Image source: Pixabay
An email subject line is the first line of text that appears next to your name in the recipient’s inbox. If you don’t put effort into writing a compelling one, it’ll also be the only thing your audience sees.
According to Hubspot’s review, 35% of recipients tend to open emails based on their assessment of the subject line. It is essential to keep in mind that most inboxes are flooded with hundreds of emails daily. That line of text can be the only thing that drives a customer to check out what your offer is all about.
It’s all about what kind of impact your words can make on the recipient. All the hard work that you’ve put into creating the most compelling and brilliant campaign won’t matter if the email never gets opened.
The overall average email open rate for all industries is 16.22%. You can boost that number by implementing some of the best practices for writing subject lines. Doing so can significantly increase the number of recipients that open and read your emails. Only after you have caught their attention with an effective subject line can the content of the email get to do its job.
Let’s get down to how you should approach writing your email subject lines.
For starters, you need to know the essential characteristics of a good subject line. This includes elements such as:
A sense of urgency
A personalized approach
A feeling of mystery
An enticing offer
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
Customers will often be driven to click on your email — and possibly take action — if they know that your offer is going to expire soon or that you’ve got a limited number of goods to sell. It is essential to be both imaginative and strategic when coming up with the right wording.
A phrase such as “Act now!” has been seen too many times before. It sounds more spammy than captivating. It is also important not to overuse this tactic. Provide limited offers only from time to time, so that you can spark genuine curiosity and enthusiasm.
Try using lines that look like this:
There’s Still Time To Save On These Exclusives
Clock’s Ticking! 50% Off 700+ Items
AI and machine learning have reached stunning technological heights, enabling marketers to personalize emails more than ever. With the help of modern email software, it is possible to utilize a massive amount of data to create a subject line that focuses on essential personal customer information, such as:
Including such info in the subject line makes it significantly more likely that the email is going to get opened. Customers appreciate the personalized approach because they love being treated as individuals. Most email marketing tools today focus on automation features that make personalizing emails a streamlined process.
Here are some personalized subject lines that can work:
NAME, This is so You and It’s 80% Off!
NAME, Thanks for Sticking with Us All this Time
A subject line that has a sense of mystery to it can capture the recipient’s natural curiosity and interest. There are a variety of ways that you can do this. One of them is telling an engaging story.
Everyone likes hearing a fascinating tale about a product or service. Your subject line should cleverly allude to it. If done right, this approach can intrigue your audience, and make them interested in what the story is all about. It is important to note that the story that you want to tell has to be relevant. Confusing recipients with random stories can only have the opposite effect on what you want them to do.
Here are some examples of intriguing subject lines:
Do You Want to Test Your Luck?
What Do the Above Have in Common?
You Can Do Better
You Are Invited
Be careful not to be too obscure in regards to your brand, because there is a high probability that your email will be seen as spam.
It is crucial to keep in mind that most of the people who subscribed to your email list did so because they want to stay informed or learn something new. This is why your email subject lines have to be relevant and opportune.
They need to focus on trending subject matters and be valuable to your recipients. Your goal is to establish yourself as an authority in your particular industry/niche. By focusing on relevant topics, your audience will be interested in hearing your point of view on the subject.
Try something like:
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If you’ve got a great offer, you can be open and direct about it. Your subscribers have already expressed an interest in your business. If you can offer something exceptional at a discount or for free, you’ve got your hook right there. The words discount and free can increase the email open rate because people won’t want to pass on an excellent deal.
You should, however, be careful with the numbers. High percentages can make the email open rate drop. This is because people tend to be suspicious when it comes to hard-to-believe discounts.
Here are some good examples of intriguing subject lines:
Your Favorite Software is on a Discount. Save Up to 45%
Tell a Friend. Get a Month Free
People like it when something is connected to a famous name that they admire, and they will often try to copy their actions. Your marketing email subject line can mention celebrities and famous events in relation to your product or service.
As long as you do it naturally, and the person/event is relevant to your brand, the subject line should be successful. Don’t mention someone for the sake of their popularity if it’s going to make your efforts look fake.
Some of the proven examples of such subject lines include:
New Beyoncé Line is Just Two Days Away
As Worn in the World Tour
Image source: Pixabay
When it comes to the style of email subject lines, there are a variety of options that work. The ones that we are going to cover are:
Humorous email subject lines
Simple and direct email subject lines
Shocking email subject lines
Numbered email subject lines
Humorous subject lines can be an excellent way to make your email stand out. You need to be careful, however, because they can also be a double-edged sword. Humor is subjective — what is funny to someone can be off-putting to someone else. It is important to have a targeted audience that you know well if you intend to use this style. This will also determine how broad your joke can be.
