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Daniel Cassady

5 Tips for Modern Email Subject Lines

Apr 01 2011, 07:19 PM by

We’ve all done it before. You scan your inbox and see an email that looks like it may be from a marketing company, then you read the subject. If the subject line doesn’t grab you right away, that email ends up in the trash.

Subject lines are one of the most important parts of your marketing email. As the first thing that your intended audience will see, the subject line can make or break your email campaign. You need catchy subject lines that pull consumers in long enough for you to show them the value of your email. Here are some tips for writing solid subject lines.
Keep It Short
You shouldn’t be shocked to hear that most people are carrying smartphones around with them everywhere these days. That means that almost everyone has the ability to check email on their phone no matter where they are or what time it is. For email marketers, that means that subject lines have to be optimized for viewing on mobile devices. If your email has a long, involved subject line, it’s likely to get passed over. Keep it short and sweet and you’ll see your open rates shoot up.
Ask a Question
This may seem a bit silly but you’d be surprised how well this little tip works. It has everything to do with tapping into your target audience’s curiosity. Ask a question that you think your readers would like to know the answer to or, even better, that they would answer yes to. If you are selling photo developing gear, try subject lines like “Wouldn’t you like to have your photos printed for less?” The key is to put yourself in the shoes of the people you are trying to reach. What would make you open the email?
Call to Action
A strong call to action always makes a good subject line. You can’t get any more straightforward than telling your reader (in as few words as possible) exactly what you expect them to do. You don’t want to be pushy and never type in all caps. Trust me, you will scare people off that way. What you do want is to be honest with your audience. Let them know what is expected of them and they will respond in kind.
Trial and Error
Not all subject lines work for everyone. Half of your audience may dislike the question approach, while others find the call to action approach too direct. They key to finding which subject lines work best with your specific audience is testing out different styles. Get creative. With each new email, try out a different type of subject line and keep track of what works best with your specific audience. Don’t forget to try combinations of different subject line styles and don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the perfect style right away. Trial and error takes time, but it will definitely be time well spent.
Avoid Spammy Words
There is nothing more annoying than an inbox stuffed to the brim with spam. You can spot it a mile away. “CLICKNOW4BESTDE@LEVRRR!!!!!!!” Stay away from writing in all caps and overusing punctuation, which are typical of spam emails. Also, never leave the subject line blank. That’s another dead giveaway. As is writing anything like “Please Respond” or sticking a link in place of a proper subject. The fact is, spam annoys people. The less your email resembles it the better.

The subject line of your email is the first thing that your reader sees; it holds a lot of weight. Good subject lines mean more opened emails and higher click-through rates, both of which mean more business for you.

Posted in Tips & Resources

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