Perfecting Your Email Subject Line

It’s becoming more and more difficult to get your email opened and clicked. Yet, the experts agree that email marketing is alive and well, and still provides a fantastic ROI.

Let’s talk about your email gatekeeper: the Subject Line.

What’s the bottom-line goal of the subject line? Get the email recipient to open your message, continue reading, and take action.

You have a very short time to convince a person to read your email. Sources vary exactly; but it’s between five to seven seconds. Let’s agree that you don’t have much time. Here’s are some suggestions:

  • Keep it short. Five to seven words is recommended. Put focal words upfront for mobile readers.
  • Be direct. Convey the value of your message.
  • Make it personal. Use customized merges and list segmentation.
  • Use emotional and powerful words to drive interest.

What type of sentence structure should you use? A declarative or imperative statement seems to fit the above guidelines. And sometimes it does. However, there are recommended styles that can improve your open rate. Experiment with these to see which works best with your message and audience.

  • Lists. You see these all the time: “4 Ways to…,” “6 Types of…,” etc. Bulleted and numbered lists makes it easy for readers to digest information, therefore they’re more appealing. Use the number in your subject line (4); don’t spell it out (Four).
  • Asking a question in the subject line can pique the reader’s interest. Be sure to answer it in the body of your email.
  • How to…” subject lines suggest informative and authoritative content. Again, don’t disappoint your readers.

There are conflicting guidelines among the experts on style. Should you use humor, wordplays, controversy? Overall it depends on your audience and your brand image. Don’t ever write a subject line that is misleading or that compromises your brand in an attempt to increase your open rate. These readers won’t be clicking on the next email you send.

What works best for you?

JeanMarie

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