Have you spent hours writing the perfect email, witty, succinct and engaging... only to have it sit in someone’s inbox? If your low open rate is baffling you, it could be a result of a poor subject line.
Your subject line is your calling card, a virtual hello, a smile or a handshake and makes that all important first impression. After all, you wouldn’t meet with a client wearing your pyjamas; in the same vein you need your subject line to be equally as polished as you are. Here are a few tips to ensure your subject lines pack that all important punch.
1) Keep it concise
• Your subject line should be brief, remember you aren’t writing War and Peace, 50 characters at the maximum is perfect.
• If you have a longer message to get across, you can consider adding preview text to increase your open rate. Preview text gives the reader a sneak peak at what’s in store.
• Be clear in your messaging and don’t try and dazzle them with unnecessary and over complicated language. A lengthy subject shouts ‘Jargon ahoy’ and you want the purpose of your email to be obvious, unless you are looking for an enticing and illusive tone.
• Use numbers to make catchy and short subject lines. Who isn’t intrigued by “5 easy ways to lose weight fast!” or “10 new ways to make money!”
• DON’T SHOUT! Keep capitalisation to a minimum, only using capital letters in line with grammar rules. What you intended to be excitement, can often read as anger as your tone can be lost or misinterpreted in emails.
2) Make it personal
• To give the personal touch, send emails from a non-generic email address. People buy from people, and are more likely to open your email and add firstname.lastname@example.org to their address book than email@example.com. It gives a sense of customer service and care going into each communication.
• Personalised tokens are great to add and will catch your viewer’s eye. Who doesn’t get the warm-fuzzies when they receive something personalised? It can even give the illusion of an already existing relationship.
• If personalisation tokens aren’t an option for you, or you decide you don’t want to use them, keep the personal touch by using ‘you’ or ‘your’ to keep that connection.
• People are naturally interested in themselves and their lifestyle. With that in mind, a great way to personalise and improve your open rate is by including their location in the subject. A local offer or piece of news will pique their interest.
• Consumers want to feel valued, so a great way to engage with them is with a personal and flattering subject line. “Exclusively for our finest customers” can work like a charm.
• Asking direct questions is also good for open rates. “Could this be why your sales aren’t closing?” or “Is this why your SEO is failing?”
3) Think strategically
• These days an email can be such a quick and throwaway communication, an afterthought even, but this view can’t continue. Every communication, no matter how small, must be strategic.
• Timing is also key! It might seem obvious but is often forgotten when rushing to get your message out into the ether. Conduct some A/B testing so you can see what time of the day works best for your email marketing communication.
• Use what you already know about the customer to your advantage. Simple information such as where they are based or what sector they work in can give you real insight and help to inform your messaging.
• People want to open emails that will benefit them, so make it clear in your subject line that your email will improve their life and is for their benefit and not yours. Examples include telling them what they are getting. If you are sending a free e-book, make it clear and use a subject line such as “Your free e-book inside.”
• Use figures to entice them and enhance the benefit. If your email marketing content talks about reducing wastage in a bar, try a subject like “Shrink your wastage by 50% today!” as long as you can substantiate the claim of course.
5) Be honest
• Finally, never make false promises, I can’t stress this enough... sooner or later it will become clear that you cannot or were never going to deliver and this can lead to bad feeling and be damaging for your brand.
Download our essential guide to inbound marketing for information about email marketing.