Your subject line is one of the most important aspects of your email campaign. In fact, it can single handedly determine success or failure of your email marketing. Taking the time to learn how to write an effective subject line will pay you greatly down the line.
Summarizing your email isn’t easy, though, and you don’t have much space in which to do it. Knowing which words to avoid and which to use in their place can make all the difference.
Here are 3 main things to keep in mind when writing an
email subject line:
1) The Email’s Purpose
Technically, the subject line summarizes your email’s content and tells the reader why you’re contacting them. Practically, it’s your chance to pitch your offer to the consumer.
In the majority of cases, the subject line is what your prospects will look at to decide whether or not to read your message in the first place. It can often be very vague and mysterious, like “bad news”…telling them just enough to excite them and make them want to know what it could possibly be about.
Your subject line’s primary job is to create the impression that your prospect will miss out on something valuable if they don’t click. It’s important, then, that you actually follow suit and provide information of value to the reader. This is a surefire way to build brand awareness and trust.
2) The Length of the Subject Line
If at all possible, keep your subject line between 10 and 50 characters. This requires that you tightly compress your core message, and that isn’t always easy. Still, most marketers use long, convoluted subject lines, so a short subject line can help you stand out.
As you work on your subject line, try to boil your reason for contacting your prospect down to a few words, if only in your own head at first.
Personal emails—such as major life events like birth announcements—receive high open rates, as do emails that contain timely information your prospect cares about. Emails that contain surveys and articles on subjects that your prospect has an interest in also get opened frequently as they show you care and want to listen.
Whatever you do, don’t go over 50 characters. If you do, you risk diluting your message to the point where your subscriber won’t know why you’re contacting them. You want your prospect to click on your message with an idea of what you want them to do.
This subtly prepares them for your call to action. Even if you get a click out of a long subject line, your prospect will go into the body of your email with a wandering eye and mind.
3) Tips on Writing Style
Autoresponder giant MailChimp suggests that you avoid the words “free,” “help,“ “percent off” and “reminder” in your subject lines.
The first word in this list is no surprise: it trips spam filters. The others emphasize the fact that your message is commercial in nature. With email services making it easier than ever before to sort through email, you won’t do yourself any favors by triggering your prospect’s “shields up” reflex.
The word “free” has a particularly negative effect when applied to the medical, retail, real estate, business and finance industries. Few prospects expect to receive anything free from their medical provider. Nor is it likely that anyone will receive notification of the receipt of a free house from their realtor in their inbox.
On the other hand, words like “incentive” and “exclusive” can help you receive more clicks in any niche. These words generate interest and a sense of urgency.
These tips have helped me to craft those difficult little but oh-so-important subject lines for the promotional emails I’ve built my business on. It’s a lot of work and takes time to do and test,but is totally worth it.
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