About 105 billion emails are sent each day. To reach customers, you must provide a catchy subject line that will stand out from hundreds of other emails and inspire your readers to open the letter. Below are some essential tips on how to polish your subject lines and increase your open rate.
Your open rate is the percentage of emails that have been opened out of the total amount of emails sent. It is a crucial metric for evaluating the success of an email marketing campaign, and here’s why.
Even if your email avoids the spam filter and reaches your reader’s mailbox, it doesn’t mean that subscribers will actually read it. However, a catchy subject line can draw attention and increase the letter’s chances of being seen, as 47% of people read emails only if they like the subject line.
Below are some essential techniques and examples that will make your email subject lines special.
Action-oriented verbs (e.g. Read, Open, Grab) aim to inspire people to click and read your message by making it sound dynamic and vibrant. Actionable subject lines help readers envision themselves doing the action and, for this reason, are great at increasing your open rate. Here are some examples:
Personalization helps make readers feel closer to you. To do so, use names or locations in your subject lines:
This method may be the best way to set up a comfortable direct conversation with your readers and make them feel special. Another way is to use personal pronouns, for example:
Another effective marketing trick to win your audience is to incorporate some numbers into your subject lines:
Numbers help your email look more valuable and can even increase the click-through rate by 36%.
Make your message direct and clear so that readers can easily understand what the email is about. Most people quickly look through their emails, so a long subject line with flowery language is unlikely to grab their attention for long, while a short and concise phrase will carry the message to the reader much more effectively. Here are some examples:
You don’t need to reveal all the contents of your message from the very beginning. Sometimes, in order to incentivize your reader to open the email, you’ll need to grab their attention and make them wonder what the message will be about. Consider adding some mystery with an incomplete sentence, metaphor, or ellipsis. For instance,
To be honest, it is hard to please everyone. If you are targeting a large audience, consider segmentation, which allows you to categorize subscribers by location, demographics, etc. Then prepare different emails for each list. If used properly, this method will help you achieve a significant uplift in your email campaign.
For example, instead of using an overly general subject line, such as “Best travel ideas,” address younger travelers with “Where every millennial should travel,” middle-aged tourists with “Places to visit before you turn 40,” and seniors with “Incredible travel ideas for those who are over 50.”
Offers and discounts play well because people are always attracted by an opportunity to get something for free. For example, if you run a contest, reflect it in the subject line:
Even if you aren’t providing actual gifts, it is still possible to make the message look like a giveaway. For example, you can draw attention with a line like “An exclusive offer for you.”
Your subject line must align with your brand, match your voice and goals, and be relevant to your niche.
For example, if you use a famous person’s name, that person should align with what you do or what kind of products you sell, not just as a means of attracting attention. Another thing to keep in mind is language: brands targeting younger audiences can use slang to make the message more relatable.
Humor is another thing that helps distinguish your subject line from your competitors. A well-placed joke can earn you some major reputation points with folks on your wavelength, which will increase the likelihood of your email being read. While it might be hard to come up with comical subject lines for every newsletter, try this approach at least once to gauge the response of your specific audience. For example, try to use wordplay like in the example below:
A little bit of controversy in your subject line can be a good thing if it makes the email unexpected without being overly shocking. For example, “Everybody is lying: Why you shouldn’t believe travel bloggers.”
To use this approach correctly, you need to have a clear understanding of who your target audience is. Speaking about taboo subjects can attract people or push them away. Thus, try to consider your audience’s gender, age, nationality, religion, and other factors to avoid making your emails insulting.
Asking a question is another efficient way to engage your subscribers, especially if you ask something personal rather than something rhetorical. For example:
Capitalization is a proven way to attract attention, but remember not to get carried away. Use partial capitalization to emphasize the most important keywords that will trigger your readers’ interest. For example,
Used correctly, poetic lines can capture attention just as effectively as numbers or giveaways. By adding alliteration (repeated use of consonants), you will make your subject line sound like a musical phrase (“Social Marketing: Bands, Brands, & Fans”).
Make your subject line sound like a friendly conversation with a casual tone. This may mean using personal pronouns, simple grammar, or even slang. In contrast to common, impersonal lines, write something like “Are you also thinking about hopping on a flight to Spain?” to make your message resemble a question from a friend.
Another tactic that will differentiate you from your competitors is using one-word lines. This technique immediately attracts attention and makes your readers wonder what’s inside your message. You can combine this method with a call-to-action by using action verbs like “Open” or “Hurry,” emotive words like “Enjoy,” “Alarm,” and “Valuable,” or even greetings such as “Hey!”
Scarcity creates the illusion that you are offering a limited quantity of something important or that you are offering a limited-time offer. No one wants to miss out, which is why such an approach often works flawlessly for marketers. For example:
Whatever strategy you choose, don’t go overboard. Using flowery language that is difficult to understand, exclamation points, or full capitalization will get your letter ignored or deleted, as these tactics look spammy. (“OPEN NOW AND RECEIVE A FREE TRIAL,” “50% off coupon today only!!!!!!!!”). Take advantage of spam checker tools that evaluate your email and help you avoid the spam folder.
If subject lines are too long, nobody is going to read them. Naturally, you want to say as much as possible, but so do your competitors. Stand out from the crowd by using short and informative lines. While some marketers recommend using up to 50 characters, others believe that line length should depend on the type of device most of your readers use.
Sometimes, it is all about timing. Mailchimp reports that open rates peak around 10 am, regardless of industry. Thus, 10 am might be a great time to send out your newsletter. 6 am and 8 pm also boast high open rates. As for days of the week, Tuesday and Wednesday are perfect for sending emails.
Below, we have collected some examples of successful subject lines that might help you create your own.
These techniques can easily get your email opened and read. To build a long-term strategic plan, try to combine different approaches and make each email stand out. Naturally, the content of your newsletter should be relevant, catchy, and useful, but your message will only reach subscribers if they like your subject line. It’s time to start!
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