While it seems like a minor detail of your overall email marketing program, the subject line may make or break your campaign. The average person receives 121 emails each day, and the subject line is oftentimes the deciding factor on whether the message is received and opened, or banished to the dreaded Trash or Spam folders.
The subject line is similar to a “first impression,” and should be brief, descriptive, and give the recipient a compelling reason to open the message. Read on for our rundown of best practices for effective email subject lines.
Know Your Audience AND Your Goal
When you are crafting an email subject line, it is essential to keep in mind who your audience is, and what action you want them to take. Are you trying to make a sale? Offer a promotion? Or just reach out to your subscribers? Your final goal will determine what your subject line should include. Be clear about the value of your email, and what it means for your subscribers. However, avoid writing your subject line like an advertisement … your subject line should tell what’s inside, not sell what’s inside.
Build immediate rapport with your audience and create the impression that you are working together by getting personal in both the subject line and the address from which the email is sent. Avoid the “no-reply” sender address whenever possible, rather send the email from a real person within your company. Furthermore, emails that include the first name of the recipient in the subject line typically result in the highest click-through rates. Go even further by segmenting your email list and personalize different subject lines for different audiences. By crafting a subject line that speaks directly to their interest in your company, you will increase the likelihood that they will want to learn more.
Keep it Simple (and Short)
Shorter is better when it comes to subject lines trying to stand out in a crowded inbox. In today’s busy world, an email subject line that is hard to decipher will get your email deleted. Your subject line should be scannable at a glance, and be 50 or fewer characters in length. According to MailChimp, 28-39 characters was the “sweet spot” with the highest click rate in a study of 200 million emails.
Right Message, Right Time
The top performing subject lines are relevant and timely for your audience, and oftentimes create a sense of urgency. Using concise, action-oriented language, use your subject line to speak directly to your audience and let them know that there is something valuable waiting for them inside. This can be done by posing a compelling question, providing an offer or discount, or highlighting trendy topics or timely headlines relevant to the audience’s industry.
There’s both an art and a science to writing compelling email subject lines that not only get your readers to open your emails but to take action after they open. It is one of the hardest and most important parts of email marketing, but these best practices provide guidelines to make your next campaign a success.
For help managing your email marketing program—and crafting your perfect subject line—contact the email marketing experts at MJ2 Marketing today.