With email as a primary method of communication, the average working professional receives more than 100 messages a day. How can you make your email stand out from the sea of others in your subscribers’ inboxes? That’s where the subject line comes in. Craft a great one to get your subscribers’ attention … and your emails opened!
Subject-Line Myth busting
It’s an old wives’ tale that certain practices will get you immediately marked as spam. Spam filters can be triggered for a variety of reasons, but specific words alone rarely are the culprit. Don’t be afraid to use the following:
1. All caps
2. The ultimate four-letter word: free (even if you’re talking about guest posting)
3. Exclamation points
How Content Filtering Atually Works
Spam filters assign points to “spam” words in the subject line and body of an email. If the points exceed a certain threshold, then the email is considered spam. However, using any one (or two or three) of these words won’t automatically mean a trip to the junk folder. While content filtering plays a part in spam scores, your sender reputation and engagement metrics are much more important.
A recent MailChimp study analyzed the open rates for more than 200 million emails to determine which types of subject lines trigger recipient opening. Here are some of the strategies that worked, as well as others that fell flat.
• Leveracing location
Collecting (and using) geolocation information can improve open rates by being personal and relevant.
• Ask away
Subject lines framed as questions perform better. Consider your audience’s needs, interests, or the types of questions your content might answer.
• Keep it short and sweet
Email marketing company MailerMailer found longer subject lines had lower open and click rates than those that were shorter. Try to say it all in 50 characters or less. (Emails with 28-39 characters in the subject line had the highest click rates.)
Proceed at Your Own Risk
The following strategies might drive quick: opens but aren’t long term-solutions for improving your marketing.
• Symbols and Special Characters: Hearts, airplanes and coffee cups might get your email opened, but the jury’s cut out their effect on clicks.
• Using “Re:” and “Fwd:” to imply that your message is from a trusted colleague or friend borders on deception and might damage subscriber trust.
• Fear of being scrammed has left many consumers skeptical of emails with pleas for assistance or requests for help.
• Using numbers can help quality your message, but constant sales and promotions can lead to subscriber fatigue and general loss of interest.
• Including the recipient’s first or last name does not significantly improve open rates. (In July 2012 study, MailerMailer saw significantly lower CTR and open rates for personalized subject lines compared to non-personalized ones.)
Get the Open in 6 Steps
When writing the subject line for your next email, consider the following techniques.
Step 1: Useful and ultra-specific: Make sure it is relevant, valuable, and the message is clear to your subscribers.
Step 2: Identify yourself: Is it crystal to your subscribers who your email is form? Mention your most recognizable brand product in your subject lone, or prefix your subject lines with a consistent identifier.
Step 3: Be visually different: In order to make your email stand out, try to make your subject line stand out visually: Consider using brackets, variations on capitalization, phone numbers, quotes, etc.
Step 4: Use timely topics and urgency: Hit home on a point that is top of mind for your subscribers, such as something in the news or a popular topic. Urgency works for real deadlines, but can be overdone.
Step 5: Call to action: People respond well when you ask ( or tell) them to do something. What do you want your recipients to do?
Step 6: Test it out: Test which subject lines resonate best with your audience, so you can repeat success.
The moral: “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”