Newsflash: stuffy, boring subject lines are out. Relatable, authentic content is in. As trust becomes a key issue in modern-day media, we need to show our customers that we too can be trusted – and we can only do that by being real.

So, how does this come across in email marketing? It’s one of the most challenging ways to convey your brand – you’ve got limited time and a short subject line. The answer? Make ‘em laugh.

Why humour will appeal to your audience

Humour unites us all – it relieves stress, alleviates anxiety and makes us feel comfortable with one another. It’s no wonder it’s so common in modern marketing.

When it comes to email marketing, these cheeky subject lines will help you score those quick wins.

1. Nail the sale with shock tactics.

“You’re not an idiot. So why act like one?”

Potentially insulting our customer base might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s eyebrow-raising enough to open. Once they open it and see how your product stands out from the rest, they’ll realise they’ve been doing it wrong all along. Case in point – why would you spend hours manually filing invoices when you could just use X software?

Promo like a pro.

“We both know you’re not working.”

Subject lines like SALE SALE SALE are only going to land you in junk boxes. Instead, appeal to your reader’s inner procrastinator. This subject line is ideal for sending out on Friday afternoons when, indeed, nobody’s really working. When better to browse through your latest promotion?

2. Personalise with prophecy. 

“The stars have got big plans for you, Tommy.”

Or James or Katherine or whomever you’re targeting. Add a little mystery to those personalised subject lines by gently hinting at an offer or prize inside. It could be a personalised voucher code or a lucky dip – but first you need to pique their interest.

Re-open that abandoned basket with relatable humour.

“Unexpected item in bagging area.”

How many times have you wanted to throw the machine through the shop window when you hear that? This cheeky abandoned basket email reminder will bring a smile and invite a sale.

3. Get back with your ex – re-engage dormant customers.

“It’s not you, it’s us.”

By using the language of the long-suffering Tinder generation, you’ll connect on a far deeper, personal level. So, if your customer hasn’t engaged in a while, make it personal. Show them you miss them and give them a little incentive to come back. We all love a bribe, don’t we?

4. Let’s get topical

“Kick back with a quarantini.”

While we’re on the subject of appealing to those Generation Zs, a nice newsjacked email subject pun always works a charm. These are particularly useful if yours is a newsletter or features links to your blog. You want to encourage your readers to sit back, relax and enjoy your content.

Lacking email engagement? They say laughter is the best medicine, so try it yourself.