Write a Great Email Subject Line

EMailLooking for help with email? If your planning a trade show or conference don’t miss out on an outstanding email marketing tool that will make your show that much better.  We have spent a lot of time doing and helping with email marketing. Don’t overlook these simple things that will help your open rates significantly.

Most composers of Email focus all their energy on writing an exciting message that will grab the attention of the reader.After the text is written, the writer develops the subject line in a matter of seconds and then sends the Email off to the awaiting world.

Unfortunately, this approach will probably result in an Email message that will only be read by a small percentage of people – no matter how great the text is! The reason for this is that Emails will NOT BE READ unless the subject line gives the viewer a reason to proceed.We live in a scanning world and every message in your inbox is competing for your attention.The average business person receives over 100 Emails per day and so he or she needs to be selective about what is going to be read.

The Proper Mindset

The proper mindset is to START with the subject line.Think of yourself as a journalist who wants to write an article read by everyone.The headline needs to grab attention, highlight a specific concern and have a sense of urgency about it.That’s exactly how your Email needs to be pulled together.The subject line is your headline and its goal is to get your message read.

Setting Expectations

Your subject line needs to set proper expectations about the main text. To do this you will first of all need to know your target audience.What interests them? What would they find appealing?

One of the key principals of writing a subject line is that it should encompass the Four U’s:

  • Useful
  • Ultra-Specific
  • Unique
  • Urgent

Does the subject line promise something useful to your target audience? It should indicate that the main message is about something of value to your readers.

The subject line should be about one particular point.If you are sending an Email about your conference, the subject line should not simply be the name of the conference.Instead it should be about something particular like a speaker or that an online registration early bird date is approaching.The latter is also a case of creating a sense of urgency, which is also crucial to getting your message read.

Keep it Short

Study after study shows that your subject line needs to be kept to 50 characters or less.Emails with a subject line of 28 to 39 characters tend to have the highest click-thru rates.

Personalize by Location not Name

One surprising finding is that personalizing the subject line by name does not really help open rates.However, mentioning a location relevant to the recipient makes a big difference.

For example, suppose you are promoting online registration for a “Beer Weekend” in Baltimore.Then, in all likelihood, the subject line:

“Baltimore Beer Weekend Coming Up!”

Will do much better than:

“K.C., Beer Weekend Coming Up!”

Assuming K.C. is in the Baltimore area, of course.

Make it a Question

A neat way to engage someone is by asking a question.Framing the subject line that way makes your Email uniquely personal.Using the example above, your subject line could be:

“Are you ready for Baltimore Beer Weekend?”

Don’t Make These Email Marketing Mistakes

Here are some things you should NOT do with your subject line:

  • Do not put the entire sentence ALL IN CAPS! This will make your message look like a scam.Individual words are okay to capitalize.
  • Spell every word correctly! It’s amazing how frequent typos are in Emails.
  • Search on Google for “Spam keywords” for a bunch of problematic words and phrases. Examples of bad terms include Free, Help, You, and Order Now.
  • Graphic characters like emoticons will probably not work in many Email readers and so should be avoided.
  • Don’t use gimmicks to get read, such as putting “RE:” or “FWD:” at the beginning of the subject line. This will just make people angry and identify you as a spammer.
  • Avoid using wording as if you are promoting something. Don’t look like an ad!
  • Exclamation points are to be used with great discretion.

Make Them Want More

Daniel Pink’s bestseller “To Sell is Human” suggests that a good elevator pitch is one that can also be a subject line. Of course, the converse of this can also apply. Pink also quotes a study that subject lines that make the reader curious have much higher open rates.As they say on Broadway, always leave them wanting more!