Coming up with the perfect subject line isn’t always easy.
But there are certain implicit rules that every marketer must respect no matter what. Because it’s the subject line that decides if you get your reader’s attention.
Here you will find a list of 16 tips that you can apply for your emails to increase your open rate and hence your conversion rate.
1. Take Your Time To Draft The Perfect Subject Line
Creating a newsletter campaign is a process. Most often we tend to draft a subject line at the very end of that, once the campaign is ready. We highly advise to avoid this!
Because we think our main work is done when we finish writing the content and get a feeling that all that’s left are just small details. We even start losing patience and want to send the campaign as fast as possible.
The subject line becomes that small “detail” to refine whereas it is the most important element of your email! It is actually a trigger factor for openings, conversion rate, and your profits. It decides if your perfectly designed and written campaign even gets read at all.
Start by writing your subject line before working on the content of your campaign, so you don’t have to rush in the end and can give it the time it deserves.
2. Draft Lots Of Subject Lines
Don’t stop at your first idea! Don’t be afraid of writing 20 subject lines or more and try to come up with creative, out of the box subject lines. Try using synonyms and change your sentence order to create more subject lines.
You’ll be surprised by your capability to create original and attractive subject lines!
Ask your colleagues to find out which one they like best. And finally, choose the one that you find the most suitable.
3. Not Too Long, Not Too Short
The ideal length for a subject line doesn’t exist in email marketing. However, one that is very long won’t even get a chance to attract your recipients’ attention as it will not be fully displayed in an inbox.
Globally, we prefer subject lines having 6 to 10 words and 50 characters maximum.
By imposing this length, you are forced to condense the essentials of your information in just a few words. This will certainly have a positive effect on your subject lines!
4. Place The Important Words At the Beginning
Your subject line’s keywords must be placed in the first 3 or 4 words. With an opening rate of currently around 50% on mobile devices, this will make sure that you to adapt according to the device and display.
Because email clients on mobiles leave little space for subject lines, it displays only half of a desktop device!
That’s why it’s important to place essential information at the beginning so that most of your recipients can extract the main information you want to communicate. This way you’ll maximize your open rate.
5. Personalize The Right Way
Yes, recipients have gotten used to seeing their first names in subject lines. Additionally, that’s a very common way for spammers to write to people, so a bad personalization can even be counter-productive for your open rate. But the general rule stays the same: The one element that can make a 100% positive impact is personalization. Provided that it is well made!
When you personalize well, there is not much else you can do to attract your reader’s attention. And remember, first and last names are not the only data you have that you can use for personalization!
You need to hold a qualified and exhaustive database. Then you know your reader’s location, age, shopping pattern, sex etc. All of it can be used to personalize your email!
How about a special offer that is specifically designed for women who have bought a certain jacket in the past? You could write a subject that tells them about boots that would go well with it and that the recipient can now get for a special price.
Use personalization by first and last name only when the actual newsletter is personalized as well, and not for unfiltered mass mailigs. For anonymous mailings it’s usually better to abstain from personalization.
6. Make Your Recipients Curious
A good subject line raises and creates curiousity. What better way to attract your recipients’ attention by addressing a question directly to them?
Making them react by asking them a direct question in the subject line can be an effective way to get them react.
Beware though, you don’t want to be seen as an intrusive by asking a too personal questions.
7. Be Explicit…
Your subject line should put forth what’s in for your contacts if they open your email. Don’t be too shady with subject lines like “Newsletter February 5th” or “Discover our novelties”.
Indicate clearly what you’re trying to sell without beating around the bush. And more importantly, be honest about the content! Don’t try to lure your recipients with a subject line that doesn’t match the content.
8. …While Remaining Intriguing
But being explicit doesn’t prohibit you from doing a little “teasing”! Don’t say everything too quickly.
There is a big difference between being unclear and mysterious. Being unclear means to have evasive content that doesn’t evoke anything in particular, but being mysterious is an intriguing aspect that attracts attention.
9. Create A Sense Of Urgency
It’s a classical marketing approach. Creating a sense of urgency among your targeted contacts increases your click through rate.
For your perfect subject line, this means that you shouldn’t hesitate to show your recipients that your offer valid only until a certain time, that it will expire soon or that it will be sold out quickly. Only those who are fast enough will get lucky.
This idea is aligned with the necessity to make a recipient feel privileged. You should make him feel that he was chosen for this offer, that he deserves better, that he is making a good deal and profit for a long time.
10. Avoid Spam Words
Spam words are terms that need to be avoided in your emails to avoid being caught by anti-spam filters.
These words are hard to categorize but globally try avoid words that directly indicate free offers, discounts, marketing or sales terms and in particular, never talk about medicines or illicit products…
[By the way, we have published an article summarizing a list of spam words to avoid, sorted out by categories.]
You should know that using spam words does not mean that you will most certainly end up in spam, but they do influence your spam score. This score is based on your whole email (wording, layout, weight, etc.).
The email clients and ISP all have different rules regarding the passage of an email to the spam box. And these rules aren’t immutable, it is impossible to list them with precision.
11. Be A Friend
If you like to test new things, you can try to pretend being a friend. Yes, that’s a small lie, but might be worth a test.
I am not talking about using the RE: technique that is often used by spammers. Instead try writing a subject line without caps or punctuation, just like a friend or colleague would you write to you.
For example: “interesting?” or “look at that, you’ll love it”.
This is a very simple trick and can appear unprofessional at first glance, but this tip really works, newsletters get opened more likely. If you add a touch of humor in your newsletter’s content and refer to your little trick, you might be forgiven!
12. Don’t Be An Annoying Seller
Of course you want to sell – that’s the whole purpose of your email. But sending emails with lots of marketing and discount terms will make your recipients feel pushed.
You should gently direct them to your email’s content and explain them how your offer can be advantageous to them.
Like this, avoiding spam words will be even easier!
13. Use Listicles
The current trend on the internet is the numbered list: “The 10 reasons to…”, “25 tips to improve…”, etc.
Listicles works well because they are easy to read. If you have a blog, don’t hesitate to write articles in this pattern and use the article’s title for your perfect subject line.
This will actually make your open rate increase!
14. Say Thank You
Now, we are leaving the framework of the previous rules. But using a subject line like “Thank you for everything!” or a similar way of thanking can increase your open rate.
However, don’t say thank you without any reason. It must be related to a specific event or an action from your contacts.
In a nutshell: Show your readers that you don’t just want their money but that you actually are sincere!
15. Use Symbols
Symbols and emojis are still being rarely used. Therefore, they still allow to get your readers attention by setting themselves apart from other emails.
So use symbols related to your activity or the content of your email to highlight your email! You can even replace whole words by symbols. This also has the advantage that you will automatically shorten your perfect subject line.
Be careful not to use them excessively, because this might quickly be seen as kitsch. This would definitely not be what you want!
16. Always Test
Test two or more different versions to find your perfect subject line. The A/B testing allows you to test two versions of an email or subject line. It’s a very practical technique that helps you judge which version is the better one, especially when you hesitate between two email contents or subject lines.
The two versions will be sent to two sets of contacts extracted from the final version of the database, and the results are compared to select the best one among the two. Then, the better version will be sent to the rest of your contacts.
Using an email marketing solution like Mailify allows you to carry out this type of tests, and it’s an excellent way to continuously improve your email marketing strategy!
To conclude, I invite you to always test different subject lines and don’t be afraid to try out something original. With SPAM ruling the inboxes, you need to stand out and also escape anti-spam filters. Be funny, creative, call out, and tell yourself you can always do better!