Email subject lines are important. In fact, they’re so important that MailChimp conducted a robust study of 24 billion emails and over 22,000 distinct words to better understand the impact and influence of a successful first impression.
The study concluded that subject lines are what make customers open the emails they receive.
So, what is the key to having all of your efforts work exactly the way they’re supposed to? To ensure your email subject lines are clicked and email engagement boosted, we’ve put together a bit of email marketing advice for your convenience.
Best Practices for Email Subject Lines
1. In order to stand out from the crowded inboxes of your customers, marketers need to understand how to make a positive impact quickly that encourages a follow-through action.
Incorporating a call-to-action (CTA) in your email subject line is a great way to improve your click-through rates. Not only are they the clearest way to get your message across, but your reader will know exactly what is expected of them just by reading your subject line.
This strategy has seen so much success that Gmail has added the ability to add “Quick Actions” to your email subject lines, or custom buttons that prompt readers to immediately follow through with some sort of next step.
2. Segmentation of your audience is a great way to make things more personal, especially for companies that work between industries.
Even if you are marketing similar promotions to different customer sets, you can tailor your language to better reflect the needs and interests of those you’re trying to reach.
Many advanced email marketing tools allow you to do this with a simple click of a button. A/B testing your subject lines with different segmented audience lists is a granular way to see how your audience responds to different language.
3. Readers, especially those on a mobile device, tend to spend less time thoroughly reading content than they used to.
In fact, a study by Nielsen Norman Group even stated that, “Mobile users are in a hurry and get visibly angry at verbose content that wastes their time.” It’s important to remember to keep subject lines as short and concise as possible.
However, this doesn’t mean you should make them so brief that they’re almost curt to read. Using a familiar tone while remembering to keep the character count under 50 is a good habit to form. By creating a sense of urgency and clearly communicating time-sensitive offers or promotions, readers will better understand what to expect from the rest of the email.
4. Most brands box themselves in to only communicating information applicable to their company.
Spreading information about relevant industry news and trends is another great way to pique a customer’s interest, stand out from others, and position yourself as a trusted source. This is often most successfully done through email newsletters.
TechCrunch is a great example of a company focused on communicating relevant industry news but also operates as a business that offers paid memberships to startups looking for additional insights as well. Their daily newsletter communicates everything from conferences, products, subscription promotions, and newsworthy content. Rather than approach their customers every day with a deal on subscribing, they decide to lead with a captivating news headline as their subject line instead (e.g. “Google sees smartphone heroics in Oreo. It’s The Daily Crunch.”)
5. While it’s important to be direct in your subject lines, don’t shy away from getting creative with your attempts.
Consider asking a question that is relevant to the audience you are trying to reach, or present an interesting fact or statistic that they might not otherwise be able to answer or learn about as quickly than through opening your email.
With that, be sure that the question you’re posing is in fact answered in the body of your email, or at least through a piece of linked content. It’s best to work backward and consider what type of questions your audience would be asking themselves.
There are a few steadfast rules to remember regardless of your target audience. First, creating actionable subject lines will result in higher open rates because of the sense of urgency they instill. Use power words and verbs when positioning emails to have this effect. From list segmenting to using a more familiar sender name, whatever your strategy is, stick to it and continue to look for other ways to improve your subject line skills.
When your subject line is perfected and your audience is set, be sure to send your emails from a familiar and personal address. On many different interfaces, the address an email is from can look as if it’s one with the subject line. A ‘no-reply’ address can often increase the chances of being banished to the spam folder as well as position your brand as closed off and unwelcome to feedback or responses.
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