Email Subject Line Best Practices
Within the chaos that is the mailbox looms a plethora of promotions, personal emails, newsletters, documents, airline tickets, etc. It’s no secret that we scan our inbox looking for the most important headlines that stand out while filtering out the rest to be ignored or sent to the trash. This is why you need to follow the email subject line best practices before you send out your communications to your list and possibly hinder your results.
“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines say what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”
We should not judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately, that’s what users who receive our commercial emails do. In a world in which people can receive tens or hundreds of emails a day (without forgetting notifications of social networks, mobile messages, and other applications), there is a need for people to filter the emails and decide if they are worth opening or not, and this is usually done by looking quickly at the subject of the emails we receive.
Most people know their spam emails perfectly, so it is important to avoid words like: free, help, percentage, discount, etc. Usually, the subject lines written as ads activate the spam filter. Do not create false expectations for your subscribers and try to always explain what is inside your email.
That’s why the subject line is very important. It is the barometer by which the relevance of our email is judged, whether it is read or deleted. And if you make a crucial mistake, your message will always be relegated to the purgatory of commercial emails: the trash can.
Best Practices For Email Subject Lines
Take Advantage of The Preview
Many email service providers such as ConvertKit and GetResponse offer a preview of the message next to the subject in the inbox. This offers you a chance to see what your email would look like for the recipient. Always check this before you send out your emails so you know that it looks the way you want it to and contains everything it should.
Optimize it as much as you can and use this space to give additional information to the title of the email and increase the value of it or to include the user’s personalization here.
Get to The Point
Use between 20 and 50 characters maximum. The most important information must appear in the first characters because it is the first thing that the interested party is going to visualize and what can make them click on your email instead of your competitors.
The best subject lines of emails are usually short, descriptive, and offer the reader a reason to open the email. These are also easier to read on mobile phones, which often make up the majority of your readers devices. In addition, the subject line tends to be cut if it is too long so your readers may not be able to see it entirely depending on what type of device they’re using.
Most people quickly scan the subject lines to decide if they are going to open or ignore the email. Do not expect subscribers to delve into your subject line to find out if they are interested or not, they want to immediately gauge by your subject line if it’s worth opening so you much grab their attention here.
Use a Call to Action
Users respond well when they are asked to do something, so using verbs that invite action is an excellent idea to start the subject of your email. Starting one of your emails with the word [Open] could promote the reader to do so without being as intrusive as [Urgent] or [Important].
The former is rather innocent and doesn’t have clickbait or annoying elements. It also prompts the action you want the recipient to complete and could encourage them to do so.
The latter can annoy if the reader doesn’t deem the content to reflect the title. It also comes across as something that an agency or company would send out, like a bill for example. This could really annoy someone if they were expecting something of this nature but then discover it was only there to get you to open the email.
Don’t Be Pushy
Most people don’t want to be sold to; they want to make their own choice to spend their money on something. If you’re just sending a bunch of emails with the sole intention of extracting money from the recipient then they will at some point smell what you’re up to and unsubscribe from your list.
Your email should always offer value and be focused on this, with the action you want the user to complete sprinkled in but with a clear choice for them to perform it if they choose to.
Include the recipient’s name in the email and other relevant personal details. If you have a newsletter subscription box, be sure that “first name” is a required field on it. Your email marketing service provider will be able to automatically insert these personal details into every email for you, so don’t worry about that. Also, an email sent to Andrew sounds a lot better than an email sent to User.
Don’t Be Boring
This is the reality of sales: If you were able to identify a buyer that seems perfect for your business, other commercial representatives could also do so. If you could also identify a customer who is going to buy, that person probably receives millions of messages from other commercial representatives on a daily basis, in addition to all the communications that they additionally receive.
Therefore, using a very generic subject just means that your subject line will be skimmed over and forgotten forever.
Relate to The Customer
The key to the success of a good object is to know your customers.
What are they looking for?
What do they expect?
How can you help them achieve these goals?
And, even more importantly, how can you summarize in 10 words (those of the subject line) everything?
First, always try to be direct. For example, if you offer a business card printing service at prices lower than those of your competitors, mention this benefit in the subject line of the email:
“Did you know our business cards are 30% cheaper?”.
On the other hand, if you provide accounting services to entrepreneurs who are probably overwhelmed by the amount of work and tasks, they can save time and money by outsourcing this part of their daily life:
“Outsource your business accounting to get your time back”.
Time is incredibly valuable, and entrepreneurs and business people know this very well.
Reference The Sale
A good reference to the sale is gold, and mentioning a known matter is to give a hint of the content of the email. So it is important to mention this reference as prominent as possible in the inbox. Although the email does not have the main intention to generate profit, highlighting an aspect with which the client is familiar will favor the opening of the email, its reading, and the response to the message.
If the email you’re sending is related to a purchase they made, be sure that the recipient is aware of this.
Why send an email about something when the subject line has nothing to do with the content of it? You must summarize perfectly what the user will extract when reading the email.
Don’t try to trick your potential customers into opening the email by using a line that is not consistent with the actual content of the email.
If we see an email with the subject “Re:” we will think that we have already spoken with the sender of the email and probably we will open it to avoid losing a potentially important message. If later we realize that the message was the first contact and came masquerading as a response, the most common feeling is that it bothers us. Even if they do not immediately hit “delete” and the message is interesting, it may leave a bad taste in their mouth.
Tell the truth in your email subject lines. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also work in your favor.
For example, a subject line that says ” How to reduce personnel costs by 50% ” should be linked back to a message that actually tells company owners how they can cut personnel costs in half.
However, if potential customers open this email only to find a generic message about your outsourcing service in front of them, it’s possible that they will never open your email again.
In this instance, they wanted to receive amazing information about how they can actually do this. Such as a well-written blog post. Instead, you have just directly pushed your service upon them without providing any value.
Bonus Email Subject Line Best Practices
Who is it for?
Before developing a newsletter you must be aware of the type of users to which it is addressed. The same tone will not be used when sending an email to first-time parents than to another whose recipients are specialized doctors.
Limit the use of CAPITAL LETTERS
The use of capital letters in emails means that… YOU ARE SHOUTING! Do you like being shouted at?
This can be done tastefully in certain instances, but it is generally something to avoid.
Having the recipients first name in the email can help to boost your open rate. You can capture the name of the recipient with your email sign up form and your email service provider such as GetResponse will store it so that it can appear automatically with a simple function. Someone is definitely going to take more notice of an email if it contains their name as opposed to a subject line that they skim over while filtering their inbox.
There are a series of words that antispam filters use to determine if an email should be sent to the span or junk folders. These are some of the most common words:
– 100% satisfied
– Earn money
– Additional income
– Total refund
– Save up to
Using these words doesn’t mean that it will happen to you, as the context of the email contributes to this as well. Obviously with eCommerce stores using words such as save, refund, and money could be quite common. It’s when you get into mass emails with lists that haven’t been properly verified that this could lead to problems. Always configure your email service provider settings so that your subscribers have to double opt-in. This means they get two confirmation emails when subscribing which is seen as a greater sign of trust that you have legitimately obtained your email list. This will be a crucial part of your email marketing strategy, so be sure that your list has been properly attained.