Want Subject Line Success? Read On…

Illustration of email campaigns lined up to be eaten by Pac Man

Image courtesy of jayfreshuk via Flickr

The average business person receives over 100 emails a day, I’m pretty sure that some days I receive a lot more. If you’re marketing message is one of them, you’re potentially competing with 99 other emails for the recipients attention. So how do you make sure your email gets noticed and read? With a winning subject line, that’s how.

The content marketing advice portal Copyblogger recently reported that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your marketing message. I also read a post on the ‘convince and convert’ blog that stated that 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone.

So, it appears that the case for spending time on crafting your subject lines is pretty strong, but what does a top subject line actually look like?

When mentally crafting your next subject line whilst reading the below tips you should resist the temptation to make your subject lines overly witty. Simple, direct subject lines will deliver far better open rates.

Even the cleverest wordsmith armed with puns and metaphors galore can be beaten by simple, straight to the point copy.

So, leaving ambiguity at the door, what are some other routes to subject line success?

Get To The Point: Try keeping your subject line below 50 characters, this works out to be roughly 5-6 words. Convey your message in as few words as possible, if you can say it in 3 words, don’t use 5.

Refrain From Free: If your email subject line is constantly using words like ‘free’, ‘limited’ and ‘important’ it won’t be long before recipients start ignoring your messages. Be frugal with these sorts of words, by all means use them; just don’t overuse them.

Call To Action: Using a clear call to action will provide more impetus to engage with your message. If the message inside is asking the reader to ‘book’, ‘reply’ or ‘enter’ then tell them in the subject field.

Mobile Matters: In a previous post we talked about the fact that consumers are opening emails from retailers on their smartphones and tablets at a much higher rate than ever before, remember this when crafting your subject line. While most email clients might display 50-60 characters, some mobile devices will show the reader considerably less.

Know Your Audience: Think about what will interest them and craft your subject line around that by perhaps referencing a holiday, an event or a relevant news piece.

Test: Test your subject lines. We’ve previously talked about split testing your emails to achieve optimum success; this is certainly a component of your email campaign that should be split tested.  Send the same message with slightly varying email subjects in order to determine what your readers like and don’t like, what works and what doesn’t work.

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