5 Tips For Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

Tips For Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

The first thing you need to get right when it comes to email marketing is the subject line. If you can’t get your subscribers to open your emails, it really doesn’t matter how good the actual email is.

It’s easy to spend a lot of time crafting a great message and then just slap a subject line on it at the end. Instead, spend some time writing them and see what type of headline gets you optimal open rates. Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Keep It Short

You want your readers to see the entire subject line before clicking it. You also want to make it easy for readers to scan through their emails. Did you know up to 46% of email opens happen on mobile devices? Practice delivering your subject line using 7 words or 41 characters, which is considered the optimal format. Don’t forget to test your email first and review how your subject line looks on your own devices.

2. Swap “Spammy” Words with Active Verbs 

Stay away from using any words we all associate with spam emails. Words like “sale,” “discount,” “coupon,” “free,” “limited time offer,” and even “reminder” are overused, and even if they don’t trigger a spam filter and actually make it to your reader’s inbox, chances are high they’ll get ignored.

Instead, start by using the emails you’re saving in your swipe file and then go back and see what subject lines got the best open rates. Try to analyze why they worked well for your market. Not everything will work well in every niche. Find the types of subject lines that get your readers to open your emails and tweak from there. 

Don’t forget to consider this copywriting pro tip from Brendan Hufford, founder of the Podcast SEO for the Rest of Us:

“When you read an active, physical verb like “step” or “kick” or “grabbed,” the verb activates the part of your brain responsible for that movement.

Your brain responds as if you’re actually swimming a stroke, or sneezing.

It’s called “sympathetic cognitive mirroring.”

BUT when you read any form of the verb “is” or “has,” no corresponding brain activity occurs.

Likewise, with abstract verbs such as “believe” or “love” or “remember.”

No sympathetic cognitive mirroring happens.”

Thanks, Brendan!

3. Personalize It

People don’t like to feel like they’re a number. They want to feel like they’re understood and seen. So personalizing subject lines is a sure way to get your readers’ attention, so long as you don’t overuse it. 

Depending on what data you collect when your readers sign up, you can personalize other things like their location. For example, seeing the name of your province or even city in an email subject line is sure to get your attention.

4. Pique Their Curiosity

People are naturally curious and have a fear of missing out. It’s hard to ignore subject lines that sound intriguing or only tell part of the story. Providing a quick quip or an interesting fact that creates an urge to read more will boost open rates. The idea here is simple. You want them to click and open the email to find out what the heck you’re talking about or how the story ends.

Just as I tell my toddler not to eat his broccoli when I do indeed want him to eat it, readers tend to be curious about the “off-limits” approach. Manicube used this strategy to send their audience an email with the subject line “Don’t Open This Email” earning a spot on HubSpot’s top 150 list of the best email subject lines they’ve ever seen. If you use this strategy, be sure your audience is familiar with your brand or service!

5. Avoid ALL CAPS

One emoji we can handle, but nobody likes to be screamed at through their devices. So leave out that extra exclamation point and capitalize only the first letter of the sentence for best practice. Beyond being a bit extra, writing in all caps is an excellent way to land yourself inside spam jail. 

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