How to Write a Better Email Subject Line

Follow these best practices to engage your subscribers and watch open rates soar

When it comes to sending an email, first impressions are everything. Despite the age-old saying, people really do judge books by their covers. Don’t bury your quality content with a sub-par subject line. Our analytics team has compiled a list of best practices to help take your company-wide email or monthly newsletter to the next level. Follow our tips below to craft a top-notch subject line that is sure to engage even the Judgiest of Judies.

Engage, Urge and Intrigue

When crafting a subject line, try to strike a chord with one of the following: curiosity, urgency, personalization or relevance. Asking a question or putting pressure on your subscribers to “Act now!” will encourage them to click and find out what’s so important. A slight air of mystery won’t hurt, either. Addressing recipients individually will also remind subscribers that they have a relationship with your brand, and they’ll be more inclined to open your email. Finally, alluding to a noteworthy event or celebration that just took place will help your email be top of mind, and, therefore, more relevant to your subscribers.

Keep it Short

A subject line should be easy to scan and understand. If it’s too long and difficult to decipher, it’s going to end up in the digital trash bin. Aim for under 50 characters, with the goal of being somewhere around 25 to 30 characters. Preview your email before scheduling, and see how the subject line appears on different devices. Does it get cut off? Is the most important information missing? Cut down where you can, and watch open rates soar!

Keep Your Promises

If your subject line reads “Open for Fall Fashion Inspiration,” you better have some ideas for autumn-inspired outfits in there! Failing to meet subject line expectations will make your brand seem unreliable, and you may lose subscribers as a result.

Be Direct

Subject lines have to be short, so there’s little room for fluffy or vague language. That being said, you can still make minor adjustments to tighten up your subject line and mention how the contact can benefit from opening your email. For example, “How to increase open rates” is a good start—it’s clear, concise and effective. However, “Increase your open rates by 50% today!” is more direct, and your subscriber will understand exactly why they should click to read more.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Exclusive

Everyone likes to feel like they’re getting something special. Starting your subject line with “You’re invited,” “Private event,” “Exclusive offer” or “Customers only” piques your subscribers’ interest and rewards them for their continued support.

BONUS! General Email Best Practices

Now that you’ve perfected your subject line (round of applause for you!), ensure that your email meets the following criteria before hitting send.

Send with a Strategy

Create segmented lists by grouping contacts into categories using information you already know about them. You don’t want to send a vegetarian a menu for a steak restaurant, or a Californian a list of recommendations for Chicago-area gyms. This may require more effort from your analytics and content teams, but you’ll garner more engagement if your subscribers have relevant information to engage with.

Add a Personal Touch

A sign-off from a member of your team makes a better impression than an email from an entire corporation. Think of it this way: If your reader is really wowed by your content and wants to connect, they’ll at least have a name to ask for when they reach out to your company.

Stay Current

Be timely with your content. Don’t write about how great summer was when Christmas is just around the corner. Sure, you might have some engagement because people will wonder what the heck you’re talking about. Ultimately, though, you’ll lose credibility. Was this just some standard email you forgot to update, or is your team really out of touch? Staying current helps you look informed and keeps your subscribers interested.

If you’re looking to polish your email marketing strategy, we’d love to help. Contact us today to see how we can improve your open rates and make sure your message resonates with your subscribers.

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