The subject line of an email may be the most important part of any email marketing campaign. While it certainly isn’t the biggest part (read on to learn about length), the subject line determines whether or not the rest of the email campaign will even be seen by the recipient.
Emails with awesome subject lines get opened, read, and maybe even saved for future reference. Emails with awful subjects make the recipient delete the email or worse, mark it as spam or unsubscribe from your mailing list.
A concise, attractive subject line can improve your open rate and lead to more of your subscribers clicking through to your website and landing pages. Think about what the recipient wants and is looking for in your email marketing messages, and make sure this is conveyed in your subject line. Read on for more tips to improve the open rates of your emails.
- Avoid words that will land you in the ‘Spam’ folder. - The ‘Spam’ folder is somewhere that no brand wants to end up, ever. No matter how great your email marketing content is, it won’t get seen if the recipients’ email clients think your email is spam. Certain words in subject lines are more likely to trigger spam filters than others. Words to avoid are: free, reminder, help, special, act now, and percent off/% off. (Tweet this tip)
- Include timely information. – Including timely information will make the recipients feel like they should open the email sooner rather than later. If they decide to open it later, it will get pushed further down in the inbox where they’re more likely to forget about it. (Tweet this tip)
- Keep it short. – There are lots of reasons to keep your subject line short. Inboxes usually cut off subject lines at a certain number of characters, readers may think all the information they need is in that long subject, etc. MailChimp suggests a general rule of thumb of keeping subject lines 50 characters or less. (Tweet this tip)
- Use a call-to-action. – Not only should your emails have a call-to-action, one should be included in the subject as well. What will the recipient get out of opening your email? For example, “Take a look at our spring collection” is a more actionable subject line than “Our new spring collection,” which could mean more than one thing. It could be introducing the line, or updating the recipient about the collection, such as that it’s sold out or gone. (Tweet this tip)
- Be clear. – No one likes a bait and switch. If your subject line mentions something, make sure it’s included in the email. This also requires being very clear, so that the subject line won’t be easily misinterpreted. Even if you’re not pulling a straight up bait and switch, a recipient will think you are if they misinterpret the email’s subject line. (Tweet this tip)
- Localize it. – Put a local spin on your email marketing when possible. Use contact list segmenting to cater emails to specific areas. For example, if a retailer is opening up a bunch of new stores, instead of mentioning that 50 new locations are opening in the subject line, use the segmented subject to mention the store location nearest to the recipient. (Tweet this tip)
- Be unique. – Don’t repeat subject lines. Even a weekly or monthly newsletter can contain unique information in the subject line. Instead of just making the subject “Weekly Newsletter,” include a hint of what this week’s newsletter contains. If you’re following up on a previous email, find a new way to word the subject or offer additional information. (Tweet this tip)
- Don’t yell at your readers. – Writing in all caps not only annoys readers, it may also trigger spam filters. (Tweet this tip)
- Don’t be overly promotional. – From time to time, you’re going to need to send an email to promote something. But promotional emails already don’t perform as well as other marketing messages, so tread carefully. Instead of trying hard to sell something, show it to your recipients and just make them want it. (Tweet this tip)
- Personalize it. – Adding the recipient’s first name to the beginning of every subject line is obvious and wastes precious space in your 50 character subject. Instead, include their name on special occasions (i.e. “Happy birthday, Thomas!”) and learn more about them. If most of what the recipient buys from you is clothing, mention clothes in the subject line. (Tweet this tip)
What sort of subject lines do you stick to? Have you noticed any other patterns with your subscribers?
By Brittany Berger