How Can You Write the Best Email Subject Lines?
Email subject lines have one purpose only. Their job is to get your subscribers to open your emails. That's their only job. No matter how great an email you have composed, if it doesn't get opened it can't do its job. Click To Tweet Spending time learning to craft compelling email subject lines is worth it to your bottom line.
Entire books are written about email subject lines. One is by my friend, Matt Bacak. The entire first chapter of Matt's book “Marketing Sidekick” (my Amazon affiliate link) is nothing but suggestions for good email subject lines that he has tested over time. It's helpful to use suggestions like those in Matt's book, but nothing takes the place of testing your own email subject lines with your particular audience. Most email autoresponder systems will allow you to split test two different subject lines for the same email, and see which one performs better. The winner is the one with better open rates.
5 tips for the best email subject lines
- Keep your subject line short. The reasoning behind this is that you want your subscribers to see the entire subject line of your email, not just half of it. The more of the subject line they can read, the more interest they have. Additionally, people scan through their emails and will delete many of them based on the subject line alone. So work hard to get your point across in about 50 characters. Test this out by sending the subject line to yourself, and see how it looks on your mobile device and on your laptop or desktop, too.
- You receive plenty of emails every day, right? Start a folder on your computer of the subject lines that actually made you open the emails. This is a great way to find out how you respond, and test it to see if your own audience responds in the same way. For me, I've noticed that I will almost always open the daily emails I get from Style Blueprint. Their email subject lines attract my attention and pique my interest, so if I'm scanning emails I'll usually save theirs to read later on. Try this with yourself. It's sort of fun to see what you respond to, and see if you can adapt those email subject lines to your particular topic.
- Avoid spammy words. You don't want to trigger a SPAM filter in someone's email program, and nowadays that's pretty easy to do! I've had my own emails end up in my own SPAM folder sometimes, which really made me check the email subject line I had used. Here are some words that are often caught by SPAM filters. (Even if these words get past SPAM filters, they are words that subscribers have come to ignore.)
- Coupon enclosed
- Limited time offer
- Test your particular subscriber list to see if using their first name in your email subject line helps increase your open rate. Try the same subject line with and without personalization and see what your results are. I recommend using personalization from time to time, but not for every single email you send. Click To Tweet If you track your subscribers by where they live you can also use this type of personalization. A subject line like, “Meet me in Las Vegas next year” could be sent to your subscribers in Nevada, as an example.
- Tweak your subscriber's curiosity. It's hard to ignore subject lines that tell part of a story – like a little teaser. While I typically email my subscribers about business topics I often use email subject lines that are the lead in to a story, and the business “lesson” is a part of the story.
Bonus Tip: Understand that certain email subject lines will work well for your particular niche and audience, and some will not work well at all. Pay attention to your open rates, check it weekly. When you see a subject line that has a substantially higher open rate think about why that might be, and put that subject line in your own swipe file. Don't be afraid to tweak your subject lines and see, over time, what works best.
Email subject lines can be playful or serious. Your email subscribers want to hear from you. Your job is to make your subject lines interesting and click-worthy. It does get easier over time, because you come to know your own subscribers and what they respond to best.
Related Article: The Best Email Marketing Tools for 2020
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