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How to Write Email Subject Lines

How to Write Email Subject Lines

Learn how to write effective subject lines for email marketing.

  • Email marketing campaigns are only as successful as the subject lines they contain.
  • Avoid clickbait subject lines. Clickbait phrases can decrease read rates by almost 9%.
  • Personal and concise subject lines make the best headlines.
  • This article was written for marketers and entrepreneurs who wish to increase email open rates.– Your subject lines may be the reason you are not getting your desired results.

Subject lines are crucial to a successful email marketing campaign. A catchy subject line will make it much more likely that someone opens and reads your email.

Let’s take a look at the key elements that make an email marketing subject line successful and how to create one that captivates your audience.

A catchy subject line is vital

Leah Miranda, director, campaign operations at CM Group, stated that subject lines are crucial to the success of email campaigns. Your subscribers experience with your email starts with the subject line.

Miranda stated that if the subject line is well-written and attention-grabbing and meets a need, the recipient will open the email and interact directly with the contents. If the subject line is not the same, it’s likely that the email will be unread or thrown out.

Constant Contact’s director of content marketing, Dave Charest, stated that subject lines are more important than the sender in an email.

He said that if an email recipient doesn’t recognize the sender, then the subject line must be extra persuasive to get them to open the email. The subject line doesn’t matter if the recipient recognizes the sender or has a good relationship.

Every day, email inboxes receive dozens to hundreds of promotional emails. Len Shneyder is vice president of industry relations at Twilio SendGrid. He says that email subject lines are crucial in grabbing the recipients’ attention. A strong subject line can trigger the chain reaction businesses want when they launch marketing campaigns.

Shneyder stated that subject lines are part a chain of microdecisions which lead to opening an email, clicking a link within the message body and hopefully converting users to the brand.

How to create a topic line that is effective

It’s important to think carefully about your subject lines, as there is so much at stake. These are some of the things to think about when creating subject lines. This will help you increase your chances of getting recipients to open your email and click on your links to become long-term customers.

1. Open rates are increased by personalization

If you want to increase your open rates, personalizing your subject lines can be a great start.

Miranda stated that adding the subscriber’s first name to the subject line makes it feel like the email was made just for them. If you want to go beyond the first name you can personalize it according to your subscriber’s interest in a particular product, topic or service.

DMR research shows that email open rate increases by 17% when subject lines are personalized while click-through rates go up by 29.6%

2. The length of a text can impact the reader’s engagement.

Your subject line has a significant impact on whether someone opens the email. Charest stated that it is important to keep your subject lines short, between four and seven words.

This element has become even more important with mobile devices. Miranda says that while the average desktop client displays about 65 characters for a subject line (or more), mobile phones can display between 30 and 50 characters. Keep your subject line brief to avoid it being cut off on a smartphone.

3. Be sure to use the most important words first.

It takes very little time to grab someone’s attention while they scroll through their inbox. Miranda recommends that they focus their attention on the most important information first.

For example, if your subject line says “Summer clothes 50% off”, then the subscriber won’t know about the deal until the end. Swap the order and they will see ‘50%’. Who doesn’t love a good bargain?

4. Avoid certain words.

Email subject lines can be so full of overused words that recipients might not open or delete the email. These words are used by many email service providers to identify spam messages.

Your subject lines should reflect the value of your emails to readers. However, you shouldn’t sell your products or services. Avoid email spam trigger phrases such as “Additional income”, “be your boss” and “no catch”. These words may seem unbelievable or scam-like.

5. Avoid excessive punctuation.

Effective subject lines require that you focus more than the words. Charest suggests avoiding excessive punctuation and symbols when writing subject lines. Charest also advises against using all caps for your email subject lines.

6. Participate in A/B testing

You don’t have to guess what makes a great subject. Instead, try multiple options using A/B testing tools. This will allow you to determine which subjects are more popular.

Shneyder stated that subject lines are one of easiest emailing differentiators for testing. To determine what is working in your email campaigns, A/B-test them.

7. Consider the preheader text.

Miranda suggested that you think beyond the subject line. Miranda also mentioned the preheader text. This is the copy that follows your subject line. A preheader that is effective can increase your email’s opening rate by 7 percent.

Miranda stated, “If you have an excellent subject line and your preheader text states, ‘View message on-line,’ then that sounds like a bad user experience.”

