An email subject line might look like it was put together in seconds, but don’t let its smallness deceive you. Subject lines can often be the most challenging to write! Most importantly, no matter how wonderful your entire email is written, your audience won’t experience any of it if they’re not propelled to click the first thing they see: the subject line.
In today’s blog post, we will cover 6 Best Practices for Email Subject Lines to help you improve your email open rates. Learn how to optimize your subject line toward your audience.
As always, let’s review the basics first.
What is an email subject line?
The line of text accompanying the email. We can compare it to the title of a book. It’s the first bit of information the reader will see. Does it compel the reader?
What is an email preheader?
The secondary text that works in tandem with the subject line. They should complement one another, never repeat each other. The preheader is seen just after the subject line. It can give a little preview about what’s in the email.
1. Avoid Spam Language
No one likes getting spammed. Remember to focus on the email’s value, what you can offer. It’s not about being persuasive, promotional or salesy all the time. Consider using your unique expertise, or offer something interesting and informational, rather than being hyper-promotional and salesy (which just ends up being spam). You’re talking to a real human-being over here; your email is like a conversation between friends!
2. Keep Subject Lines Short and Specific
Your subject line needs to be 40 characters or under. That’s about five to seven words. Technically, keeping it short will ensure nothing gets get off. Your reader is most likely skimming their inbox, so it’s good to keep it short and catchy; easily seen at a glance. Each and every word is there for a reason; no filler words!
3. Write as Many Words as Possible, THEN, Cut it by 90%
Don’t limit yourself when your first writing out your subject line. Write it all down. Be as detailed as you desire. Then, think about what’s the most important or essential thing? Cut off the rest. Revision is always your friend in the writing process. Step away, and then cut some more.
Every single word counts and is there for a reason. Think about your word choices and why you picked that specific word. Is it the best word, you think? Instead of saying that long phrase you wrote, can you say it in one to two words? Most of the time, you can.
4. Use a Direct Call-to-Action
Being clear, concise, and telling the reader exactly what to do can work wonders. Give Now, Join Us, Come Over, Shop Today, Get Your, Time for/Time to… These are all good examples of clear and concise commands, actions. The reader knows exactly what to expect from the email. Think action words.
5. Use a Creative and Interactive Subject Line
You want to engage with your audience. Make them curious! What better way than to ask an engaging question. The question won’t be easily answered by yes or no. Open-ended question examples: A pet store could open an email with, “Who is your pet’s superhero?” Or, if you want to get more creative, a subject line could be, “When did you last laugh like crazy?”
You can hook your reader in with a teaser. Here is a general example: “(Reader’s Name), ready for your VIP treatment yet?” What if it was a holiday with a special gift sale: “(Reader’s Name), we found your perfect gift!” Or, how about this: “Still thinking about it?”
6. Give a Deadline
Create a sense of urgency. Don’t be afraid to use words to convey a deadline. You can use words like, “Don’t miss out,” “Last chance,” “Time is running out,” “Now or never,” to name a few.
We’ll conclude today’s post with a few challenging (but great!!) questions. Why should your reader click your email? What do you have to offer that they can’t get anywhere else? What value-based email are you creating? Why you? Highlight what only your business can offer them. Know how to answer these “why you” questions; and be mindful of them while you draft your email and subject lines, because this will fuel your content with purpose and a direct objective.
We will conclude today’s post with a few challenging (but great!!) questions.
- Why should your reader click your email?
- What do you have to offer that they can’t get anywhere else?
- What value-based email are you creating?
- Why you?
Know how to answer these “why you” questions; be mindful of them while you draft your email and subject lines, because this will fuel your content with purpose and a direct objective.
Feel free to share your thoughts or your own successful subject-line examples in the comments section below.
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