How to write an effective email subject line?

As an entrepreneur and business owner, you understand the importance of email marketing, how it aids in reaching your target audience and driving revenue. You possess a general knowledge that email marketing is a vital source of communication between you and your customers — ergo, a crucial marketing strategy for the success of your business.

Likewise, your customers like to be informed of your new products and services. They like to receive promotional coupons, special event invitations and read helpful articles or news in their genre of interest. According to HubSpot, 95% of customers check their emails daily and 77% of them prefer email communication.

The above paragraph sounds like a perfect mutual business relationship, Doesn’t it? The answer is; It can be, if only you can put forth a little effort toward effectively strategizing your email subject title.

Why is this important?

When you log into your email inbox, you are more than likely to see a ton of emails from various businesses and services that you have subscribed to. You receive at least 25 of these emails daily, informing you about special offers. You scan through your emails and if the title does not seem appealing or relevant, you will either ignore or delete the email.

With that amount of email traffic coming into your inbox, how can you make sure that the emails you send out has the “power words” to cut through the crowd and stand out waiting to be clicked instantly?

Your subject line entices your reader to open your email. It encourages your audience to read the information inside. 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone. Therefore, a carefully considered email title is an important part of the writing process.

Here are 6 helpful tips that will put you on top of the email subject line game:

1. Keep your email subject line between 50–60 characters long

The shorter the subject line, the higher the open click rate. You simply want to get your message across in a clear, simple and effective manner. Remember, 80% of your audience read the subject line. So, be direct.

2. Ask a question

A title with a question will certainly pique your reader’s curiosity. Which in turn will prompt them to click on your email. Keep in mind that you want to make them curious about something they have at least some basic knowledge of and is relevant enough to check the rest of the email. So, make them curious like a cat.

3. Personalize

Your audience love the sound of their own name. Make them feel special by using their name on the subject line. For example, “Happy Birthday Joe — Enjoy the Surprise Inside!” Personalization will also increase your click through rate. So, be personal.

4. Be humorous

Everyone enjoys a good laugh. Most importantly, they will remember it. One of my favorite email subject title is from OpenTable “Licking your phone never tasted so good”. As long as you don’t overdo it, applying humor to your subject title is a successful way to entice your reader and get a click through. So, be playful.

5. Stay away from all CAPS and exclamation points!!!!!

You don’t want your message to come across naive and unprofessional. Using caps means you are yelling, and too many exclamation points can throw some people off and make you appear as an amateur.

6. Optimize your preheader/preview text

It is easy to ignore the preheader text, which is just below your subject line. However, preheader text plays a significant role in the email marketing scheme. Particularly for smart phone users. Consider the preheader as a type of preview or a teaser enticing your recipient to view the content inside your email. It is a perfect opportunity to add your call-to-action, create that sense of urgency and / or curiosity on your preheader text.

When smart phone users check their email, they are not only enticed by the subject line, but also by the sneak preview of the content inside. This allows them to view what it pertains to and how relevant it is to them. This is referred to as a cliff hanger — meaning, they are able to effectively get a reader’s digest overview of your email and make a decision to click through to read further. Thus, increasing your click through rate (CTR).

Your customers trust your brand by your method of delivery. Therefore, deliver what you promise. If your email subject line does not follow the content inside your email, then the chances of garnering customers can become slim. Perhaps even marked as spam.

Your final consideration is when to send your email. What is an appropriate time? This depends on your audience and your business type. If you own a restaurant, then the best time to send an enticing email such as, “Where to Eat Fish & Chips Tonight” would be between 3:00pm to 5:00pm — the typical rush hour.

Lastly, if you could perform A/B split testing of your compelling subject titles, it will prove to be beneficial to you in the long run. You will be able to develop success metrics by defining statistical reports of your customer’s behavior on how they interact with the emails that they receive from you.

Bonus! Boost your subject lines with these 10 “power words”:

1. Sale — It’s a powerful motivator for customers. Take a clue from Walmart.

2. Off — You can give a percentage OFF, but offering an exact dollar amount OFF will see your email opened right away.

3. Now — This creates a call-to-action with a sense of urgency.

4. New — What would you get excited about? Something old or something NEW?

5. Best sellers — I don’t know about you, but given the opportunity, I am always motivated to buy the best and not the worse

6. Be the first — Nobody likes leftovers. Allow your customers to be the first to receive exclusive access to special offers.

7. Your — Speak directly to your customers with a personalized touch. Be like Beyoncé, say their name, say their name.

8. Thank you — A little bit of this goes a long way. Delight customers by marrying your “thank you” with a unique offer.

9. Reminder — Be of service to your customers by offering gentle reminders of your sales events and/or product specials. Imagine this; if you sell batteries, a reminder that they are running low will come as a pleasant surprise.

10. Tips — Relevant tips that are not generally known, come as a welcome gift of knowledge that they can share with others — thus, becoming ardent promoters of your products and services.

Here is a quick list of subject line words that are overused, causing mistrust and preventing emails from getting opened:

Hurry — Look inside — Guaranteed — Groundbreaking — Huge — Hassle-free — Once in a lifetime — Final days to save — SAVE UP TO % RIGHT NOW!!!