A photo by Alejandro Escamilla. unsplash.com/photos/yC-Yzbqy7PY

How can I make my email subject lines more effective?

Email marketing is more science than art, and you can ‘game’ the process as long as you focus on a few aspects. The subject line is one of them.

The subject line of an email is the first thing people on your list see, so it has to be powerful stuff. Spam emails are everywhere and unless you have a subject that piques interest and leads to an email that delivers, you’re going to get lost in that junk folder. There are some solid principles that you should bear in mind if you want to experience success with email opens. The subject lines to the emails you send will be better if you concentrate on the following points:

Make them relevant

Subject lines will be relevant if you have segmented your list. If you have a segmented list that divides down into different job titles, locations and so on, you have a better chance of creating targeted emails and sharper subject lines.

Work with your list. Segment it, and make sure you are only sending out emails with subject lines that speak to the recipients. You will see that open rate improve. For more info on this, check out Pat Flynn’s piece here.

Keep them brief

We can complain about the short attention span problem as much as we want, it isn’t going to go away. Solution? Work with it.

Create email subject lines that are short and snappy. Four words should do it. People will see them and grab the gist of what you are saying in the ten seconds that they use to scan emails. If your subject line is short and to the point, it is more likely to grab attention and lead to an open. And opens are sweet.

In addition to the attention span issue, you also need to be aware that mobile devices are extremely limited when it comes to display length. Keeping that email subject line brief will make your emails look professional and accessible.

Send your emails from a real life human being

If we were to choose one thing that is ruining online marketing and online business in general right now, it is the presence of bots, automation and all things non-human. It’s a crawling, stinking beast that must be stopped.

By all means, automate parts of your marketing, but when it comes to email, it needs to be real. And this includes the subject lines you use.

The subject lines need to be as far away from clickbait as they can. Don’t fall into the trap of using lines that sound like they’ve been cut and pasted. Don’t use exclamation marks. Be real, and use subject lines that sound like they are coming from a human being. If you’re segmenting, use the names of people if possible (it helps). But keep everything as personal as you can and you can’t fail to achieve more opens.

Tell them what’s coming

Use your email subject lines to tell people what is in the email. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many companies send out emails that are just funny or vague, without anything that informs or entices. If you’re presenting an offer in your email, tell the recipient in the subject line (‘Here’s your 10% discount’). Don’t hide your content. People won’t click.

Try out the above four ideas. I’m a big believer in simplicity, and I think focusing on these few ideas for a few campaigns is more than enough to deal with. Once you see that open rate rise, you’ll be ready to go to the next level.

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