True beauty is on the inside, right?
Well, not when it comes to emails. No one cares what's inside your email if your subject line is rubbish. You might have a wealth of information in there that will solve all of your customer's problems, but that's no use if it never gets opened.
So how do you get your emails opened?
With a stellar subject line that catches your recipient's attention, draws them in and evokes emotions that leave them with no choice but to open your email.
And how do you write these subject lines?
Well I'll tell you:
1. Keep It Short
Subject lines can get cut off if they're too long. There's no point in spending ages putting together the perfect subject line to compliment your email if half of it isn't going to get seen. So make sure to keep yours short and to the point.
Be aware that they're cut even shorter on mobiles. And since the majority of emails are opened on mobiles these days you need to be writing your subject lines to suit that. Typical email clients show about 50-60 characters, while mobile is about half that. It's a good idea to find out what the most common email client your customers use is, and find out the average subject line length for that.
2. Ask Questions
'Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.'
That quote from chemist Linus Pauling is the reason that questions work so well as an email subject line. They pique our curiosity and we have to satisfy it. If you pose an interesting question that grabs your recipient's attention, they'll have no choice but to click on it and find out the answer.
As well as this, questions give your recipient something to relate to. 'Struggling to Write Content that Converts?' will speak to someone who has been having trouble getting their content right. They'll want to know what you can do to help them, so they'll open your email.
3. Create A Sense Of Urgency
Just like asking questions triggers your recipient's curiosity, giving them a deadline triggers a sense of urgency and importance. 'Sale Ends Tomorrow' or 'Last Chance to Buy' are likely to prompt a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out; it's a real thing, we all get it). No one wants to feel like they've missed out on something, so setting a deadline puts your email at the top of their importance list.
I have been receiving a few emails about a writing course I expressed some interest in a while ago, but hadn't really been paying much attention. Then they sent me an email with the subject line 'Doors Closing Soon' to let me know that the sign up deadline was getting closer. Let me tell you, I opened that email straight away.
4. Tell Them What They're Getting
Think about the amount of emails you get in a day. You don't open all of them, otherwise you'd be there for hours. Instead, you scan your inbox and open the ones that interest you. That's because the subject line has given you an idea of what's inside and it's something you want to know more about.
So make sure you're telling the recipient what's actually in the email. If it's a blog post update, tell them what the blog post is about. '10 Tips For Writing Great Email Subject Lines' is going to get a lot more attention than 'New Blog Post.'
If it's an offer, tell them what it is by including something like '10% off', or 'Summer Sale.' Tell them what they're going to get out of opening the email. If they know they're going to get something good, they're going to click.
Don't lie or mislead the recipient in any way, though. There's no quicker route to the unsubscribe button than if the content of the email doesn't match what the subject line promised.
5. Be Funny (If You Can)
This one isn't for everyone. I know that because I can't use it. I'm not funny enough. I wish I was. I try to be, but I just get looked at with pity. No one wants to be pitied. But if you're good at being funny, then making a joke is the best thing you can do.
Everyone loves to laugh. If you can put a smile on your recipient's face then half your work is done already. You've just brightened up their day and they're instantly going to like you.
Speaking personally, if a subject line has a pun in it, I'm going to open it, regardless of what it's about. I love puns, the cheesier the better. Obviously, you would need to find a sense of humour that suits your brand and your business. Jokes aren't suitable for everything, but for the subjects they work with, jokes are your best friend.
I've spoken about the perks of personalised emails before, and the subject line is no different. Emails with a personalised subject line are 26% more likely to get opened than generic ones. Using someone's name is more likely to grab their attention as they scan their inbox, and it makes them feel more comfortable clicking on it.
Personalising by location is also a good way to get someone to click on your email. If you've got a location-specific offer or event happening, put it in the subject line. The recipient would be more interested knowing that something is happening close to them than if it was just a generic offer.
7. DON'T DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!
My final tip is one that's kind of obvious and I would have thought didn't need to be said, but I know I still get emails that do it, so I'm putting it in just in case you're thinking about it.
Your recipient does not want to be shouted at, so there is no reason to use all capitals. It's aggressive and annoying. Nobody likes it.
The same goes for overuse of exclamation points and other punctuation like that. It makes you seem pushy and looks like spam.
Just don't do it.
The main thing when it comes to writing good email subject lines is to just be honest and show what your content can do for your customer.
You have to prove that your content is useful or else why should they bother opening your email? So do this by being human, being likeable and not being annoying.
If you're still in doubt then make sure to do some A/B testing, with slight changes to your subject lines. See what works best for your customers and what kind of subject lines they respond to, and go with those.