blog post image

Eight tips for writing effective subject lines

Using all capital letters should be avoided, and the use of too many characters is likely to turn people off. It might be worth thinking twice about using words associated with donations too.

These are some of the things people don’t want to see in the subject line of emails. It’s no surprise that many people struggle with getting email subject lines right. They are the hardest working element of a marketing email, and decide the fate of the email’s contents – the words in the subject line will either inspire a reader to open the email, ignore it, or send it to the trash.

Writing email subject lines is not easy, especially if you’re trying to come up with original ways to grab your reader’s attention, increase engagement with your brand and stand out from the thousands of other emails in your reader’s inbox.

Images -300x 137

A marketing email’s subject line generally has a few aims, including getting your brand in front of your customers, inspiring the customer to open the email, or communicating a message.

We’ve compiled a few interesting facts about email opening rates and the all-important subject line content.

+          Using the word ‘free’ in the subject line can be positive, but doesn’t always work. Use of the word ‘freebie’ was found to increase open rates much more, according to a study of about 24 billion delivered emails by Mail Chimp.

+          Conveying a sense of urgency can also increase open rates, with words including ‘urgent’, ‘breaking’, ‘important’ and ‘alert’, all found to have a positive impact.

+          Words associated with charity are a definite no-no, with the word ‘donate’ topping the list of most negative words. Others including ‘charity’, ‘fundraiser’ and ‘raffle’ also have a significant detrimental effect on opening rates.

+          Anything slightly vague can be a turn-off so ensuring your subject line is concise, clear and interesting is a must according to research by AWeber. Creatively written subject lines are generally a hit too.

+          Thanking recipients is a positive way to increase open rates, but if you’re planning to ask people to sign up for something or tell them that they’re missing their last chance to enter/do/buy something, you may as well not bother as the chances are, your email won’t be opened.

+          Personalising subject lines may be a step too far according to an Econsultancy survey. Although most businesses believe that personalistion is a key part of their strategy, using someone’s name in the subject line of an email may deter customers as it can come across as overly familiar. Strangely, though, Mail Chimp’s study found the use of first and last names in a subject line had a more positive response on opening rates than the use of a first name alone.

+         Mail Chimp also found announcements, invitations and cancellations piqued readers’ interest more than repeated reminders. The words ‘announcement’ and ‘invite’ had an overtly positive impact on open rates.

+          Basing a campaign on recent current events was also shown to be popular, with higher opening rates than usual if words in the subject line related to recent events.

What is the most popular subject line you’ve used? Do you have any tips for generating successful email subject lines?