Let’s say the title of this post was an email subject line that just popped in your inbox. How likely would you be to open it?
Chances are pretty good, it’s interesting right? Especially if you compared it to another one that read “FW: hello we kindly REQUEST that you learn BEST PRACTICES for email subject lines!!!” It makes me die a little more inside every day when I see how badly marketers still fumble on their subject lines.
Your subject line is the elevator pitch of your overall marketing campaign. If you can’t entice the reader right away, you’re getting trashed. Studies show that 69% of email recipients mark a message as spam based on the subject alone, so all that work you did crafting a beautiful, templated message within has completely gone to waste. It’s not even always your audience that’s manually deleting your junk either – spam filter algorithms are evolving, and they treat bad writing like the crap it is.
Just like the rest of your marketing materials, your subject lines should speak to your audience’s pain points and offer a solution, BUT also different enough to ensure the gal on the other end is intrigued enough to open it.
They’re a vital part of your campaign, so give them the respect they deserve by budgeting time to craft them, version and A/B test them. Don’t be afraid to speak to emotion more than product or service offering. If you’re already thinking, “but this is just an email subject line,” then you’re going to do it wrong.
So let’s go back to the example in the headline and examine a few subject line best practices found within.
For one, it’s short.
As a wise sage once said about inboxes, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” Attention spans are shrinking by the second, so if your subject line is cut off by the dreaded ellipses (think mobile as well as desktop!), it feels sales-y and it’s not getting opened. Aim for fifty-ish characters or fewer.
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A rose by any other name
While addressing a recipient by name used to increase open rates, that’s just not the case anymore. But that doesn’t mean your subject can’t intimately connect with your reader.
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Ask and you may receive
Asking a question is one such way to pique interest. If your target customer takes the extra second to think of an answer to a question they maybe hadn’t considered before, they’re engaged and more likely to open your content.
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Send to the RIGHT audience
Another best practice for personalization is to segment by region or audience. Right away, your recipient knows the content within will be personally relevant to them. Not to mention, it does a great job of catching their eye. Everyone loves a hometown shoutout.
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When was the last time you had fun writing email subjects? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – would an alliterative line draw you in? How about a rhyme? Heck, even a made up word like “Emailageddon” will at least elicit a double-take. Treat subject line crafting like a creative writing assignment and you’ll be guaranteed to deliver something unique.
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Don’t get too crazy
Be careful of getting too clever with it and confusing the reader, though. A good practice is to think of the email itself as the punchline, and the subject as the setup. Reward the recipient for choosing your email out of the thousands they get in their inbox.
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Of course, given that brevity is the soul of wit, you won’t be able to incorporate all tips for higher open rates in every subject line. As a marketing manager, it’s important to develop an overall strategy for writing these – you’ll be steps ahead of marketers who view this deceptively simple step as unnecessary. As relevant as email marketing still is to overall campaign success, whether or not you get those valuable opens is a matter of researching trends, being adaptable and constantly testing your ideas.
Sent from my iPhone.
(Oh, and don’t do that.)
Meet Natasha Ness
With a background in both graphic design and adult education and training, Natasha brings a unique creative eye to everything she’s apart of. Using both her analytics skills and artistic know-how, she can quickly synthesize raw content/data and convert it into anything from an infographic, an informative video, a snazzy new user interface, maybe even a cute animation or really anything else you can think of! Natasha has an extreme passion for marketing, education, and the user experience that helps take LeadMD and their clients to the next level.