This text can either be a summary of your email, or a call for action. This text serves two purposes: to highlight the most important points of your email and to give recipients key details about it before they open it.

Personalize your preheader to make it more effective. Ask your recipients questions that will encourage them to open your message. The preheader text might ask “Ready to reach more people?” This text will spark interest from your subscribers about your strategies for helping them grow their business.

Popular industries have effective email subject lines

These email subject lines will help you incorporate the tips above into your emails.

  1. “3 ways you can improve your pins. The subject line of a Pinterest email is succinct, but it clearly explains what you can expect to learn from this email.
  2. “Feed your guests without breaking even. The subject line for Pizza Hut focuses on the pain points of its recipients and offers a solution. It begins with the main message (feeding your guests), and ends with an appeal to the recipients (affordability).
  3. Learn a language in 5 minutes per day. Duolingo makes learning a language seem easy with its pitch. Although the subject line is simple, it prompts users to explore Duolingo’s benefits by mentioning one.

Benchmarks for email open rate

How can you tell if your subject lines make enough difference in your open rates? You can start by looking at average open rates of emails from companies in your industry.

Campaign Monitor reported that marketing agencies had an average open rate of 18.5% for emails. The average open rate for emails from wellness and fitness companies was 21.6%. Financial services had an average rate of 24.8% while media, entertainment, and publishing agencies had an average rate of 20.8%.

Bad subject lines can have negative effects

It is crucial to have a catchy subject line. A catchy subject line can make you a long-term, engaged customer. Conversely, a poor one can cause you to lose a customer for good.

Miranda stated that the subject line can make or break your open rates for email. It will affect your click through, click-to open rate, and even unsubscribe rates. Although subject lines might seem small in the context of email marketing strategies, they are crucial to success.

Shneyder says that the more you send emails, the more your brand and name will be tied to the subject lines. You and your brand will suffer from bad subject lines that are not well-written. They can also lead to disengagement.

Shneyder stated that, “For example,” Shneyder explained, “If I suspect that the subject lines of a company are misleading or exaggerated, I may delete the email without reading what it is about.” It is crucial to get your reader to click, to engage. Engage with your reader by using good subject lines. You will be able to keep your spot in the email inbox.

Gmail and other mailbox service providers can be annoyed by bad subject lines. Shneyder explained that Gmail analyses which emails are unread and deletes them. It could also send any future emails from the company directly into your spam folder to help you manage your inbox.

If you make an announcement that is important, engagement rates are virtually zero. If your messages are caught in spam filters, you will not have an effective email campaign.

Clickbait subject lines: Why you should not

Research has shown that clickbait subject lines that shock recipients into opening emails and promote discounts and prices are the most effective.

Return Path, an email deliveryability company, has previously found that clickbait subject lines such as “You won’t believe what shocking secret” can be successful in generating web traffic. However they don’t deliver the same results when used over email.

Particularly, messages that contain similar content and have different subject lines show an 8.69% drop in read rates when the subject line contains “secret of”. The read rates of messages containing the word “shocking”, however, decreased by 1.22%.

Miranda stated that marketers should avoid clicking bait subject lines because subscribers will unsubscribe if they’re given too much or too little information about the contents of the email.

Research also showed that subject lines that highlight discounts and prices don’t perform well. Subject lines that contained the keywords “discount”, “save,” and “sales,” as well as those with dollar signs or percentages, had lower read rates than similar messages with other subject lines.

Although you may get some initial traction by using a clickbait subject, it is a poor strategy to build and track audience engagement. Email marketing campaigns can be used to encourage long-term engagement by businesses.

Charest stated that clickbait subject lines are best avoided because they may fail to work twice. “Then, you will lose the trust of your subscribers, which is very important to keep long-term.”

Based on an analysis of over 9 million subject lines, more than 2,000,000 subscribers found that subject lines with a sense or urgency are better. Subject lines with superlatives such as “fastest” have 5.3% higher read rates than messages with similar subject lines.

Subject lines that are urgent-based with words such as “limited time”, “last chance” or “expiring” can also be referred to as “urgency”.

Shneyder stated that email marketers need to consider the perspective of their audience before using clickbait subject lines. Consider how you react to clickbait subject line. Do you feel confident in the sender of such emails?

Shneyder stated that you as the sender want the receiver to feel at ease when your brand pops up in their inbox. Be honest with the recipient party and they will listen more, open up, and hopefully, engage.

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