’s a clever way to engage subscribers, encouraging them to explore content they might otherwise overlook.

Incorporating humor and personality into your email marketing campaigns does more than just boost open rates; it builds a brand identity that your audience can relate to and appreciate. By crafting subject lines that are both funny and reflective of your brand's tone, you create a memorable experience that encourages readers to engage with your content. Whether through clever comparisons, cultural references, contrarian humor, or entertaining educational content, adding personality to your campaigns can significantly enhance your connection with your target audience.

Leveraging Humor for Different Goals

Humor, when done right, can be a powerful tool in email marketing, serving various strategic goals from enhancing engagement to reinforcing your business image. Here are ways brands have successfully harnessed humor to achieve different objectives, illustrating the versatility and impact of well-crafted funny emails.

Going to excess to engage amusement: Conscious Step

Conscious Step, a company known for its ethically produced socks, often takes its humor to excess to captivate its audience. With subject lines like, "Socks that Save Penguins - Flippers Not Included," they manage to blend their mission with a dose of amusement. This approach not only highlights the uniqueness of their products but also makes the brand more relatable and memorable. By going over the top, Conscious Step effectively engages their audience's amusement, driving higher open rates and fostering a strong connection with their mission. This strategy demonstrates how humor, especially when tied to a brand’s purpose, can make marketing messages more engaging and impactful.

Intriguing subscribers with the unexpected: Glossier

Glossier, a beauty brand celebrated for its minimalist approach, excels in intriguing subscribers by pairing beauty with the unexpected. Subject lines like, "Is this the secret to Beyoncé's glow?" immediately spark curiosity. By leveraging the unexpected, they tap into the recipient's desire to discover beauty secrets of the stars, cleverly tying it back to their products. This approach not only captures attention but also aligns perfectly with the brand's image of providing insider beauty knowledge. It's a prime example of how sparking curiosity with humor can lead to heightened engagement, drawing the audience closer to the brand's world.

You still can add fun to your business image

Adding humor to your email campaigns is a testament to the versatility of your business image. It shows that behind the products or services, there's a human touch. A company known for its professional services, for instance, might send out an email with a subject line like, "We're like accountants, but cooler." This not only breaks the monotony but also dismantles the preconceived notion that certain industries can't partake in humor. It's a strategic move to humanize your brand, making it more approachable and distinct from competitors. This approach reassures businesses that regardless of their sector, incorporating fun into their image can enhance their appeal without compromising professionalism.

You can find email subject jokes that land

Finding the right joke that resonates with your audience without offending or confusing them is crucial. It involves understanding your audience's preferences, cultural references, and the fine line between funny and inappropriate. For instance, a tech company could use, "Why did the smartphone go to therapy? Because it lost its connection." This is a lighthearted, relatable joke that plays on common experiences while subtly emphasizing the importance of connectivity. It demonstrates that with a bit of creativity and insight into your audience's humor, you can craft email subject lines that are both amusing and relevant. This strategy is about striking the right balance to ensure your humor aligns with your brand's voice and audience expectations, ultimately achieving your ultimate goal of engaging and connecting with your subscribers.

Leveraging humor in your email campaigns can serve multiple goals, from enhancing your business image to engaging your audience with unexpected twists. The key is to understand your audience deeply and to align your humorous content with your brand's identity and mission. By doing so, you can create memorable, effective email campaigns that entertain, engage, and resonate with your subscribers, driving not just open rates but also a genuine connection with your brand.

Boost Open Rates with These Funny Email Subject Lines!

Funny Email Subject Lines: FAQs

What makes a catchy subject line?

A catchy subject line grabs the recipient's attention and piques their curiosity enough to open the email. It often includes elements of humor, surprise, or personalization that resonate with the reader. Creating a sense of fun or intrigue, using puns or playful language, and addressing the recipient by name can all contribute to making a subject line catchy. It should stand out in the inbox by being different from the standard fare, making someone pause and think, "I have to see what's inside!"

How do you write a killer subject line?

Writing a killer subject line involves a mix of creativity, understanding of your audience, and a bit of psychology. Here are some tips:

  • Know Your Audience: Use language and references that appeal to their interests and emotions.
  • Be Concise and Clear: Get straight to the point, but in a way that sparks curiosity. Subject lines with fewer than 50 characters tend to have higher open rates.
  • Use Action Words: Verbs and action-oriented language can make your subject line more engaging.
  • Incorporate Humor: When appropriate, a funny or witty subject line can make your email stand out.
  • Create Urgency or FOMO: Phrases that suggest time sensitivity or the fear of missing out can prompt quicker opens.
  • Personalize: Including the recipient's name or other personalized information can increase the open rate.

What is a catchy subject line for last day email?

For a last day email, something that combines nostalgia, humor, or a light-hearted farewell works well. Examples include:

  • "Out of Office Forever: My Last Day Adventure!"
  • "Free at Last! Celebrating My Last Day"
  • "It's Not Goodbye, It's See You in the Spam Folder!"

These subject lines give a sense of closure while also keeping the tone positive and engaging, encouraging recipients to open the email and read your farewell message.

Conclusion: The Last Laugh

Bringing humor into email marketing, through witty and funny email subject lines, isn't just about making recipients chuckle—it's a strategic move to boost engagement and open rates. The impact of humor on email marketing is profound, serving not only to entertain but also to build a memorable brand identity that resonates with audiences on a personal level. Adding humor to email subject lines is an art that, when done right, significantly increases the chances of your emails being opened and read.

Humor works because it cuts through the monotony of an overcrowded inbox, offering a moment of relief and a spark of joy. It's about creating fun in a context where it's least expected—business emails. This unexpectedness is precisely what captures attention, driving higher open rates and fostering a stronger connection between brand and audience. The ultimate goal of incorporating funny email subject lines into your marketing strategy is to enhance audience engagement, making your brand not just seen but remembered and appreciated.

Incorporating humor into your email marketing campaigns can transform the way your audience perceives your brand, turning every email sent into a potential moment of delight. However, it's crucial to align this humor with your brand's identity and the preferences of your target audience to ensure it hits the mark. When done thoughtfully, adding humor to your email campaigns is a powerful tool to stand out in a crowded digital space, making your messages eagerly anticipated moments of joy in your recipients' day.

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