6 Steps To Better Email Subject Lines

Spend hours on your marketing emails, but remember this: only a small portion of your list will see your email content. Almost everyone will see your email subject lines.

Just like stronger headlines mean more readers of newspaper articles, so it goes with emails too. Better subject lines = higher open rates.

But first, some background.

Two years ago, two-thirds of all emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet. More than 40 per cent were opened on an iPhone. Those figures are likely to be even higher now.

So when you think about sending an email, remember that most people’s first contact with your message is likely to be on a mobile device.

This has implications for how to write an effective email subject line. Here are six tips to consider.

1. Shorter subject lines

Email best practice now suggests subject lines of 50 characters or fewer.

That’s because email subject lines show less text on a mobile device than they do in a traditional desktop email client.

2. Front-load your subject line

Don’t make your point at the end of your subject line. Get straight to it.

Here’s an example of a subject line that gets to the point, adds scarcity and includes a benefit in just 48 characters.

Sale ends tonight. Your last chance to save 30%.

3. Make the most of your preheader text

An email’s preheader text is the line of copy that appears underneath a subject line when emails are viewed in a mobile inbox (look at your email inbox on your smartphone).

If you don’t customise your preheader, then your email client will just pull through the first line of your email into the preheader area.

But that’s a wasted opportunity.

Instead, include a clear call to action in your preheader.

4. Personalise your subject line

Personalised email subject lines have been shown to increase open rates by almost 30 per cent.

If the number of people opening your emails increased by 30 per cent overnight, how many more sales would you get?

In fact, it may be an even greater impact than that. The same study found revenue per email jumped by 73% with personalised subject lines.

So maybe it’s time to include your customer’s first name in the email subject line.

5. Don’t be cryptic

For many people, an empty inbox feels like an impossible goal.

Every time they check their emails they’re met with hundreds of unanswered emails.

Imagine which emails are going to get read in a busy inbox. It’s unlikely to be those with unclear or cryptic subject lines.

6. Use emotions and benefits

Finally, remember that writing effective subject lines involves using the fundamentals of good copywriting.

Appeal to your reader’s self interest with the benefits of your product or service.

Better still, make an appeal to their emotions. We often make decisions based on emotion and then try to find logical reasons to justify them. It’s an approach well worth using in your copywriting.

And finally…

Remember, open rates are only your first hurdle. Your most important figures are click-through rates, conversion rates and revenue generated.

Need help with a copywriting project? Contact Neil Barraclough for an initial, no-obligation chat.

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