Now that you know what it takes to create emails that people actually want to receive (you did read my last blog post – right?) let’s move on to the next section in this 3 part series.
How to get your emails opened
Before we begin though, I want you to once again think about your own email inbox.
Suppose you have two unread emails and they are both from people that you recognise and trust equally. Where do you look to decide which one you’re going to open first?
That’s right — the subject line.
A good email subject line grabs the reader’s attention and entices them to open up the email in order to find out more.
Let’s explore a handful of tips for writing effective email subject lines that will help get your email opened.
1. Focus on the benefits
Remember your subscribers are only interested in what’s in it for them. They don’t care so much about your ‘July Newsletter’. But they probably do care about the ‘Free tickets + Discounted Widgets’ which they can learn more about if they open your email.
2. Be specific
Further to the point above, it helps to narrow things down to the specific benefits your email has to offer. A stronger and more specific version of the example used above would be ‘Free tickets + 50% off Widgets’
3. Create a sense of urgency
Few things prompt people to act more than a deadline. If your email contains an offer that is available only for a limited time be sure to mention this in your subject line. So an even stronger version of our example would be ‘Free tickets + 50% off Widgets until 31st July’.
4. Use power words
These are words that grab people’s attention and evoke emotion. Think of words like ‘awesome’ and ‘devastating’. For inspiration and to learn more on the use of power words check out this devastatingly awesome blog post over at Boost Blog Traffic. (See what I did there?)
5. Look to others for inspiration
There is no shame in looking to your peers for help. In fact they’re an excellent resource for inspiration and helpful tips. So take a moment to subscribe to some top performing brands. It won’t hurt to subscribe to some of your competitors whilst you’re at it. Next time you’re stuck with your email subject line and can’t seem to get it just quite right, go to your inbox and see how others have approached the subject line in emails similar to yours.
6. Test and measure
There is no guarantee that what works today will work tomorrow. So experiment and try different things with your subject line. Just be sure to measure the results of your tests (on opens, clicks and conversions) so that you can optimise future emails and learn what works for your audience.
7. Focus on what works for you and ignore the rest
Email subject lines are complex beasts and there are mixed opinions on things like the optimal subject line length and whether or not using the word ‘free’ is a good idea. But the truth is there are no hard and fast rules here. The only true ‘best practice’ is to find what works for you and your readers.
8. Be smart in writing your pre-header
The pre-header is the very top bit of text in your email and some of the more popular email clients like Gmail and Outlook will display it alongside your email subject line. Lots of marketing emails use the pre-header to say things like ‘View online’ but this is a missed opportunity. To encourage more people to open your email, use the pre-header as an extension of your subject line or to reinforce the benefits of opening it up.
P.S If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our blog and stay tuned for the 3rd and final post in this series — How to get your emails read and your links clicked.