If you’re running email marketing campaigns for your business, creating email subject lines is only part of what you do. You’ve got the content in the body of the message, the selection of graphics or photos, color, formatting, font choices, optimized send times, A/B testing, list segmentation and more to worry about.
It’s easy for the subject line to become a last-minute effort, but when that’s the case, it’s obvious both in your audience’s lack of response and your diminished or lower-than-average open rates.
Convince & Convert found that 33% of email recipients decide whether or not they’ll open emails based on whether or not they have compelling email subject lines. Beyond that, 69% of recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.
Most of the brands and businesses sending emails that are reported as spam based on the subject line are not intentionally sending spam to their subscriber lists. In fact, they may have worked diligently to put together an informative newsletter, recommended product curation, company announcement, or email promotion for the customer, but made the mistake of making the subject line an afterthought.
You can avoid getting marked as spam or simply ignored by your subscribers when you follow the best practices for email subject lines.
4 Proven Tactics to Create Compelling Email Subject Lines
By putting the following 4 simple tactics into action, you can create compelling email subject lines that increase email open and click rates.
1. Value clear over clever
Sometimes, you come up with a pun or funny subject line for your email. You consider using it and think your audience will enjoy it, too. But your subscribers would rather see an email subject line that clearly describes what they’ll see when they open the email. If it’s an offer, it should say so. If you’re announcing something, you don’t have to reveal the surprise in the subject line, but you should allude to it.
Many studies have shown that open rates are significantly higher – 541% in one study – when the email recipients clearly understood the subject and were able to make a decision on whether or not to open the email. People won’t click it to find out what you meant – they’ll just scroll past, mark it as spam, or delete it.
2. Come up with a new subject line every time
The subject line is the method recipients have to evaluate and judge the merit of your email before deciding whether or not to open it. If you use the same line over and over, even slightly modified versions of it, you alienate anyone who didn’t respond to that subject line in the first place and desensitize those who did.
The best practice is to create an entirely unique subject line for every email, even if it’s a weekly or monthly newsletter. Including information about what will be included in the body of the email helps recipients identify whether or not the content inside will interest them. While you might get lower open rates in general, your click through rates might increase because smaller numbers of a better-targeted audience are clicking and following links from your email.
3. Consider emojis for certain B2C markets
Compelling email subject lines can get an advantage over the other thousands of emails pouring into the average user’s inbox in a day by standing out with emojis. A smiley face, wrapped gift, sunglasses, stars – lots of big brands and retailers use emojis in their subject lines to draw visual attention to the email and increase the chances of the email getting opened.
A general rule to follow when considering emojis: If you’re a B2B company, avoid it. If you’re a B2C company marketing to a younger demographic, it’s worth it to give it a try and measure your results.
4. Write shorter subject lines
Most of your email recipients are on mobile screens when they check their inbox. Mobile email inboxes show fewer characters of the subject line than desktops or laptops – on average, just 20-30 characters compared to 50. Research shows that the most compelling email subject lines have less than 30 characters.
This sentence is thirty characters
Email subject lines with 30 or fewer characters have above average open rates. The highest open rates are among emails with one to two word subject lines, like “For you” or “Surprise!” You really can’t go too short when it comes to subject lines, so experiment with shorter subjects to get higher open rates!