Your email’s subject line is the gatekeeper of your email campaign. When you invest hours of work into getting the segmentation right and nailing the email copy, you absolutely want your email to get read!
The average person gets dozens of emails every day – and this may include coupons, newsletters, social media notifications, password resets, lead nurturing emails, invitation to parties, and so on. It’s a lot of material to sift through, never mind open, and most people open the emails based on how effective the subject line is.
People’s inboxes are always full of messages so it’s all too easy for them to hit Delete without a second thought; yet email can be a powerful tool when used to market your business. Subject lines that convey a sense of urgency tend to have higher open rates than say, those that offer freebies, and the use of first names has been found to increase the open rate by a small margin.
But there’s a lot more to subject lines than first names, and knowing which factors affect open rates can help you draft effective emails. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:
1. Localize And Personalize
You’ve probably come across basic personalization in email marketing- “Hey John, would you like..” It’s pretty common nowadays and perhaps a little overused but that does not mean you shouldn’t personalize your subject lines. You get a better effect when you use customer attributes and actions to tailor your emails. Remember the following:
- Use first and last name
- Modify the subject line based on the recipient’s location
- Mention their actions on the website- favorite features, what they’ve been up to, etc
- Clothing stores are very specific to gender when highlighting products
2. Be Very Specific
Whether you’re sending notifications or direct updates, you need to be clear about each campaign and your objectives. However, being upfront doesn’t necessarily mean revealing everything the email is about, but assuming you’re targeting specific segments, then you need to point that out in the subject line.
It might sound counter-productive to let people know why you’re sending them emails but it’s actually the best way to get their attention and get click-throughs.
3. Take Time To Build Momentum
Auto-responders are very effective at sustaining a life-cycle email marketing campaign. The series makes it easier for you to present yourself to the recipients and allow you to build momentum, because you shouldn’t just email people out of nowhere.
Informative subject lines can be used in a series to build momentum and increase your email conversions but unfortunately most businesses send less emails than they could for fear of annoying their recipients. If the emails are relevant and helpful, you shouldn’t worry about annoying the readers.
4. Test Everything!
You may have read that short subject lines are more effective at boosting opens: it’s one of the many marketing quotes thrown around but the truth is you can never be sure how true that is for your own audience. Subject lines are relative to your audience and there really isn’t any hard rule when it comes to length.
To give you a better picture of what works in subject lines, here is a compilation of 7 email subject lines people went crazy about:
1. ” Hey”
When handling inbound marketing, simple subject lines have the best results. This particular example is not about a smart or short subject line, but rather the effective combination of casual personalization and the sender name paring- for instance if you received an email from the president with this subject line, you’d be curious to find out what he has to say.
You may also try paring a goofy mascot with a serious subject line.
2. “As You Wish”
Learn what makes your audience tick and employ a few psych principles to get their complete attention. For instance, this subject line was taken from a movie, The Princess Bride, and UncommonGoods used it on their buyers for a more personalized effect.
3. “Where to Drink Beer Right Now”
Okay, so not everybody loves beer, but imagine receiving this in your inbox at 18:45 on a Wednesday night? I mean, think about it: you’ve been holding it together since Monday and now you need to decompress with a few of your buddies before the weekend gets here; and then you get a notification just as you’re about to head out and it says “Where to Drink Beer Right Now”.
The timing alone makes this subject line a winner.
4. “Not Cool, Guys”
We’re not all equipped to be snarky writers but you can play around with the subject line and find a way to make it stand out.
5. “You’re Missing out”
You may have heard about FOMO, an acronym for fear of missing out; which is actually a big deal now in our interconnected society. Naturally, people don’t like to miss out on things, and a smart marketer will exploit this vanity by initiating an effective marketing campaign.
6. “DO NOT Commit These Facebook Atrocities”
No matter how reserved or down-to-earth you are, nobody likes to do things wrong.
This line spells out “DO NOT” using full caps for effect, so that way readers will notice the message in their inbox.
7. “What Can You Afford?”
This is an interesting and somewhat encouraging angle; showing your audience a bunch of products that are RIGHT on their budget. Its also kind of competitive, your audience pitting cash against what’s available on the market.
You needn’t be a psychologist to play this game; just pay attention and you’ll see a number of opportunities. Remember principles such as scarcity, urgency and social proof, and see how they boost your conversion rates.