4 quick tips for writing effective email subject lines

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One of the first things to fall by the wayside in a time crunch is the art of writing effective email subject lines.

Things get busy. You rush. And instead of creating emails strategically and with forethought, you push emails out just to stay on schedule. You focus on creating the body of your content and then slap a subject line on just before you hit send.

Question is, are your emails actually being opened and consumed by the majority of your subcribers? Has your lack of attention to subject lines hurt your open rates?

Numbers don't lie. If you've seen a dip in your open rates or an increase in unsubscribes, a great way to improve your numbers is refocusing efforts on crafting impactful email subject lines.

Here are four quick tips for writing effective email subject lines that will get your open rate back to where it should be:

  1. Get to the Point. 
    Keep your subject line as short as possible and always keep it under 50 characters. Think of how many emails you open and read on your phone every day--if you write a subject line that is more than 50 characters, you could lose almost half of your audience that is likely reading your email on their mobile device. Your audience has a limited attention span--use your subject line to deliver your message concisely and in a way that is legible on any device.
  2. Don't Be Cute or Clever. 
    Being cute or clever immediately makes most people think of SPAM. Subject lines like, "How Are You?", or "Guess What's Inside?" scream: DO NOT OPEN. BEWARE. Your subject line should be direct, short and use action-oriented, benefits-driven language. A reader wants to know how you can benefit them in as few characters as possible and without the fluff.
  3. Ask Intriguing Questions. 
    Create subject lines that ask questions that resonate with your target audience. For example, if your potential clients are owners of residential service companies, you could ask, "Are Your Techs Hurting Your Reputation?" Or, if you're targeting CEOs or C-suite executives of larger business, why not ask, "Are You Making These Boardroom Mistakes?" Asking a relevant question that touches on a pain point can lead to a big  email open rate bump.
  4. Be Scientific. 
    Develop subject line approaches, test them out and determine what works. Every business is different. Every audience has its quirks based upon industry, geography and pyschology. So, test your subject lines for effectiveness. If you have a list of 5,000 emails, send subject line A to 2,500. Send subject line B to 2,500 and see which performs best. Make this a standard practice for your email strategy so you can learn over time and make adjustments as needed.

Writing effective subject lines, like writing great newspaper headlines, is an art that takes thoughtfulness and attention.

Take the time to develop a method and strategic approach to subject line creation. Test your approach. You'll soon see the benefit as your open rates improve and better email marketing results become sustainable.

If you’d like more information on how to create stellar subject lines and great content, give Illumine8 a call. We’d be happy to help.

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