10 email marketing subject line tips

Thursday, February 10, 2011 by Richard Howe

The subject line is the first thing your email subscribers see, so it's important to give this the attention it deserves.

Here's 10 tips to improve yours...

1. Check the papers

Their headlines are usually very short, and highlight the story's facts in a very small amount of space. The same principles should be used in your email subjects. Let the reader know what your message is about, and what's in it for them.

There is only a fine line between a great subject, and something that an email filter will consider as spam. Run your email marketing subject line and body through a spam checker to test your paragraphs if in any doubt. Two things to definitely avoid are subject lines with all capitals, and exclamation marks...especially several of them in a row.

3. Don't recycle subjects

These will become too familiar to the reader, especially in a series for the same product or service. The intrigue of your marketing emails will be lost this way.

4. Don't repeat yourself

If your "from" email address includes your company name, don't repeat this in the subject line as that will take up valuable characters. Instead, if your newsletter has a name, consider using this. That way, if your marketing email ends up in the reader's junk folder, they can spot it at a glance amongst everything else.

5. List key info

List key information in the first 50 characters. Any secondary information can come after this. Also ensure your subject isn't so long it gets cut off half way through a keyword. 

6. Create a convo

Create an on-going conversation by sending your email templates out frequently. By sending once every week or every 2 weeks, you should soon be able to tell which topics get your subscribers reading the most. You can then use keywords related to these topics to capture the reader's initial interest.

7. Create urgency

Create urgency with a deadline. "Half price today only" for example, creates this need for an action before it's too late. You could even build up to the final day with a series of emails, counting down from 5 or 7 days.

8. Use free, freely

Using the word "Free" isn't the big no-no it's made out to be. It can be used providing it's not the first word of the sentence or with exclamation marks. People still respond to this word, so any emarketing that does get caught by certain filters, will be out weighed by the open rates of the successful recipients.

9. Keep the trust

Don't distort the subject line to boost your open rates. If a reader doesn't think your marketing subject line reflects the content, they are going to think you're untrustworthy and think twice about buying from you.

10. Test...test...test. Test.

Keep testing different styles of subject line to see what works best for your list. Don't rush the creation of this, or just put anything down as an after thought. Try email split testing your subject line on a small segment of your list and see how they respond. If it seems to be working, send it out the rest of the group.

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