Email is still king in digital marketing, but with all the marketing emails, personal, and work messages that people get in their inbox, it’s hard for any brand to stand out. There’s nothing more frustrating than creating a great email campaign only to get abysmal email open rates.
We’ve all done it. You’re standing in line or trying to stay sane at a family outing and you casually break out your smartphone to weed through your email. There are several steps you go through to determine if a message is going to break the monotony of that moment or if it’s simply going to end up trashed. This is a quick decision, usually lasting less than three seconds. Based on the email’s subject you’re likely to either open it, delete it or mark it as important.
As an email marketer, this moment makes you quail. Will your subject line stand the true test? Will you get that all-important click? Subject lines, it would seem, have the ability to make or break your campaign. Yet, some troubling new research has come to light that reveals that subject lines are not as cut and dried as we marketers would like to think.
That’s why the critical first step to improving email marketing engagement is creating great email subject lines that compel your subscribers to find out more.
Here are several best practices to help you write enticing email subject lines to boost your open rates and get your emails read:
Keep it Short and Sweet
More than half of emails are opened on a mobile device, so it’s important to consider your target audience and what device they commonly use to open their emails. Another study found that subject lines with 8-10 words have the highest open rates. The logic here is that allowing recipients to view your whole title, plain and simple, makes the email sound simple and honest.
Only include copy that you need and optimize subject lines for every device. For mobile devices, a 20 to 30-character count is ideal. But, if your target market mostly uses a desktop, you need to make sure not to exceed 50 characters.
Analyze Past Email Subject Line Performance
It’s always a good idea to back your strategy with data analytics. Measure your email open rates, and take a look at the subject lines that performed well in the past. Chances are, your email subscribers liked the subject line, and it enticed them to open your email.
However, you should also note that email open rates are also affected by the relevance of the deal you’re offering and the day/time you sent the email. So, keep in mind that although subject lines are a primary factor, they’re not the only thing you should be paying attention to.
Personalize and Localize!
Statistics show that a personalized subject line is 22.2% more likely to be opened, so make your subscribers feel special by tailoring your message uniquely. Include their name in the subject line and make sure that the email you’re sending is something that they’ve shown interest in.
You can also tailor your subject line according to your recipient’s specific location. Use “you” and “your” so that your recipient feels like you’re talking to them directly. This will help you build rapport with your subscriber and make them feel more familiar with your name and your brand.
“John, here are 7 marketing tips just for you!”
“An exclusive discount, just for you.”
“You’re going to love these restaurants in Boston.”
Use Actionable Words
Your email subject line often works as a call-to-action that explicitly tells your readers what they need to do. Using actionable verbs like “get your free copy” or “find more customers” will encourage your subscribers to act then and there.
“Use this Exclusive Discount Coupon on Your Next Purchase.”
“Increase Your Conversion Rates”
Create a Sense of Urgency
Communicating urgency in an email subject line can entice recipients to open your email. However, don’t use it too often, as recipients may think that your next time-limited offer won’t be so limited after all.
Choose specific occasions such as a business anniversary, Black Friday, or Christmas to schedule your giveaways or exclusive deals. Tapping into a recipient’s fear of loss also works well to compel immediate action.
“30% Off for the First 100 Customers”
“Offer Ends in 3 Days”
Be Funny and Witty
People get a lot of emails in their inbox, and it’s hard for brands to stand out. But, how often does an email subject line make you smile?
Humor is one of the best ways to showcase your brand’s personality, and with a strong brand personality, relationship and trust building become a whole lot easier.
Don’t be afraid to insert wit and humor in your email subject line. It’s a great way for you to catch the attention of your recipient and get them to open your email.
“Where to Drink Beer Right Now (Sent at 6:45 am on a Wednesday)” – Easter Boston
“Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)” — Groupon
Use Emojis 😊
People use emojis when texting or posting on social media, so why not use them in your email subject line?
It’s a cute and trendy way to get your recipient’s attention and pique their curiosity. In fact, 56% of brands that use emojis in their email subject lines experienced a higher unique open rate.
When your objective is to stand out, emojis can truly be a blessing.
Subject Lines Matter
Your email subject line is the second thing your subscriber reads (after seeing who it’s from) when they receive your email. So, make sure that you tell your recipient what they can expect in your email, or use a little personality to reel them in.
Subject lines have so many other factors that influence open score than just length. Don’t get me wrong, length is a big part of it. But, sealing the deal with an email recipient can be as simple as just being creative. During Barack Obama’s campaign, the top performing subject line was ‘Hey :)’.
As you can see, the research is varied and doesn’t necessarily always agree! For us, we’ve found that 8-12 words tends to be our “sweet spot” for subject lines, but if you are sending your own mail you may want to take MailChimp’s advice and do an A/B split to see what works best for you.
By figuring out what your recipients respond to best, keeping things short and to the point and having a little fun- you can expect your campaigns to steadily improve. Entice them to open the email by conveying a sense of importance and relevance, and center it around the individual you’re sending the email to. Don’t forget to A/B test your email subject lines as well to determine what works and what doesn’t.
At the end of the day, if your emails aren’t getting opened, then your message isn’t being read. You have great content—you just need it to be seen!
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