A subject line that says “C’mon, it’s Friday, and You’re Killing Time Anyway” is going to be understood by a wider audience. If you want to use something like “Do Gamers Dream of HTML5 Sheep?” you can only do so if you know that your recipients are science fiction fans who are going to laugh at a Blade Runner reference. Be careful so that your joke doesn’t fall on deaf ears and render the subject line pointless.
People only spend so much time deciding if they want to open and read your email. This is why, in some cases, subject lines that are clear and to the point work the best. If you have already developed a relationship with your recipients, you don’t necessarily have to sell everything to them repeatedly.
Emails that are supposed to inform customers about their orders or updates regarding the product they are using serve a particular purpose — so their subject lines need to be specific too.
Sticking to something such as “Your Order Has Been Processed. Thank You For Shopping With (Company Name)” can work just fine in this situation.
Using shock tactics in your subject lines can sometimes do the trick. If you want to hit your audience with outrageous or controversial statements, you have to be conscientious and mindful. For this style to work, you must have a considerable understanding of how your customers think and what they like.
While an email subject that says “Why a Toddler Knows More About Marketing than You” may be hard to skip over, it can also cost you customers. If you’re not confident in what you are doing and you don’t want to take a risk, don’t go for this style.
Bloggers often implement numbers and lists into their post titles. This works because our minds are drawn to numbers — they represent structure and order. It makes things easier to process and provokes curiosity. There is also the promise of something substantial and specific. The reader knows that there is going to be a list of X things that interest them.
The same logic can be applied to email subject lines. If you promise your audience a list of ten things that are going to solve their problem, they might be encouraged to hold you to your word. A solution such as “10 Marketing Predictions To Look Out For in 2021” does the job.
Image source: Glenn Carstens-Peters @Unsplash
Now that we’ve covered the essential characteristics and a variety of styles, let us go through some of the best practices for writing email subject lines, such as:
Keeping it short
Segmenting the lists
Using action-oriented verbs
Asking the right questions
Using emojis sparingly
It is essential to keep your subject lines short because they will get cut off otherwise. This is especially the case with mobile devices. If you consider that mobile accounts for up to 78% of email opens, you have to make sure that every recipient can see the whole subject line. The best solution is not to go over 50 characters.
If your target audience isn’t particularly narrow, you mustn’t use the same email subject lines for everyone. You need to segment your audience into lists and adapt the email content to each one of them. You should personalize your approach according to:
There is a significant difference between a broad subject line like “Look for New Services in Your Area” and a personalized one such as “Engineering Opportunities Available in NY.”
Email subject lines work similarly to CTAs. The language you use has to draw people to click on the email. Using action-oriented verbs can significantly boost your email open rate because it introduces a sense of urgency and makes people enthusiastic about what you’re offering. Write the subject line like you are inviting the person to do something right now — learn, sign up, download, register, purchase, etc.
Think about the buyer persona of your target audience and come up with a relevant question that will make them realize they have a problem that needs solving. The question needs to make them think, but you can also choose to pull on emotional strings or pique their curiosity. Again, be careful how you word your question so that you don’t alienate a chunk of your recipients.
It can look something like this:
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Is Your Business Making These Huge Mistakes?
Emojis are becoming a global language, so it would make sense that they can boost your open email rate. It is essential not to overuse them. The goal is for your email to stand out and communicate your message to the recipient. An adequately chosen emoji can do the job, but it should complement the subject line’s message — not make it.
You must also keep in mind that emojis have a cultural significance. For example, the “thumbs up” gesture has a positive connotation in a lot of countries, but it is offensive in Greece, Australia, Iran, Nigeria, the Middle East, and South America. If you’ve got an international audience, you might want to steer clear of emojis altogether.
Image source: Pexels
Email Subject Line Examples
When discussing the importance of personalization, we have ascertained that modern email marketing tools put a significant focus on task automation. The goal is to make the process of creating a successful email campaign as streamlined as possible. This enables human agents to concentrate on other aspects — such as coming up with engaging email subject lines. In other words, you get significantly more time to come up with creative ideas that you can easily implement into an automated email campaign.
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