Want a dependable way to engage your subscribers and get them to open your emails? Make ‘em laugh. A humorous subject line is a great motivator.
So, how do you write funny subject lines? Since hiring Jerry Seinfeld or Tina Fey is probably out of the question, you’ll have to channel your own inner comedian. Don’t worry; we’ll help you find your funny bone. We have four tips to help you create chuckle-worthy subject lines.
Before we start, here are some funny subject lines to use as inspiration:
- Groupon: Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)
- Eater Boston: Where to Drink Beer Right Now (Sent at 6:45am on a Wednesday)
- Fabletics: Your Butt Will Look Great in These Workout Pants
- Customer Surveys: Baby Got (Feed)back
- Edgevale: Get In Our Pants
- UrbanDaddy: You’ve Changed
- Influitive: So I’ll pick you up at 7?
- BloomThat: Better than a pumpkin spice latte!
- Gap: Mondays are suddenly AWESOME
- The Bold Italic: You’re Invited to a Wedding Expo that Doesn’t Suck!
- Pop Physique: Get Ready. Keep the Pie Off Your Thighs Returns.
- The Muse: We Like Being Used
- BuzzFeed: Yes, We’re Still Talking About Kim Kardashian’s Butt
- Movember: Growing a Moustache Can Change the World
- Groupon: There are no deals in this email
- Warby Parker: Pairs nicely with spreadsheets
- Sublime Stitching: Bummed you missed out? Console yourself…
- NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences: Show Us Yours and We’ll Show You Ours
- VerticalResponse: Happy Procrastination Day… Yesterday (We had to include one of our own.)
- Fetter’s Chocolate: Of Course These Decadent Chocolates Have Limited Calories
- Baby Bump: Yes, I’m Pregnant. You Can Stop Staring At My Belly Now.
- BuzzFeed: How’d You Get So Weird?
- WorkLife: Everyone Hates The Boss. Learn How to Smile Through It.
- Benefit Cosmetics: Do you like to watch?
- Francis Ford Coppola Winery: Forget Black Friday – Enjoy Wine Weekend
Tips for writing amusing subject lines:
1. Connect things that don’t go together
To get subscribers to crack a smile and click open on your email, try combining two things that may not necessarily fit together. The “Growing a Moustache Can Change the World,” subject line is a good example.
Try to pair your product or service with something out of the ordinary. For example, an online retailer could connect hip trends to the older generation. A subject line like, “Ten Trendy Dresses Even Your Grandmother Would Approve Of,” could get smile from your readers.
2. Use movies and song titles
Draw inspiration from movie quotes, song titles and infamous TV moments. The Customer Surveys email with the “Baby Got (Feed)back” subject line is a great example.
Think of movies that relate to your business, or famous quotes that you could incorporate into your subject line. For example, a dating service could weave the movie title, He’s Just Not That Into You, into a subject line. A bar could use the famous, “Of all the gin joints” line from Casablanca. A spa service could use Seinfeld’s “Serenity Now!” in a subject line.
3. Keep an eye on celebrity happenings
If you’re not into celebrity gossip, we won’t force you to read tabloids, but celebrities are always good for a faux pas here and there. From fashion fails on the red carpet to odd occurrences like Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” rant, Hollywood can provide material for a subject line or two.
4. Be blunt
Sometimes stating the obvious is funny. People tend to skirt some issues and sugarcoat others to avoid hurt feelings, but it’s okay to be brutally honest on occasion as long is it’s appropriate for your biz. The subject line from WorkLife, “Everyone Hates The Boss. Learn How to Smile Through It,” is a good example.
Try something similar with your business. For example, a travel agent could say, “Winter Sucks. Let ABC Travel Agent Take You Away.” Accountants can play up how awful paying taxes is; a snow removal service can talk about the burden of shoveling snow. Tell your audience the brutal truth and explain how your business can help.
A few words of caution
Humorous subject lines have a lot of benefits, but there are a few rules you’ll want to stick to.
- Don’t be offensive
If you take a joke too far, you can offend your audience. If you think your subject line is borderline offensive, don’t send it. Since humor is subjective, it’s always a good idea to run your subject line by another colleague to make sure you’re not crossing the line.
- Don’t stray from your company’s voice
You’ve worked hard to create a voice and tone for your brand. That voice can certainly have a dash of humor, but don’t stray too far. Keep your voice true to your brand.
- Humor is just another tool
As always, you want your email content and subject lines to be diverse. In other words, you don’t have to make your contacts laugh with every email. It’s just another tactic to have in your marketing toolbox.
Tell us some of your favorite funny subject lines in the comment section below.
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