The subject line is a critical component of your newsletter and marketing email. It acts much like a newspaper headline; its job is to get your attention and tell something about the top news for the day. A great subject line will get a person interested enough to want to open the email you sent.
Short and sweet is the perfect phrase to sum up what makes a great headline. Here are some of its characteristics:
- Gives an idea of the content
- Instills a sense of urgency
- Clear and Concise
- Appeals to subscriber’s interests
- Elicits curiosity
There are a ton of best practices being touted by online experts. Some of these you need to do and cannot afford to skip. Others are more situational and will require a bit of trial and error on your part.
Here are some tips for writing an effective Email Subject Line:
Keep within the subject line’s character limit. You’ll want to make sure you get the most impact out of the space provided. A subject like with too many words will likely be cut and won’t look neat. The total number of visible characters varies depending on the user’s settings on his email program, his screen resolution, and what devices he uses it on.
Here are the counts for the most commonly used email clients:
- Yahoo Mail (new version) – 46 characters
- gMail – 70 characters
- iPhone – 41 characters portrait mode, 64 characters landscape mode.
Avoid Spam Filters. There are two things that are commonly used as triggers for spam filters: an email address from a domain name with a bad reputation; and specific keywords on the subject line. You have direct control over both. When it comes to the subject line, avoid using words that everyone will likely filter. Words like “Viagra” are a good example. Check your spam mail folder to see other examples of words you should avoid.
Tone and Choice of words should fit your subscribers. You might be tempted to use some jargon in your subject line to make it sound authoritative, or you might go in the opposite direction and use some colloquial terms. If you want to make sure your email isn’t ignored, you need to match the vocabulary of your mailing list. Keep in mind the composition of the audience you’re sending the email to.
Copy best practices. Don’t cut and paste. Copy or better yet, get inspiration from marketers who have been successful in the email marketing field. You’ll learn a lot just by reading through the title of the emails you received from them. Save subject lines that worked well for you, especially ones that you’ve read and made you open a particular email
Here are some other tips you can try:
- Use a question as your subject line. These can be excellent calls to action.
- WIFM or what’s in it for me. emphasize potential value of email
- Avoid these words: Free, Help, Discount
- Familiarity helps. Make use of headlines referencing local topics, places, or people.
- Share not Sell. A customer follows your list because they find value in your product. Don’t use it to push sales all the time or you risk getting filtered out.
- Add your Brand to the Subject line. Do this only if your brand has established a reputation.
Remember; a good headline should make someone take notice of your email; an effective email subject line makes one want to read the whole email.