It’s amazing how one line of text could have so much riding on it. Imagine typing out an entire newsletter, uploading images, sending it off to get no opens because of a couple of words that show up first in the inbox.

Of course, I’m talking about the email subject line. It’s the deciding factor of whether to open an email for at least 64% of recipients according to a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey, and ultimately your key to the clickthrough!

Here’s some quick fixes for your subject line to get noticed and opened in the inbox.

Keep it Short

Remember – you’re writing a subject line, not a subject novel.

Embarrassing corporate email jokes aside, you’ve got to keep your subject line short to avoid it being cut off halfway through what you wanted to type. This not only makes your email appear unprofessional, but could also make your subject line communicate something you don’t want to.

Keep in mind that you have two seconds and maybe two or three words before your reader makes the decision to open or delete your email forever – so make them count!

Try to cut out any additional words that aren’t relevant to your email or don’t offer value to your reader. For example, “Try our Free Coupons for Coffee at Vitriol Coffee” should rather read “Free Coffee at Vitriol” or “Free Coffee Coupons.”

Keep it on Point

The whole point of the subject line is to give people the opportunity to see if they want to open the email or not. It’s supposed to give people an idea of what content the email has, however, in the age of numbers, we’ve become addicted to our open rate statistic.

While it’s great to have a good open rate, what counts are conversions! If your subscribers aren’t clicking through from your email, you’re just wasting your time and money on an inbox popularity contest.

If your email contains a great offer, mention it in your subject line. If it contains a great piece of news or if it’s just a monthly newsletter – say so! However, if you don’t have anything to offer, any news to share or even any important announcement you must consider whether you should be sending the email off in the first place!

A helpful tip is to connect your subject line to the first thing users see when they open the email. What’s interesting here is that the first thing most users see when they open an email is an image, not the copy. This is why it’s usually a good idea to invest in a great graphic designer, or at least try to get your copy to stand out through call to actions and HTML buttons.

Give it a Personalized Touch

You should be using personalization in your email marketing messages, but it should also affect your subject line.

According to an Adestra Report, personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened when compared to regular subject lines – and it makes sense! Personalized subject lines immediately assume a previous relationship between your company and the recipient, and encourage the recipient to continue the conversation by opening the email.

Adding personalization to your email subject line is easier than most people think. Simply add the relevant personalization tag to the start of your subject line and before you know it, you’ll be noticing your open rates rise. For example, if your subject line is “Try Our New Scooters [50% Off!]”, you only have to add “{!firstname}, Try Our New Scooters [50% Off!]” for instant open rate success!

It’s important to remember that personalization is like spice for your subject line – you want to add it for taste, but you never want to overdo it. In addition to this, you want to keep in mind that not all subject lines and industries go well with personalization. Imagine adding salt to your breakfast cereal – that’s the face your recipients will make if they receive a personalized subject line for a product they may not want others to know they’re purchasing – such as adult services, gambling and the like.

Engage Emotionally

People are driven emotionally whenever they make a purchase.

Two of the most powerful emotions for email marketers are curiosity and urgency, which you can easily apply to your subject line from time to time.

Phrase your subject line to ask a question to invoke curiosity in your reader. This can also include the content or value you offer in the email itself. For example “Have You Tried Our New Scooters?” or “Do You Know About Our New Product?”, encourage people to find out what you’re talking about and thus encourage them to open the email.

For urgency, you simply need to set a deadline in your subject line – and stick to it!

What’s great about setting a deadline is that you can set up an email marketing drip campaign where you send users emails as they approach the deadline. Usually the “Last Chance!” emails perform the best here.

Use Numbers and Lists

Much like the many articles you see online these days, using numbers and lists has proven effective for attracting interest of online users.

This is because it implies your email requires a limited investment from the reader as they know exactly what they will get and how much they will get out of the email. It also gives readers the idea that the information will be presented in ‘bite-sized’ chunks for easy reading and quoting.

Always remember that the easier you make your email to be read by your recipient, the easier it will be for them to open it.

Ship Your Subject!

The best advice for subject lines is to A/B Test, send them out and monitor the results through email reports.

Different industries will react to different subject lines. Doing your research and knowing what you customers want to hear or find out about will determine how to use the above tips in a particular context.

  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.