Which of these subject lines did you use this year?

Did anyone receive an “unprecedented” number of emails from March onwards this year?

I certainly did! All from businesses I regularly buy from, and some from businesses I have bought from once in my life. They were getting in touch to tell me how
they were planning to serve me as a customer during the pandemic.

On trawling through my archived emails (there were a lot!), I have identified three themes and wanted to share them with you.

This will help you see what businesses have been doing more widely and see where you fit in.

Before we start, let’s put this to the front of our minds….

Customers want to understand “what’s in it for me”.

Customers want to feel understood and valued.


Victoria Williams

Victoria Williams
Founder & CEO

The Three Key Themes

1. Corporate

What I found fascinating, was that the majority of email subject lines fell into this category.

Business-like, corporate, professional.

Even in times where we have tech companies who have slides in their offices, we see many businesses that are compelled to put on a ‘professional’ front.

Or maybe little thought has been put in the subject line?

The problem is that we decide whether to open the email based on the subject line. So if the subject line is not enticing, it won’t be opened.

Here are the subject lines:


“A message from the CEO”

“A message from the Director-General on the changes we are making”

“Keeping you up-to-date through COVID-19”

For me, these subject lines don’t relate to the experience that we have all had this year. They look like a quarterly business up-date and come across quite cold. I don’t need to feel warm and fuzzy inside when reading emails from businesses, but I would at least like to feel like the current situation had been acknowledged.

It’s safe to say I did not even open these emails, let alone read them.

2. Thinking of You

“From our family to yours”

“Pulling together to help out local communities”

“A little note from us to you”

“Taking the right steps to continue to protect you”

“Victoria, more available delivery slots for you”

These subject lines are more focused on the customer and follow the “what’s in it for me?” principle.

They are much more personal and connected and centre around caring for customers.


3. Quirky/Fun

And lastly, the quirky and the fun. Out of all of the emails I received, these are the ones I loved the most and you will see why.

They understood where I was at as on a human level and presented this year in a way that was entirely relatable.  Human to human.

I decided to share the subject line and the imagery from these two emails in this category.

Email Headings Lockdown Dog

"Another dreaded COVID up-date (sorry)"

I absolutely love the subject line as it recognises that all of us have received so many emails and so many Covid updates. They chose to present their Covid update in a light-hearted way which made it really relatable.

This makes you want to open the email, and what a treat to find inside!

Love that they have decided to create a little bit of fun through the use of such a simple image.

"A message from the Prime Minister"

How can you not open this email.  It is obvious that Boris has sent you a direct email, but the subject line is builds intrigue which makes you want to open it.

And on opening this email you are not disappointed. What a fantastic way to present this information to customers and the copy has proven presented so creatively – as if quoted from the Prime Minister himself.

Email Headings Prime Minster

So, where do your email subject lines fit within these themes – we’d love to hear from you.

Next week I will be taking a look at the content within emails.  I will share with you some examples so that you can see the differences in approach this year.

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