7 Tips for Subject Lines That Get Results
So you have crafted the perfect email and it is ready to go out. It has the perfect call-to-action. And if you can get 30% of your readers to open your email, you’ll be thrilled.
Let’s make some assumptions before we get to the tips:
- The email is perfectly formatted for mobile devices and desktops
- The content rocks and is reasonably brief
- Some pretty stellar pictures reinforce the content
- Your call-to-action has been tested and has a high click-through ratio
Now we just need to get people to see this work of art you created. On to the tips.
1 – Write the email FIRST
That’s right. Don’t even worry about the subject line yet. Make sure your email is finished and polished before you jump back up to the top. This will also help you craft the subject line better because you know the content of the email better than when you started.
2 – Be honest about the content
People hate being lied to. They also don’t like the bait-and-switch, or being tricked into opening the email. Remember they gave you their email address so they want you to email them. Not everything you send will be important to everyone on your list, at the time you send it. Deleting your email is not a bad thing. But unsubscribing from your email list is the kiss of death.
3 – Use numbers if you can
People like numbers. They respond to numbers. Did you see this email’s subject line? It works. Numbers help quantify your message. Whether it’s a percentage (Learn how to grow your Facebook LIKES by 300%) or a list (9 Tips for Writing Great Subject Lines that Get Results) or a monetary value (How one non-profit organization raised $5,000 from a single email)-numbers help take a complex problem and present it in a way people will understand.
4 – Size matters
The shorter the better. Consider that more than 50% of your emails will be read on a mobile device. Most mobile devices only show the first 30-40 characters. The optimal length of your subject line is 4-7 words. The more important words should be at the beginning of your subject line.
5 – DON’T YELL!
DO NOT USE ALL CAPITALS FOR ANYTHING. IT DOES NOT CREATE EXCITEMENT. IN FACT, TO MOST PEOPLE, IT IS ANNOYING. PLUS SPAM FILTERS DON’T LIKE THEM EITHER.
6 – Create a sense of urgency or mystery
You can mention limited quantities of an item, limited time before rates increase, exclusivity to the reader, or mention a preview or secret. You can even tease them a bit.
7 – Never use the word ‘newsletter.’ Don’t do it. This is the exact opposite of trying to create a sense of urgency. Face it, a newsletter is never a, “I need to read that now” email. People will read it in their free time. Hah! Like we have a lot of that. There are definitely other words to try to avoid, such as: Free, Lose Weight, Guaranteed and Act Fast. These are words that are an immediate turn off for most people and may also be filtered out as spam.
Monitor your results over time. Your email list will develop a ‘personality.’ Look to see what subject lines are getting you the highest open rate. Look at the trends. Look at the lowest open rates. Adjust your writing style accordingly. And then do it again. If you are not yet A/B testing your subject lines, consider adding that step.
The thing to keep in mind as you create your subject line is respect and sincerity. Respect the time of your reader. It’s really not about being salesy at all. It’s about providing a value to the reader. Sometimes the value is what they can buy. Sometimes it’s about the best way to have fun. And sometimes it’s just about helping make their life easier.
If readers know you and your business or organization is sincerely trying to help them, they will engage with your email and more importantly, they will share your email with their friends. The best sign of digital marketing success.
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