email marketing subject lines
It could be argued that the subject line of your email is one of the most influential areas which affect the success of your email marking campaign. The subject line will often determine whether the email gets opened or deleted.
Let’s give this often overlooked area some love, here are my 10 tips to help you write a damn good email marketing email subject lines:
1. Keep it under 50 characters.
Long subject lines will be chopped off or truncated by email readers, so your message may not display correctly. Annoyingly the amount of characters available varies widely between email readers.
I would recommend that you keep your subject line under 50 characters in length. This is a good rule of thumb. Keeping it under 50 characters will help ensure your email subject line will display perfectly for major email readers.
2. Don’t put your company name in your subject line.
As mentioned in point one, you have a limited amount of space for your email subject line, so use it wisely. Your company name (or your name) will be set as the sender of the email. Repeating information is a waste of space and waters down the clarity of your message.
’email blaster – how to write a subject line’ – Avoid!
‘how to write a subject line’ – Nice clean and simple!
3. Write the subject line first.
I would suggest that when you are designing your next email newsletter, consider writing your email marketing subject line before designing the actual content.
Make this your first task, this will avoid the subject line getting written as an afterthought. In addition to this, I would argue that when you know your subject line, this helps keep focus when designing your email newsletter body.
4. Make the user salivate.
As soon as your message pops into your recipients inbox, your target is to make them stop them working and want to read your email right away.
An email subject line stating ‘Our new website is now live’ screams boring! Make your recipient salivate and excited about the proposition inside your email. Be big, be bold, be different.
5. Place key phrases at the start.
Studies have shown that users only tend to read the first few words of your email subject line. Place your keywords at the start of your subject line.
A great example was an email I received today from Confused.com today: ’10 used cars that hold their value’. From the first three words I know exactly what the email is about, perfect!
6. You are the expert.
If your email newsletter is information based, position it as the only resource this person will ever need to read on your subject matter (‘the definitive guide’ is a phrase I like).
Your subject line should scream confidence. After all, you are an expert in your industry – if you are not, consider a different career.
Positioning your yourself as an expert also helps to build trust. Trust is what we want to achieve here. This gives the user confidence to open your email and act on it.
7. Follow newspapers, be big and bold.
The UK press is a great place to visit when you need some inspiration for your next email newsletter subject line. I would recommend checking out the Daily Mail and Sun, both have produced some killer newspaper headlines over the years. The headline of a newspaper is very much like your email subject line – both determine if the body is read by the user.
Like newspapers, be big and bold, play on users emotions. Here are two great examples from the Daily Mail:
”EU wants migrants to take our jobs” – Daily Mail
“Social websites harm a child’s brain” – Daily Mail
Both headlines certainly grabbed my attention! These are some of the best headline writers in the world, use them for inspiration.
8. The timeless ‘How To’.
I love a ‘how to’. We all want a way to solve a problem or make our job easier. Convey the message in your subject line that your mailer is the quick fix that your recipient has been looking for.
One word of caution though. Ensure that your mailer and subject is relevant to your mailing list. Providing the user with information not relevant or information already known is asking for that delete button to be pressed!
9. Avoid spam words / block capitals.
Using words such as: Free, Offer, Act Now, Credit (and similar) will only raise your spam score. Avoid the use of these words and block capitals as much as possible. You want your mailer to get read by a real person, not sit in a spam filter.
I recommend using a spam score check on your mailer before sending, this will help point out any spam phrases which could cause you delivery problems. If you don’t have access to a spam score check, as a rule of thumb – avoid the use of overtly sales based words.
10. Create urgency.
Create urgency, make your recipient open and read your email now, not later. If you recipient thinks that your email can wait, they will most likely forget it. Your target, stop the user working and make them read your email now.
I would recommend using phrases such as:
This Saturday only.
First 10 customers.
This creates an urgency and helps grab attention.
I was asked to do a survey for a IT company last year. The first 10 responders got free headphones. This gave me a matter of urgency, I stopped working to complete the survey. Sadly though, my feebie headlines where pretty poor quality!