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Creating a high impact Email Subject Line

Jul 02 2009, 04:48 AM

Every single element of an email – from the permission notice to the footer – plays a critical part in making it to the inbox. However, one carries even more responsibility in getting your message in front of your recipients: your subject line.

Short and difficult to manage, this tiny span of less than 100 characters is what your customers and their email clients will see first of your email, sending you on to your customer's inbox or the much-maligned junk file. That's why perfecting it is mandatory if you want your email marketing campaign to be a success. Here are 6 ways to do that.

1. Clarity of goals
Clearly defined objectives set the tone for effective subject lines. Here are some examples of clairvoyant goals, which can be used to write impactful subject lines:
Improving open rates
Increasing conversion rates
Acquiring new customers
Promoting products and services

By defining your goals early on, you help set the tone for subject line testing.
2. Keep it short
Research indicates that readers are likely to find shorter subject lines more credible. Try and keep your subject lines simple and short – preferably four to seven words.
3. Avoid the over-hype
You're excited about your product and you want your recipients to feel the same: it's a fact. But there is a fine line between stirring up excitement and just plain hyping up a product to your customers. Your subject line should speak to the good qualities of your product or service, but avoiding going overboard and making it seem like the end-all-be-all of everything out there. Customers are more shrewd than ever before and they can tell when someone is overdoing it. For this reason, keep your subject line intriguing and exciting, but not too over the top.
4. Just say no to spammy words
Certain words and phrases create a negative impression in the readers’ mind and might guarantee instant deletion of messages. Avoid using the following words in your subject lines or your email messages:
cialis FREE
Reverses aging Free investment
levitra
Life Insurance
valium
Your own
Multi level marketing
Free access
xanax
Free Samples!
For Only Dear Friend

Also, don't start your subject line with any of these words:
Free
Hello
Buy
Buying

If you use an Email Service Provider (ESP) like Benchmark Email to send your email, it has a ‘Spam Checker' tool available for checking your Spam Score for each email campaign.
5. Add a brand name
Various recent studies show that email campaigns featuring brand names in subject lines tend to have higher open rates. Use this stat to your advantage. If you're promoting three different products, pick the most popular one and feature it in your subject line. You may be surprised at how simple and effective this trick actually is.
6. Be matter of fact
If writing your latest email subject line has you tied up in knots, go for the obvious: a generalized description of what your email is or what will be found in it. For instance, “Benchmark Email Bulletin, June 26” is as basic as you can get when it comes to subject lines, but it tells the recipient, probably in the middle of wading through hundreds of spam emails, that your message is the real deal. A straightforward, honest subject line tells recipients that your email, when opened, delivers familiar, trusted content.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Deliverability

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