Did you know that 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone? Clearly, first impressions matter when it comes to email marketing.
Organizations tend to put a lot of effort into the content of the email without considering how they’re going to ignite enough interest to actually get people to click open.
Don’t let your efforts go to waste, in this post, we'll go over a few tricks for crafting compelling subject lines – as well as guidelines for testing – to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
Clarity Over Creativity
People are busy, and the number of emails they receive on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Unless you want your email to be deleted, or worse, marked as spam, you should aim for a clear subject line over a creative one.
Why does this work? Consumers aren’t looking for mystery. They want to know what to expect when they open an email and if it’s relevant to their interests. They don’t want to feel like they’re being spammed or targeted with aggressive marketing. Creative subject lines can be risky, since the recipient may not understand your wit.
So, be human and drop the corporate speak. Use language similar to what your audience would use. Keep it simple. Keep it friendly. And above all – keep it real.
When crafting your subject line, another key factor to keep in mind is that 67% of emails are opened by recipients on their mobile devices. This means short and sweet is the way to go. Aim for no more than 5 to 7 words (or about 50 characters) in your subject line to ensure you get your message across.
A Matter of Personal Taste
Segmenting audiences according to personal tastes can be a powerful and effective way to increase open rates. With advanced marketing technology, organizations now have an array of tools to learn about their subscribers’ backgrounds, hobbies, and likes vs. dislikes. This means that when sending out emails, subject lines can be tailored toward groups of recipients according to personal preferences.
A little too advanced for your taste? Personalizing your subject line could be as simple as adding the word “you.” Research suggests that while consumers have become desensitized to the impact of seeing their name in their inbox, addressing the recipient directly increases the likelihood of an email open.
If possible, personalize your sender name as well. Never use “[email protected]” Who wants to receive an email from a robot?
Adding a name of someone from your organization adds the personal touch that will make your recipient more likely to open and respond.
Testing - It's a Matter of Necessity
As advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once said, “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” The more you test, the more likely you are to see patterns emerge that can help guide your subject line creation.
The first step in testing subject lines is to decide what you want to learn about your audience’s preferences.
Here are the top 5 questions we recommend you consider:
- Which key words are likely to interest my target audience?
- Should I pose my subject line as a statement or question?
- Does including a number in the subject line increase open rates?
- Does capitalizing part of the title increase open rates?
- Are these particular recipients more likely to respond to a personalized subject line?
The most popular tool for measuring these results is A/B testing, which enables you to compare two versions of a single variable by testing the recipient’s response to “Version A” against “Version B.” For example, are more people likely to open an email with the subject line “Tips to Grow Your Business” or “Top 20 Tips to Grow Your Business”?
Conducting A/B testing and keeping track of the results in a spreadsheet can help you figure out which version is best.
Our Top 5 Tips for Jazzing Up Your Subject Lines in 2018
- Start your subject line with an action-oriented verb - Treat your subject line like a call to action. Make your language enticing and you’ll inspire more people to click on your email.
- Appeal to the emotions - Convey to your recipients that your email contains information that will make their lives better, easier, or happier. Marketing research shows that eliciting urgency, curiosity or excitement are ideal options for higher open rates.
- Pose a gripping question - Try asking a compelling question that makes it hard to resist opening your email, such as “What are your customers saying?”
- Keep it clear and concise - Don’t waste people’s time making them guess what’s inside your email. Serve it straight-up and get to the point.
- Know thy audience - The more relevant the subject line is to your audience’s interests, the more likely they're going to be eager to take a look at what’s inside your email.
At the end of the day, each audience is unique - what works for one group might not work as well for another. This is why conducting tests, and knowing your recipients’ personal tastes, is an essential aspect of creating winning subject lines.
Try different subject lines and see what works. But don’t leave it up to chance. If you’ve already put the effort into writing a terrific email, make sure you have an appealing subject line to match.