As an email user, you would want to make sure that the subject lines you write catches the attention of the receiver and indicates the priority of the email. A well-crafted subject line can grab the recipient’s attention and compel them to open your email, while a poorly written one can lead to low open rates and a waste of time, money, and effort.
In this guide, we’ll share practical tips and best practices to help you write effective subject lines that increase your email open rates. For more streamlined communication, see our other email best practices at work.
Why Subject Lines Matter
The subject line is the first thing your subscribers see in their inbox, and it can make or break their decision to open your email. According to statistics, 47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone, and 69% report an email as spam solely based on the subject line. Therefore, crafting compelling subject lines is crucial for the success of your email campaigns.
Understanding Your Audience
Before you start writing your subject lines, you need to understand your audience’s preferences, interests, pain points, and behavior. By analyzing your subscriber’s data, such as demographics, past behavior, and engagement history, you can tailor your subject lines to match their needs and expectations.
Tips for Writing Effective Subject Lines
1. Keep it Short and Sweet
Short subject lines tend to perform better than longer ones, as they are easier to read and understand. Aim for a maximum of 50 characters or 6-8 words, to ensure that your subject lines are visible on different devices and platforms.
2. Be Specific and Relevant
Make sure that your subject line accurately reflects the content of your email and provides a clear benefit or value proposition to the reader. Avoid using vague or misleading language that can create false expectations and lead to unsubscribes or complaints.
3. Personalize Your Subject Lines
Personalization is a powerful tool that can increase open rates and engagement. Use your subscriber’s name, location, or past behavior to create personalized subject lines that resonate with them on a deeper level.
4. Create Urgency or Scarcity
Using urgency or scarcity in your subject lines can create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and prompt the recipient to take action. Use phrases such as “Limited time offer” or “Last chance to save” to convey urgency and scarcity.
5. A/B Test Your Subject Lines
A/B testing is an effective way to compare the performance of different subject lines and optimize your email campaigns. Test different variables, such as length, tone, personalization, or urgency, and measure the results to find out what works best for your audience.
Best Practices for Writing Subject Lines
In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are some best practices to keep in mind when writing subject lines:
1. Use Active Voice
Using the active voice in your subject lines can make them more engaging and impactful. Instead of passive phrases such as “Your order has been received,” use active phrases like “You’ve successfully placed your order.”
2. Keep it Simple and Clear
Avoid using complicated language, jargon, or technical terms that can confuse or alienate your subscribers. Use simple, clear, and concise language that is easy to understand and relatable.
3. Use Numbers and Emojis
Numbers and emojis can add visual interest and appeal to your subject lines and make them stand out in a cluttered inbox. Use them sparingly and strategically, depending on your brand voice and tone.
4. Avoid Spam Trigger Words
Using certain words or phrases in your subject lines can trigger spam filters and cause your emails to land in the junk or spam folder. Avoid using words such as “free,” “buy now,” “limited time,” or “act now,” as they can flag your emails as spam.
5. Proofread and Test
Before sending your emails, make sure to proofread your subject lines for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Additionally, test your subject lines on different email clients and devices to ensure that they are displayed correctly and look appealing to your subscribers.
- How long should my subject lines be?
Aim for a maximum of 50 characters or 6-8 words, to ensure that your subject lines are visible on different devices and platforms.
- How can I personalize my subject lines?
Use your subscriber’s name, location, or past behavior to create personalized subject lines that resonate with them on a deeper level.
- What are some examples of spam trigger words to avoid?
Words such as “free,” “buy now,” “limited time,” or “act now,” can trigger spam filters and cause your emails to land in the junk or spam folder.
- How often should I A/B test my subject lines?
Test different variables, such as length, tone, personalization, or urgency, and measure the results to find out what works best for your audience.
- What should I do if my open rates are low despite using effective subject lines?
Analyze your email campaigns’ metrics, such as delivery rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, and identify areas that need improvement. Experiment with different content, formats, or frequency, and keep testing and optimizing your campaigns over time.