4 subject line tips to inspire readers to open your emails

Typing a subject line

As someone that works with emails every single day do you know the number one question I get asked?

‘How can I get people to open my emails?’

The very best way to get your email opened is to send engaging, relevant and timely content. Because this will strengthen your reputation as someone your customers want to receive emails from.

And other things also play a part in whether someone will open your email such as as your pre-header text, how frequently and the time/day you send.

But if you’ve got your email ready to send out and are looking for some quick tips to craft an engaging subject line then you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve waded through the common subject line myths and have come up with the following things you can do to give your subject line a boost.

Here’s how to grab your reader’s attention and help inspire them to open your email.

1. Make sure your subject lines are interesting

You can debate subject line length and if the word FREE will get your emails marked as spam till you’re blue in the face. But it’s undeniable that your subject line must be interesting. Here’s a few tips to help you craft interesting subject lines:

  • Focus on the benefits – what’s in it for your readers? If you can answer this question with your subject line you’re more likely to inspire your customers to open. 
  • Create urgency – people tend to respond when time is running out. Urgency drives emotion and emotion drives action.
  • Offer something of value – if your subject line helps your customers by offering something of value you’re likely to gain their attention.
  • Be timely – include something that’s top of mind for your customers. Whether it’s leveraging seasonal events or a topic that people are talking about right now.
  • Ask a question – according to Litmus subject lines framed as questions perform better. Think about your customer’s needs and unanswered questions.
  • Call to action – we know CTAs are important in your email content but they can work well in subject lines too. People respond when you ask (or tell) them to do something.

2. Be clear about what your email contains

According to MarketingExperiments the key is not magical words, the key is clarity. Set your readers up for a positive experience by creating an informative and accurate subject line.

The last thing you want to do is ‘trick’ your customers into opening your email. A deceptive subject line can leave a bad taste in your reader’s mouth.

I recently received an email from one of my favourite online retailers with the subject line, ‘This email will change your life’. My expectations were pretty high opening the email. And it certainly didn’t change my life (for the record, discounting a pair of jeans isn’t going to change anyones life). I deleted the email and have felt bitter towards that brand ever since.

Set expectations and deliver on any promises your subject line makes.

3. Know your audience and personalise

We know that relevance is an essential ingredient for email marketing. And one way to ensure your emails are relevant is to personalise them. A recent study from Experian found that emails with a personalised subject line are 26% more likely to be opened.

When you segment your database and send personalised emails to your customers, your emails are naturally more engaging to that audience.

4. Test your subject lines and measure your results

What might work for one business might not for another. As there’s no one size fits all rule for subject lines it’s worth experimenting to figure out what works best for your business and customers.

Test out different approaches and measure your results so that you can repeat success. There’s so many mixed opinions about email subject lines remember to focus on what works for you.

Kelly Newbery

Posted by:
Kelly Newbery
Content Marketing Manager

Find out what wearable devices mean for your email marketing

Smart watch

The age of wearable smart devices has well and truly arrived. While the smartwatch has been available for a while now, the arrival of the Apple Watch has launched wearable communication devices further into the mainstream.

Although currently it’s a small section of the market, it’s still worth considering how people interact with wearable devices and what it means for your email marketing. Here’s a couple of tips to help you navigate this evolving landscape.

Conveniently, these tips pretty much apply to good email practices in general, which means they work well for your email marketing even if your customers aren’t using wearable devices. 

Sender details

Sender details become even more important for wearable devices. These details form part of the notification on their watch that someone receives when they have an unread email.

Tip: You should aim to use recognisable sender details – either your own name (or that of your company CEO), or the name of your business. You can run an A/B test to determine whether using a personal name or company name returns better results.

Subject lines

With such a small screen size and minimal amount of information displayed, it’s important to consider the length of your subject lines. It’s also essential your subject lines are engaging because you have even less space to capture your customer’s attention.

Tip: You should aim to keep your subject lines as short as possible – think about 3-6 words. The more area your subject line takes up, the less screen space there is for the rest of your email text.

Preheader text

As wearable smart devices gain popularity, getting crafty with the text at the beginning of your emails will become essential.

When looking at a notification people see at most the first line of your email and in most cases this is your preheader text.

Tip: The aim is to get readers interested enough by the first sentence to read more. You want them to either flag the email to read later or act on your action point straight from their watch.

Calls to action

Keep in mind that links are disabled on the Apple Watch (except for addresses and phone numbers). So if you’re targeting wearable devices consider crafting your call to action in text rather than via a link.

Bricks and mortar businesses can really get the most out of action points by making them focused on calling the business or popping in for a visit. As addresses and phone numbers are linked in the Apple Watch, wearers can act on those action points immediately. They can call up straight away or open the address in maps to make a visit.

Tip: Keep your call to action early in your email and make it obvious – tell your reader exactly what to do.

Plain text

It’s important to ensure that your email has a plain text component. If there’s no plain text component detected then the email may not render on smart watches and a warning message will be displayed.

Tip: The Apple Watch defers to plain text most of the time. So you might like to treat your plain text version of your email as your wearable device section. You can then take advantage of having a nicely designed HTML version as well as having your bases covered when it comes to wearable devices.

Where to from here?

While this might seem like a lot to consider, one thing’s for certain – wearable devices will give marketers power to engage with their audience in new and fun ways.

As the technology grows, so too will the use cases we see from marketers getting clever with how they engage subscribers via wearable devices.

Have you seen an interesting case of email marketing working well on wearable devices? Do you have any tips or tricks for designing emails for these devices? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


Brynnin   Posted by:
Brynnin Halliday
Senior Support Consultant
Posted on in Email Content, Email Design, Email Marketing

What recent tax changes mean for your EOFY email marketing

End of financial year provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses to engage their customers.

I know my inbox is full of EOFY sales and promotions, not to mention tax time reminders.

But this year provides an even greater opportunity for email marketing because of recent tax changes impacting small businesses.

Basically, businesses with an annual turnover under $2 million can claim immediate tax deductions for purchases below $20,000. Previously they had to claim these purchases as deductions spread over several years.

This is a big change and with it comes good news. It’s likely to lead to significant EOFY spending in order for these small businesses to bring forward tax savings into this financial year.

What does this mean for you?

Well it’s the perfect time to create a campaign to target small business customers with offers which encourage them to take advantage of these changes.

We know that the key to sending engaging emails is to ensure that they’re relevant and timely.

So the recent tax announcement makes now the perfect time to reach out to your customers with an EOFY promotion.

Here’s a simple example from Cameras Direct who are really taking advantage of the recent announcement.

End of Financial Year Email

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these examples of businesses using EOFY to create urgency and drive sales.

Ready to create an email and boost sales in the lead up to EOFY? Login to your account and check out our newly released EOFY templates – you’ll find them in the seasonal template folder. Don’t have an account? Start free today.

Paul Trappett  

Posted by:
Paul Trappett
General Manager

Posted on in Email Content, Email Marketing, Industry News
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