Top 5 Most Annoying Email Subject Lines

Writing an effective email subject line that compels your subscribers to open your email message is an art. You have about 50 characters, give or take, to grab their attention and encourage action.

Lately there's been a bit of a buzz around the 'net about the use of deception by well-known Internet Marketers. Deceptive subject lines that "trick you" into opening their emails, only to leave you saying... whatever! 🙄

And so - drumroll please - here are the Top 5 email subject lines currently being used that are the absolute most annoying, and least effective (at least on me)...

1) A Mass Email that starts with "RE:..."
Do you really think I actually believe you are replying to an email I sent to you? Not - try again. Unless you are emailing subscribers from your Memory Loss Support Group, you're not likely to fool anyone with this one.

2) "Payment Notification"
Which is not a notification of payment at all, but some long spiel about how you can start receiving emails with that subject line if you just sign up today...

3) "Lynn, can you do me a quick favor?"
In the same category as "I need your help" and "Hi Lynn, JV Proposal" when any of the 3 are really a mass email going out to thousands of people, containing nothing more than a sales pitch.

4) Vague
Subject lines that are short and vague and leave you with absolutely no idea what the email might be about, forcing you to open it and read yet another sales pitch. And it might have even been an offer I would have been interested in, if I wasnt so annoyed with the subject line.

5) "Do This Now"
Or "watch this immediately" or "Important!" or any other variation. I'll check it out when I darn well please, and not a minute before. Lame attempt at creating a sense of urgency, if you ask me.

I know what you're saying... They use these shady subject lines because they work. Well I'm here to tell you, they dont work on me. And I have all but stopped opening these emails altogether, except to find the unsubscribe link.

Marketers that use deceptive tactics are trading short term returns for long term damage. It may work the first time, or for a short time, but in the long run it will surely damage their reputation and any potential trust with their target market.

Hey, here's a genius idea: Have something useful to say that I might actually want to open and read. I should think that's much easier than coming up with ways to trick me into reading junk!

Got your own gripes with email subject lines? Let us know!
FYI, Kidino started it 😉


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. I am also stunned by the annoying subject lines I receive. If they do trick me into opening it, I surely am not going to do business with someone who has deceived me... The payment notifications are super annoying...

  2. Elmer Botha says

    I also receive some of these newsletters and they are not my only concern. I recently bought a highly-pitched product from one of these 'associates' and can honestly say I was not impressed. It is certainly a case of over promising and hugely under delivering.

    If you are going to manipulate me, which I am fine with, at least deliver on your promises.

  3. Not only are we getting SPAM like this, but VIRUSES too! Do not be fooled!

  4. Viruses too? From the emails, or from products you have downloaded?

  5. My most annoying subject header is: "Receipt for your subscription payment" as that means another month of hard graft just zoomed passed! My fav one though is "Congratulations - There's a Check on the way." ...sigh, if only those would come in at the Spam nanosec pace! 🙂

  6. How about the old "Oops, I sent you the wrong link" line? I just delete those right away. At the moment, I´m getting 3-5 per day and some of them are the same internet marketer over and over again! Wouldn´t you think that he/she would take a little more care with sending out emails that have links in them?

  7. Agreed!

  8. Oh Amen to this post! Yeah, like you said, they may work short term but it only takes me one or two times until I too subscribe to the list of unsubs!

    And Lynn, since it was mentioned and you kind of questioned it ... The "virus" messages like this. She's right. There is a lot of virus messages sent out (not by these list owners) but rather actual viruses. The popular ones lately are ones that have RE: like it's a reply to an email you've sent. I believe that's probably what she's talking about.

    And do you think that I can come up with a famous subject line that drives me crazy? Not right at the moment. But, give me a little time ... I'm sure one will come through soon enough!

  9. Sandra Sims says

    Here's another one... "Your Unsubscribe Confirmation." I just unsubscribed, which means I want no more email, period!

  10. Ohhh - Good one! 😆 I agree with you there. It has always stumped me as to why they need to send that one last note!

Leave a Reply


Get My Internet Business & Smart Marketing Diaries - Free!