Posted by Matt B., Marketing Coordinator
May 3, 2016
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This old saying warns against assuming the value of something based on its exterior alone. While this phrase may be helpful in some cases, just know that it absolutely does NOT apply to email subject lines!
Everyone judges an email by its subject. If someone fails to see value in your email’s subject line, they will not open your email at all. Pay extra attention to your subject lines to ensure the success of your email campaigns!
So, what can you do to make your emails enticing enough to open? First, we will take a look at what NOT to do. After we learn how to avoid subject line pitfalls, we will then cover what you can do to make your email marketing initiatives thrive!
Subject Line DON'Ts:
1. DON’T make it too long!
Example: Thank you so much for your business! It was such a pleasure to serve your needs.
Keep subject lines under 50 characters! This is the commonly accepted rule for email marketing best practices. To test your subject lines, highlight the text and do a word count. The example above came out as 80 characters, which is 30 too many.
Long subject lines will lose your recipients’ attention! The shorter, the better, as long as you are still conveying your message.
2. DON’T make false promises.
Example: FREE Carpet Cleaning
Only make this the subject of your email if you are truly going to deliver on this promise. Your customers will definitely be annoyed if they open this email and you were actually just offering one free room. False promises might get your recipients to open the email, but they likely won’t be happy to find out they’ve been duped. If you’re misleading, it can definitely do more harm than good.
3. DON’T go crazy with CAPS LOCK!
Example: SPECIAL DEAL ON PRESSURE WASHING!
While this subject may be attention-grabbing, it comes off as spammy. Getting too cozy with the caps lock button may prompt your customers to mark your messages as spam, decreasing your delivery rate and preventing them from receiving further messages from you.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to make your subject line stand out, make 1 word maximum in all caps. If your entire subject line is capitalized, not only will it look spammy, but your customers will also feel like you’re YELLING AT THEM! See? Nobody wants that.
4. DON’T keep repeating the same subject line.
Example: Mike’s Cleaning Service
If you use the same subject line for all of your email messages, such as the name of your business, it might get opened the first time. After receiving many messages with the same subject, your customers will begin to ignore them or even send them to the trash bin.
Give your recipients an idea of what the messages’ contents will hold with your subject line. Using the same subject line over and over will not accomplish this goal.
Subject Line DO'S:
1. DO let your recipients know how they will benefit.
Example: Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill
Offer your recipients value in a clear and concise way. In the example, an electrician could send energy efficiency advice to his customers, who will be happy to hear about how they can save money on their monthly bills.
Before writing your subject, imagine you are on the receiving end of your email. Ask yourself “how does this benefit me?” Think about why they should open the email, and then clearly state that reason in the subject.
2. DO create a sense of urgency!
Example: 15% Off Upholstery Cleaning - Offer Expires Today!
Provide a deadline in your subject line to get an immediate spike in business. That way, your recipients will see that they need to act immediately or else forego the deal, according to Hubspot. Include some of these keywords in your email to establish urgency:
3. DO ask questions to spark interest.
Example: What Makes Green Cleaning Different?
Adding a question mark inspires your readers’ curiosity. Pose a question so that their curiosity will get the best of them, and they will be very inclined to learn more. This example would work well for a green cleaner to explain what differentiates their services, which will then serve as a reminder for customers to book appointments.
No matter what industry you are in, gain the interest of your audience by asking questions in your email subject lines and offering helpful explanations in the body, or else linking to a blog on your website with this content.
4. DO personalize it!
Example: Melanie, We Miss You!
Include as much personalization as possible in your email subject lines. If including the recipient’s name is not an option through your service, personalize the email based on location, such as the name of your city, or time, such as the last time you did business with a customer.
Personalizing email subject lines makes the recipient feel as though the email is just for them, even though the message may be automated. Subject lines that are personalized make for more successful email marketing campaigns, reports Hubspot.
If you haven’t already started using email marketing to increase your repeat business and customer loyalty, now is the time to start. You’re already well-versed on what to avoid in your subject lines so that your emails don’t go ignored, as well as what the best methods are to spike interest in your emails. Enticing subjects are essential to hitting a home run with your email initiatives. Stay tuned for future blog posts with plenty more email marketing ideas and strategies!
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