Don’t Suck at Writing Email Subject Lines

Don’t Suck at Writing Email Subject Lines

Email marketing can be a powerhouse for customer engagement, but it all starts with the right subject line. Crafted with brevity yet bearing the weight of your entire message, a subject line is your first impression, your foot in the door, and your invitation all rolled into one. For those who find email subject lines akin to daily cryptic crossword puzzles, here’s a guide to transforming your emails from “just another message” to “you won’t want to miss this.”

Understanding the Significance of a Subject

The significance of a compelling email subject line cannot be overstated. It’s the determining factor for whether your email gets opened — or swiftly swept into the digital trash bin. Most people strive for “inbox zero” as a daily aspiration, so making your message stand out is an art form worth mastering.

Connecting with Your Audience

The first step towards mastery is understanding your audience. Are they technology enthusiasts, stay-at-home parents, or CEOs? Your subject line should speak their language, addressing their specific pain points or offering benefits that resonate with their identities and aspirations. Personalization is not just about dropping in a first name; it’s about understanding who your recipients are and what matters to them.

FABI Method

A great approach to subject line development is the FABI method — Fascinating, Actionable, Brief, and Intriguing. A subject line should pique curiosity with something fascinating, prompt action or convey urgency, be brief to avoid truncation and convey an intriguing message that makes opening the email irresistible.

Navigating the Fine Line

The subject line also treads a fine line between enticing and deceptive. Clickbait is the cardinal sin of subject line writing, promising more than the email delivers. Not only does this erode trust, but it also weakens the efficacy of future email campaigns. Always deliver on the promises you make in the subject line.

The Science of Subject Lines

A good subject line combines the art of communication with the science of consumer psychology. Recognizing the impact of sensory words, emotive language, and power words can significantly boost open rates and reader engagement.

Leveraging Power Words

Power words are persuasive terms that tap into the reader’s emotions, urging them to take immediate action. They can invoke a sense of urgency, scarcity, or exclusivity and include terms like “limited-time offer” and “exclusive access.”

Playing with Numbers and Lists

Why are readers drawn to subject lines that start with a number? It provides a promise of succinct, digestible content. Whether it’s “5 creative strategies to improve website performance,” or “10 deliciously healthy and quick dinner recipes,” numbers and lists give structure and tangibility to the benefits offered in the email.

Emotional Triggers

Human beings are largely driven by emotion, and your subject line should reflect that. Whether it’s the fear of missing out (FOMO), the joy of savings, or the excitement of something new, emotional triggers can persuade readers to click before they even realize why. 

Crafting the Perfect Subject Line

Crafting the perfect subject line is a combination of creativity and compliance. You want your emails to stand out, but you don’t want them sitting in the spam folder either. Hence, it’s crucial to consider both creativity and technical best practices.

Keeping it clear and concise

The ideal subject line length can vary depending on your audience and the devices used. However, the consensus is short and sweet wins the race. Aim for subject lines with no more than 40 to 50 characters to ensure the entire message can be seen on most devices and email clients.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a powerful tool for determining what works best for your audience. Testing different subject lines allows you to measure open rates and adjust your approach based on real-time feedback. Remember to change only one variable at a time for accurate results.

Get Creative

The common mistake we see with email subject lines is that most people think they are good at them. Sorry to say, most of the time, they’re boring and end up in junk folders. Don’t be afraid to get creative and fun with them to help your email stand out in a busy inbox.

Putting It into Practice

Now that you understand the theory behind great subject lines, it’s time to put it into practice. Every email campaign is a learning opportunity, so don’t be afraid to experiment, measure, and adapt…oh, and get creative!

Reviewing and Reflecting

After every campaign, review the performance of your subject lines. What worked, and what didn’t? Reflect on the reasons behind the numbers, and use those insights to refine your email marketing strategy constantly.

Get Inspired

Inspiration can pop up from all sorts of places – like a clever ad, an intriguing podcast, or even your inbox! Look out for those subject lines that really grab your attention, and figure out what makes them tick.

Your email subject line is like your first – and maybe even your last – shot at making a real connection. By adding a touch of understanding, creativity, and a sprinkle of science, you can turn those subject lines from mere afterthoughts into powerful tools that captivate your readers and inspire action. And hey, let’s not forget, the secret to a killer subject line isn’t just about what you write but how you deliver it and what you offer once it’s clicked open. So, happy writing!

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