Everybody knows the importance of email marketing. More than 34% of the people worldwide use email. But if you look at your inbox, how many unread emails do you’ve got? 400? 900? Or maybe, if you’re like us and are subscribed to countless different mailing list, 6.702 emails? And that is only in our inbox (not counting every email that is automatically sorted out using rules in our Gmail).
Everyone gets tonnes of emails every day, and a lot of them are never opened. The chances of your email being ignored are pretty high. No matter what you might think, people do judge emails by their subject lines.
According to research done by Convince and Convert, 33% of email recipients decide if they are going to open your email or not based on only the subject line and 69% of email recipients also report email as spam based solely on the subject line.
Knowing this you might start to rethink your subject lines. After all, you do want your email to get open-end, read, and clicked right? Knowing that it all start with the subject line, let’s dive into some tips actionable tips you can start implementing straight away.
#1 Keep it short and sweet
Email subject lines will get cut off in email clients when they are too long. Now with 91% percent of people using their smartphones to check their emails, the importance of keeping your subject lines short and sweet is even more important.
According to MailChimp, it’s even better to keep subject lines to 50 characters or less. Even if people are reading email on their desktops, most people are quickly scanning subject lines to decide whether or not to open the entire email. Keeping yours short and sweet will give it a higher probability for people to open your emails.
If you’re struggling to keep your subject lines short, think about which words matter the most to convey your message to your audience. Do you really need to include the order number in your subject line, or is “Your order has been shipped” not enough to tell your customers that they can expect their awesome package soon?
The same thing for your newsletters, do you need to include the word Newsletter or Update in there? According to a 2012 study of Adestra, emails including the word newsletter saw a decrease of 18.7% in open rates.
Keeping your subject lines short and sweet will do a lot!
#2 Avoid sounding to sales-y
People know how they want to spend their times. And most of it, it is not by reading yet another sales email. Of course, there might be times where you want to sell stuff to your subscribers, but don’t be too aggressive.
By showing value first before going for the sale, there is a higher probability that people will open up your email.
#3 Use actionable verbs
One of the easiest ways to encourage your readers to open your emails is by thinking of your subject lines as Call-To-Actions (CTA). Your subject line is a CTA in disguise 😉
Using actionable language within your subject lines, you can urge your reader towards the action of opening up your email. Actionable subject lines will inspire people to click on your email by giving them the sense of urgency and excitement. For example, in an email inviting your readers to an exclusive deal something like “Book now to avoid missing out..” is very actionable, or “Discover this winter’s must-have…”. Which one would you rather open “Join us at the movies!” or “Going to the movies is fun”?
If you’re able to spark the interest of your readers, the actionable subject line can be the trigger for them to open your email.
A subject line is basically a Call-To-Action in disguise 😉 So you want language that people feel inspired enough to click and open your email.
#4 Make people feel special
Everyone loves to hear the sound of their own name. Research done by MarketingSherpa proves this. According to them including a name in the subject line boosted open rates by 29.3%.
Including the name of the person you’re emailing in the subject line can be done very easily and most email service providers support this straight from the box. Thinks like “John, we really wanted to share this..” or “Happy Birthday John, surprises inside!” around someone’s birthday makes it even more unique.
Another way to let your customers feel special via personalisation is by using their location. Uber and WeWork do a great job with this, by sending us location-specific emails. Flight deals from close-by airports, exclusive discounts for shops in the neighbourhood of your customers, all could increase your open rates.
Little touches of personalization can make people feel more special, be sure to include backups in case you don’t know their name by using things like “you” or “your”, so it still sounds like you’re addressing your readers directly.
Next to addressing your readers directly, you could also use the psychology behind exclusivity. If people feel they’re on the inside of some special deals or a special group it gives them a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging helps to build on loyalty, which in returns delivers better open rates for your emails.
#5 Create a sense of urgency
When you need to create a decision, do you ever hesitate? Of course you do. Even when you need to make small decision, like what to buy for breakfast or which coffee flavour to buy at your local Starbucks, we always debate and try to delay the decision-making process.
Nowadays, there is too much choice. And with too much choice, we keep on postponing to make a decision or won’t make a decision at all. So how do you get people to take action with your emails? You need to eliminate the possibility of procrastination and potentially to have your email ending up in the big pile of never opened emails.
By creating a sense of urgency in your writing, you can help your readers to take action. There are two easy ways to achieve this:
- Setting a deadline – nothing creates a greater sense of urgency than the fear of missing out. By putting the deadline in your subject line, you can reinforce that sense of urgency. Things like “…ends tomorrow”, “offer good till 10/12/2016”, or “offer expires this Friday”, are strong ways to help your readers to open that email. If you don’t want to use hard deadlines or expire dates, you can still use time-sensitive language in a more general way using subject lines like “limited-time offer”, “time is running out” or “last chance” are all good ways to communicate the urgency and the fear of missing out.
- Creating demand using scarcity – a different way to communicate a sense of urgency with your readers without the need to rely on deadlines is to create a sense of scarcity. You could use copy like “Get it before it’s gone” or “Only five spots left”. Reminding your audience that you only have a limited and rapidly diminishing supply of something can really do wonders.
If used honest, both the setting of a deadline or the creation of scarcity can do wonders for the opening of your emails. But always remember, to be honest, you don’t want to communicate about a limited supply of your product or service or a set deadline after which it will never be available anymore for them to stumble upon your website one week after and see that there is still plenty available.
#6 Pose a compelling question.
At number three, we were talking about actionable verbs creating CTA’s for your readers. Questions work in the same manner. Your readers are more likely to open the email to get the answer to a question or simply to find out more about what you’re asking. Questions can also cause your reader to pause for a quick second to consider what they would answer.
The best questions will resonate with your reader and their experiences. It doesn’t have to be a tough one either just as long as it creates a sense of wonder.
- Why is your house not selling?
- What would it take for this to be the best week ever?
- Are you a zombie without your morning coffee as well?
- Do you check your Facebook when you first wake up in the morning?
By following the six tips we explored in this article, you can start exploring email subject lines to find what works best for your audience. By analysing what’s effective and what’s not, you can be on your way to engaging subscribers with genius subject lines.
What are the subject lines that work best for you? Leave them in the comments!