Yes, good content and design are very important for a successful email marketing campaign, but what good does that do if people never open the email in the first place? That’s what a good Email Subject Line is for. Get people to read your email, and allow your campaign to be a success. Here are some tips on how to write an effective subject line:
How long should your email subject line be? 7-8 Words or 60 Characters, about as long as this header question. Your subject line will decide if subscribers open emails or not, and often you get about a second of their time to skim over the subject line and preview. Keep it short and to the point. Also, many readers are on mobile, which will cut off long subject lines.
What should I cut out of your subject line to keep it short? Filler words and information. Instead of “Order Number 932849 Has Shipped”, say “Your Goods Are on the Way”. Don’t use generic words such as Newsletter; Nobody will open “Yellow Box February Newsletter,” but “Yellow Box Makes Headlines” or “Yellow Box Introduces Livestreaming Innovation” might warrant a click.
Keep It Personal. Sender and Personalization tags have opened so many doors in Email Marketing. Putting the receiver’s name in the subject will make them more likely to open, but you can use personalization tags for so many more things, such as products viewed(Are You Still Interest in Example Product?), dates (It’s about time to change your oil), and so on. If the subject line is personalized, it will make your emails more welcoming and less corporate-y.
What Will Turn Readers Away From an Email? Use of Caps Lock and Overuse of Punctuation are big turn offs for readers. Would you more likely open “HEY OPEN THIS EMAIL RIGHT NOW!!!!!!?!” or “Hey, You Should Open This Email Right Now.”? Well, likely neither, but the second one will turn less readers away. Also avoid the “You’ll never believe…” click-bait emails. While they used to be effective, they have lust their luster with email readers.
Make Your Readers Feel Special, or in Need of Immediate Action. This pairs well with Personalization tags. If you make your readers feel more exclusive, they will be more excited to open your emails. “A Special Invitation for you” or “A Free Gift for you” might get more opens for a E-Book download than “New E-book available for download”.
Ask a Question. Questions are engaging, and can make for the perfect email subject line. Examples include “What Do Clients Have to Say About Yellow Box?” or “Did You Remember to Set Up Your Spring Appointment?”.
Don’t Be Afraid to be Creative. Email Marketing is very competitive these days, and staying out of spam folders is harder than ever. Some companies use puns, clever uses of the personalization tags, such as Heifer did in the example below,
Other Important Things to Consider: While Subject Lines are important for open rates, so are sender email addresses, send time, and preview text. Instead of sending emails from email@example.com, send them from Nicole@company.com. Make sure your preview texts are short but give readers a good idea of what to expect when they open the email. Time of day can make a big difference in open rates, and vary by industry.
What Are Matt’s Favorite Subject Lines?
Winner: “A Goat Named Matthew Bohm” – Heifer nailed use of personalization tags and creativity with this subject line. Did they get a donation? You betcha. Was a goat named after me? Unfortunately not.
“2017: The Year of Matt’s Dream Vacation” – Booking.com Used the Personalization Tags to perfection here.
“Marry Me On A Megabus?” – This warranted the first open Megabus has gotten from me.
“Do You Like Melty, Gooey, Delicious Cheese?” – Dominoes’ question is engaging, and sending it at 4pm got it in the minds of those about to order dinner.
“Nobody outgifts you. NOBODY!” – Dollar Shave Club’s pre-holiday email got my attention. This amount of caps is acceptable, but no more, please.
Be on the lookout for future Email Marketing Tips, which will teach you about Segmenting, A/B Testing, Timing, and Use of Landing Pages in Email Marketing Campaigns.