Dos and one big don’t for email subject lines

When your email lands in someone’s inbox, the subject line is their first impression. Try to spend a little time and make it a good one.

I’ve had people argue that subject lines don’t matter; that the most important thing is good content or that the sender is known. I agree that valuable content is quite important. However, emails with different subject lines from the exact same person or company can have vastly different open rates – so subject lines matter.

Sure, some people might open your email anyway, even with a ho-hum subject line. But, more people are going to open it if your subject line is compelling! Particularly if you are noticing a decrease in your open rates, try these suggestions below.

A Big Don’t

One of the biggest don’ts I see with subject lines in email marketing is using a similar subject over and over, such as “Jo Bob’s December Newsletter.” It will hurt your open rates. Most of us have 50 million emails in our inboxes to sort through, and we’re busy people. If you aren’t grabbing attention with your subject line from the get-go, it’s more likely your email will be overlooked and never opened.

Do Use a Combination of These Tasty Types of Subject Lines

Urgent Subject Lines
These subject lines convey a sense of time limitation or scarcity, and most promotional emails fall into this category.
• “Last chance for this offer”
• “Hurry! 20% off ends SOON”
• “Tick, tock… this offer is good for 48 hours”

Direct Subject Lines
One of the most common types of subject line clearly describes what’s inside.
• “How to turn a blog post into a video”
• “Learn more about XYZ”
• “Inside: Your $10 promotional gift code”

Quantifying Subject Lines
Using numbers in the text can be a good way to generate more attention.
• “7 steps to optimize your newsletter”
• “Two solutions you can’t afford to miss”
• “5 ways to develop a prosperity mindset”

Teaser Subject Lines
Teasers generate curiosity and can be quite effective. One of the copywriters I follow swears that one of her most opened emails had the subject line, “Can I count on you?” Here are some other examples:
• “Can you believe this happened?”
• “The secret to better results”
• “This is all I can think about!”

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