For Great Email Open Rates, Secret’s in the Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing subscribers see. It determines whether or not your email is opened or trashed. But it’s often the very last thing that’s addressed in the process of building a marketing email or email newsletter – almost an afterthought. The subject line is one of the most important elements of your email marketing and can make or break the success of a campaign. Here are a few tips for writing email subject lines that drive email opens.

Mix it up

Familiarity can be your enemy when it comes to subject lines. If you use the same standard subject line with every email, you run the risk of blending into the crowd. Your subject line is your email’s first impression. If you continue to put the same generic face on, how will anyone ever know that your content is fresh – or interesting? And if you didn’t wow someone with your last email, this is your opportunity for a clean slate. Take advantage and spend time crafting creative and engaging subject lines for every email you send.

Keep it short

Pick one compelling message and stick to it. I often see email subject lines that are trying to touch on several different points. Those ones are easier to ignore because it’s harder for the recipient to zero in on the message while they’re scanning through their inbox. If you’re sending a newsletter that touches on several topics, pick the strongest one and use that. Just be sure to position this topic in first place when you arrange your content.

Make them say “hmmm…tell me more”

Nothing makes someone want to click more than curiosity. If you can craft a subject line that piques interest while hinting to what’s inside, you get a gold star. And lots of opens. This exercise may take time, but it’s worth it. Just be sure to keep it honest. Don’t try to fool people. If you do, you’ll end up with annoyed subscribers that become unsubscribes. Unless it’s April 1st. You can have a pass on April 1st so long as you’re creative about it. Funny can work in your favor, depending on the audience and subject matter.

No Yelling

Our brains have been trained to see “yelly” subject lines as spam. Avoid using all-caps at all costs.

A/B test

Almost every email service provider comes with A/B split testing functionality built right in so it’s easy to test two subject lines on a set segment of the list. Once the winner is clear, the best subject line can be used on the remaining portion of the list. Experimentation is key.

Don’t be afraid to be funny or shocking – so long as it’s appropriate for your audience and content. Tips and tricks aside, it’s important to step back and put yourself in the shoes of your subscribers. If you can do that, chances are you can nail the subject line.