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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
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