How to Write the Worst Subject Line Possible

There are lots of articles about how to write a better subject line, but what if you need to burn your bridges, destroy your professional reputation and pursue a life as a perpetually shivering subsistence hermit? Who is looking out for you then?

We are.

We'll teach you to write subject lines that:

  • Get your emails marked as spam
  • Lose your business's hard earned customers and email subscribers
  • Destroy your brand's Goodwill
  • Are personally embarrassing
  • Are just plain ignored
  • And more!

Let's dive right in:


Ah, all caps. The digital equivalent of yelling at a nun in a library.

If you're pressed for time and need to make sure that you'll never work in the digital marketing industry again, make your subject line all caps today.

It'll result in a massive number of unsubscribes and spam complaints. Your boss will hate you!

When someone opens their inbox to a subject like one of these:




They won't be able to hit the "Mark As Spam" button fast enough.

If you really wanted to up the ante, you could also capitalize every other letter:

I'm ApPlYiNg FoR tHe BuSiNeSs DeVeLoPeMeNt PoSiTiOn.

I'm not going to lie. It physically pained me to write that. Your entire list is likely to unsubscribe if you use this tactic and many may sue for permanent blindness and diminished reading capacity.

Even capitalizing a single word in an email subject is often enough to severely hurt open rates and get your email dropped. So don't hold back!

2. Write a subject line that's comparable to an essay in size. We're talking hundreds of words here. In fact, you can just take the body of your email and put it in the subject. That's perfect.

Nowadays, most recipients will read your email on a mobile device. The beauty here is that a mobile device only displays 25-30 characters of an email's subject line before being cut off.

For reference, here are 25 characters:

Your subject line is bad!

Not a lot of real estate to work with. But that's perfect if you intend to create an absolutely terrible subject line. The key here is to stuff as much useless information as possible in your first few words. Most beginners will use a subject like this:

50% off of everything! Hurry up! Only 5 days left on our biggest summer sale ever!

TIP: Use the Subject Line Analyzer to make sure your subjects are as butchered and cut off as possible.

Which isn't bad. You gain points for getting the tail end of the subject line cut off on mobile, but mobile users will still see that there's a 50% sale. A pro at terrible headlines will write something more like this:

OMG Hurry Up! You've only got 5 days to take 50% off everything!

That may look like a good subject at first glance, but you relize just how terrible it is when you look on mobile:

OMG Hurry Up! You've only g...

Perfect. Start filling the beginning of your subject with useless info like that and you'll be well on your way to abysmal email marketing results.

3. You know, just kind of like sorta get around to the point?

Another way pros make email subject lines terrible is to keep them vague; Using a subject line like:

Beige is the New Black

This gives the reader 0 clue as to what the email could contain, perfect to keep them guessing! Bonus points if you also make your send from name vague as well!

4. Use as many spammy & salesy words as possible

As a great philosopher once said: "Choose your words carefully Persian." - it's self evident that your word choices in a subject line matter.

If you're not careful though, your email will sail right past the spam bucket and the Promotions tab to land squarely in your subscribers priority inbox.

It's easy to get complacent and just start referencing male enhancement pills in your subject line. If you're going to go out, go out in style.

One of the easiest ways to sentence your email to death is to include the word 'Free' anywhere in the subject line.

There's too many to list here, but you can use the analyzer - to see if you already included some in your subject.

5. <No Subject>

No, we didn't forget the subheading. The easiest way to create a terrible subject line is to simply not create one at all.

Your email will show up in their inbox labeled with a beautiful <No Subject>. This will result in the total confusion of all your email recipients leaving many of them with few options but to delete the email and never see it again.

If you wanted to spice things up a bit, you could also make your title: "<No Subject>" this would serve to only confuse your recipients more and may even result in unsubscribes for your email newsletter! Success!

But, let's be honest here. This is low hanging fruit, and the rewards for not including a subject line are relatively small.

Unsubs, ignored emails? That's beginner stuff. If you want to burn your list to ash, you'll need to think bigger.

6. Abuse the #&!@^$* out of your punctuation!!!!!!!

Another tactic you can use to create one of the worst subject lines is to abuse punctuation. Using more than one exclamation point, too many commas, and other punctuation can have multiple negative effects.

For one, it can be the same as using all caps. You'd be yelling at your recipients. And if you go overboard on periods, commas, or some other form of punctuation it could become difficult to read.

More subtly, excessive punctuation is something typically used by low value ecommerce offers and spam. That extra comma you include may pitch your email into the spam bucket instead of front and center.

7. Be Purposefully Deceiving

Building trust is key to improving your open rates, so make sure you abuse that from the start. There are quite a few different tricks you can employ to make people hate you.

First, you can include a fake reply or forward in your subject line. Putting FWD: or RE: at the beginning of the subject line is a perfect way to tick recipients off. You'll boost short term open rates while destroying any goodwill you have left at this point.

For a brutal in-depth description of why this is a bad tactic, read: Why you Shouldn't use RE in Subject Lines

Next, you could just plain lie in the subject line. Using a subject like "Get 75% off of all products" and then not having any products on sale is a perfect way to deceive your audience.

This method could even be considered illegal. Lawsuits inbound!


Obviously this article was written humorously. Please don't do anything mentioned above, in fact you should do the exact opposite. 

Some of the things mentioned above could actually land you/your company in legal trouble.

To be on the safe side, use a subject line analyzer to ensure that each email you send out achieves maximum results.

P.S. If you found this useful, you're going to love our Email Subject Line Tester

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If you like this article, you'll like our Subject Line Tester