Ramping Up the Performance of Your Email Subject Lines

Email Subject Lines

Countless marketing industry outlets have proclaimed that the “death” of email has come to pass – and we couldn’t disagree more. Email marketing remains one of the most reliable ways to reach prospects, leads, and customers. It’s uniquely positioned to allow companies to slowly, but surely, provide a consistent stream of valuable content to your audience through the use of drip campaigns and lifecycle marketing.

The success of email marketing hinges on your ability to convince your recipients to open emails. Although a number of factors will influence your open rates, none have greater influence than the email subject line. According to a study by Convince & Convert, 33% of people open your emails based on the subject line.

Here are five tips you can use to quickly improve the performance of your email subject lines.

1. Provide Upfront, Immediate Value

Everyone’s had a bad experience with marketing emails. They pop into your inbox with an enticing subject line that promises a good experience. But once you open the message you’re sorely disappointed at how flat the email falls and its lack of value. Not only has your time been wasted, but now you subsequently think less of the company who sent the email.

To avoid creating these kinds of experiences for your own email recipients, make it a point to provide value immediately and make sure you announce it in your subject line.

Examples of information-valuable email subject lines:

  • “X” tips for solving [pain point]
  • How to prioritize your week in “X” minutes
  • You’re Missing Out on Free Points
  • How [product] helped us solve [issue]
  • Learn [skill] in “X” weeks

Upfront value provides prospects, leads, and customers with an immediate reason to open your emails. Subconsciously, they feel that their time has been respected and that this email is worth their attention.

2. Personalize Your Messaging

People within your target audience like to feel like they’re special to your brand. Most marketing email service providers allow you to personalize email subject lines in your campaigns. Adding recipient-specific information, such as their first name or mentioning shared interests, can show recipients that you’re invested in finding a solution that meets their needs. And don’t worry, it’s not as creepy as it sounds.

3. Pose a Question

Asking questions does two things for your email campaigns:

1. It captures the attention of your email recipient and entices them to open the email

2. It encourages recipients to engage with your message by building curiosity

When we see questions in our email subject lines, it creates the desire to know or provide an answer. To make your subject lines even more compelling, try asking a question and then answer it with the same subject line:

“Struggling with sales? This tool tripled our revenue.”

4. Keep it Brief

As noted by MailChimp, there’s no proven correlation between the length of an email subject line and its accompanying open rate. However, even if that is the case, it’s still a smart idea to optimize the length of your subject lines for future campaigns. Email is increasingly accessed on mobile devices so it’s more important than ever to formulate subject lines that will perform well on a small screen.

It’s easier for recipients to understand the purpose of an email if the entire subject line fits on the screen. Moreover, using a succinct subject line will ensure that your copy is easy to read and gets right to the point without relying on “fluff.”

5. Don’t Sensationalize

This one’s less of a tip and more of a warning. Subject lines that make outlandish claims or appear completely obnoxious are either going to end up in the spam folder or the trash bin. Obnoxious subject lines are the equivalent of a salesman that yells non-stop at the top of his lungs. It’s not the shock value of your message that’s going to convert recipients, it’s the value your content brings to the table.

Focus on creating value-driven email subject lines that compel your audience to click “open” and your open rates will soar. Your subject lines function much like headlines because they’ll largely determine whether or not your emails are embraced or forgotten.

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