Much like an invitation to a party, the email subject line sets the mood of the email. It must attract the recipients while conveying the overall objective, call to action, and corporate identity of the sender. And, once again, it must be brief and to the point.
Best practices of writing a great subject line include personalizing it with the recipient’s name, including an offer and a time frame, and using popular keywords or phrases while avoiding overused words such as “free” and “guaranteed”.
1. Your Purpose: Your subject line should clearly and effectively convey the content and purpose of your message. This gives your subscriber immediate insight into its intrinsic value. When explaining your purpose, show your subscriber how he or she can benefit from reading your email. For example, expand the generic “OurSite Newsletter Issue No. 1″ headline to “OurSite Newsletter: 10 Tips To Financial Freedom”.
2. Keep It Short: Once you realize the importance of your subject line, it’s easy to get overzealous and cram in as much information as you can. But, studies indicate that shorter subject lines are better. The ideal length is six words or less. To shorten your subject line, try to integrate colons and other punctuation to separate your thoughts. For example, replace “XYZ announces availability of Coffee and a Demo promotion through February 28″ with a much tighter “XYZ: Coffee and Demo Promo (through 2/28)”.
3. Incorporate Your Company Name: When you include your company name in your subject line, you promote and reinforce your brand, increase credibility, and let your subscribers know that your email is from a trustworthy source. Plus, name recognition can safeguard your message from unnecessary spam reports from recipients at web-based email providers such as AOL and Hotmail who can’t view previews of email messages, but can report your company based solely on the subject line. Adding your company name to your subject line increases unique open rates by an average of five percent.
4. Use Popular Keywords: Integrate popular keywords in your subject lines to validate your message. Also, stay away from overused, spam-triggering words like free, guaranteed, or approved. You should also avoid using unnecessary marks like exclamation points. Excessive and unnecessary symbols don’t improve response, but instead diminish it.
5. Be Honest: Develop a subject line that truthfully reflects your email body content. You can stay in complete compliance with the federal CAN-SPAM Act by avoiding subject lines with “RE:” or “FW:”.
6. Personalization: When you personalize the subject line with the recipient’s name, you measurably increase open rate.
7. Include an Offer: Like any other ad campaign, email marketing success soars when you provide a discount or offer in the subject line. If you set a time limit or expiration, your response grows even more.
8. Test Client Compatibility: Before you send your email campaign, test design compatibility across various email clients from AOL to Hotmail and Outlook. What might look perfect on one application can have a completely different look on another.
Now, integrate all of these best practice suggestions into one powerful subject line:
“Roland, last chance to save 20% on Dell laptops!”.