10 ways to get Subject Lines to work in emails

First impressions count, and you better find ways to make that impression be attractive and effective enough for your email to be actually opened, to be read, and then clicked through to the desired action you want.

Well, the subject line in an email that you send out is the most important part of the communication. It’s the first thing that someone sees, and often it is the last thing, unless, of course you get subject line marketing done right.

1. Keep your subject line short and make it effective. Every word counts, so use them wisely, spend time on this. Rule of thumb: around 50-60 characters, tops. Minimize to maximise the chances of the mail being opened.

2. Get to the point. Being honest, being precise is key. Remember to be clear on what the email is really about. State the offer. Define your goal for the mail out, and stick to achieving that goal. Don’t create mystery unnecessarily.

3. Make the benefit absolutely clear in your subject line. How will the recipient actually benefit by opening and reading your mail? Why should they believe you? Use numbers, use value. “Increase your readership by 50% today” works better than “Better readership for blogs”.

4. Use ‘today’. Use ‘next 24 hours only’. A sense of urgency and a fear of missing out works rather well, honestly. A call to action with a time-bound sense of urgency will keep them from filing it away.

5. Use personalization. Adding someone’s name in the email subject line makes them feel special, makes them feel like you know about them, and that the email you are sending really has something in them for them – in particular. If you don’t have a way of doing that, use “You” or “Yours”.

6. Stop advertising. Get into ‘engagement’ mode. Today, it is all about dialog and engagement. Ask meaningful questions that they relate to. Make them answer those questions in their heads – and that often sparks them into opening your mail. Try “Are you missing out on these top 10 tricks…” or “Have you got these crucial UX must-haves on your website?”

7. Make them feel special (without b-s-ing). “For our Top Customers only” works well. “Free for the first of our best downloaders” works better – it has the ‘f-word’ in it.

8. Yes, use numbers. If listicles work on blogs, they work in email subject lines as well. So, yes, “Don’t miss out on these Top 10 tricks to email marketing” does work.

9. Use the power of curiosity. You can make them curious by having an interesting subject line, without being too elusive. “7 Ways you can totally save on your utility bills” arouses interest. They’ll be curious. And it’s not just one way, there are seven!

10. A/B test. We test banners, we test web pages, and we should be testing subject lines. That’s one sure way of getting email marketing to work for you.

11. One trend: emojis and icons in email. These are working like fireworks these days. That’s a bonus. Every one likes a bonus.

Please share this with your friends who think email is marketing is old hat. It still works. It helps round up your whole marketing strategy. So…

as published on Tom Roy’s blogpost