How to Write Effective Subject Lines
If you’re like most people, you spend a third of your day at work managing your emails. To be productive, you have no choice but to focus on the most valuable ones. Surely, before you open any message, you wonder whether you will waste your time. Don’t you?
Most often, your answer to this question depends on the email’s subject line. That’s why, as a marketer, you should spend some time polishing yours. Here’s how to do it.
1. Write short phrases
The shorter your subject line, the higher your engagement rate.
There is a consensus that the optimal length of a headline is three to six words. When scanning their inbox, people tend to read the first 3 and last 3 words of their messages. Thus, if you go for six words, they will read them all!
Whatever the number of words, you should strive for 15-30 characters. That way, your subject line will appear entirely on your subscribers’ mobile inbox.
2. Be clear and specific
Tell, don’t sell.
Of course, you may yearn for some clever and witty subject lines. If that’s the case, please refrain yourself! Your readers are already overloaded and they hate losing their time reading uninteresting emails. In fact, all they want is to know what to expect when they click on a message.
Be direct and set expectations right. Tell your audience what your email is about and how they will benefit from reading it. Don’t be too commercial, though, and don’t worry if it sounds boring. Boring tends to work better when it comes to subject lines.
3. Personalize your subject lines
When they scan their inbox, your readers tend to delete the generic emails. Make your subject lines personal, you won’t regret it! Personalized ones get 22 percent more opens than non-personal ones.
How to do it?
By simply using “you.” This technique will automatically trigger engagement and intimacy.
You can also add your recipient’s first and last names. But don’t abuse it: it has become so common that it is sometimes considered as spam. Do it whenever it’s relevant, for instance, when you send an invite to an event.
Finally, you can be even more subtle by sending out location- or interest-specific emails.
4. Use the right words
It is true that people prefer certain words over others. Thus, choosing the right ones can really help you increase your opens.
Unfortunately, there is no golden combination of words, but there are words that perform better than others. Here’s the top five:
— Year, e.g. 2015
— Month name, e.g. September
5. Create a sense of urgency or scarcity
Sometimes it can be good to point out deadlines and scarcity.
Use this technique sparingly, only when there is indeed a deadline or limited quantity. In such case, tell your readers to act now or they will miss an incredible opportunity. Believe us, people will respond!
6. Quick and easy tips
There are many other things you can do to make your subject lines more effective. For instance:
— Write numbered lists: numbered lists as subject lines are a great way to raise awareness, as they are easy to remember.
— Ask your readers a question: they will feel engaged and more likely to open your emails in search of an answer.
— Capitalize the first letter of each word: doing it will give your subject line a small but significant lift.
— Renew your subject line: don’t repeat the same subject line for each campaign. Spice it up a little each time!
Finally, listen to your subscribers!
Your subscribers should be your only canvas. Put yourself in their shoes, so you can write subject lines they like. Also, take a look at your campaigns’ reports or do some A/B testing to see what works best.
And if you do all that, believe me, you will reach great results!