A few weeks ago, we briefly went over why email marketing is integral for all ad campaigns–not only is it cheap, but it also the best way to reach the most potential customers. It is a powerful tool.
But only if people actually open your emails.
It doesn’t matter if your emails have dynamite content if no one is bothering to open them. Open rates are the lynchpin of a successful campaign, and the biggest factor for increasing open rates is having strong, carefully crafted subject lines. Subject lines are the face of your campaign. The first thing the customer sees, and the first thing they judge–and people make quick judgments.
Every day, how many emails do you get? And how many do you open? We are merciless with the mouse as we quickly dump the majority of our emails into the junk box.
Today, we’ll go over how we use subject lines to increase email open rates and how you can apply these lessons to survive in your customer’s inboxes.
Your subject line needs something eye-catching to stand out in a bloated inbox. Luckily, there are plenty of simple tricks.
Long and Short Subject Lines: Many marketing emails letter count hovers around 45 characters. However, it’s become more clear in recent years that longer sentences–around 65-70 characters–increase open rates. I know, it seems excessive. . . but seeing more detail about the content of the email seems to be appealing. However, you can also leverage very short sentences to stand out against the proliferation of longer sentences. Make it snappy, and focus more on eliciting an emotional response. A subject line can be as short as 1-3 lines. With such little space, try to use bold and emotional language.
Don’t Use Title Case: Title case is when you capitalize every word in a subject line, like I’m doing with all of this article’s headings. In an informational article or news headline, title case is the norm. On the other hand, how many of your friends use title case in their subject lines? Title case makes you subject line sound sterile and look too business-like. Instead, not capitalizing each word makes it sound more personal. A subject with a casual voice makes the email sound like it is coming from a real person, and not some automated list.
Play Around With Punctuation: Colons, semicolons, m-dashes, question marks, and especially parentheses stand out against other subject lines. Learning to use them effectively can give your open rates a decent boost. They draw the eye and raise the chances people will read the whole subject line. However, before you start make sure you know how to use them correctly. Having an awkward, ungrammatical subject line outweighs the effectiveness of the punctuation.
Throw In Some Humor: It doesn’t need to be a gut-buster, but just getting a small smile can go a long way in increasing open rates. An email inbox may be one of the most boring and tedious places on the web. Humor, though, can show that your business is clever, ironic, or playful. Getting a laugh starts to create a personal connection between the customer, making the brand more personal. Other emails
A/B Testing: Testing different subject lines against each other is essential. Not only will it let you know which subject line increases open rates, you can also use that information to understand your customers and refine future emails. A/B testing is even more effective when you have a segmented email list. Again, you can start to zero in on what kind of language appeals to specific audiences.
Subject Line Should Reflect Content: No one wants to feel tricked or led on. A subject line that is interesting but misleading is like the headline of a tabloid magazine. If you send one of these emails, people are much less likely to open your next emails. It undermines trust. Instead, a subject line that is a good preview of the content increases open rates.
Avoid Spam Filters: An email campaign will tank if the emails are getting funneled to the spam box. The subject line, instead of the content, is the main thing filters look at. Certain words and phrases like “free” “rich” or “deal”. Of course, using one of these words isn’t a death sentence for your email. However, avoiding them is ideal.
There are entire books on subject lines, but these tips are an easy, effective way to get started increasing open rates. Play around with it. Be clever, be bold, be fun–anything to be more exciting and stand out. Learn to love subject lines, and they’ll treat you well.
If you’d like to work with a detailed-oriented agency, contact us today–we’d love to get in touch.