When I get an email, the first thing I see is the email subject line and the sender’s name. If the subject line reads boring or irrelevant, I instantly send it to trash. And all of these takes me few seconds to decide. I am sure you can relate to this as well. Hasn’t this happened to all of us so many times when we saw badly written email subject lines and ditched that email right there?
Email subject lines can decide the fate of your email campaign. Sometimes, in a bid to craft the best template, we end up spending lesser time on email subject lines. But that’s just the worst thing we can do to our email campaigns.
Businesses are adopting marketing automation tools. Marketing automation comes with automated email marketing campaigns. And where email marketing is there, confusion with email subject lines is bound to exist.
Email Subject Lines: The Decision Maker
Almost everyone with an email id suffers from email overload on a daily basis. Research indicates that most recipients spent a few seconds to decide whether or not to open an email. A majority of their decisions are solely based on the email subject lines. This fact can be crucial for businesses and new companies. If you do not want your emails to be unnecessary clutter in someone’s inbox, a well-structured subject is necessary.
When we talk about email marketing campaigns, it is not just about sending a newsletter or only newsletters. Email engagement has a lot more to offer, and in every case, email subject lines play a pivotal role.
Types of Email Campaigns
- Automated Email Drip Campaigns
- Sales-driven email campaigns
Automated Drip Campaigns
When you sign up for a demo or a new product, what is the first email you receive?
Yes, a Welcome Email. This is the first email that a brand sends you with your name included in the subject line as well as the content. This is only the first email in the series of emails that are scheduled to follow. But it’s not a random series that marketers set. Rather automated drip campaigns are triggered based on user behavior, engagement, and activities spanning across the website and apps. If you are stuck somewhere while using a specific product and you get an email helping you with tips to get started from that point – that is a part of an automated drip email series. In this case, your activity was tracked and based on your behaviour a personalized email was sent. Similarly, when you reach a milestone or when you fail to attend a webinar, you might recall receiving emails with subject lines like Congrats XYZ, You’ve reached 1,000 milestones or We’re sad you couldn’t make it.
Also Read: Multiply Your Customer Acquisition With Drip Email Campaigns
Often marketers schedule autoresponders to action-based activities. For instance, when you sign up for a webinar, you immediately receive a confirmation email. Or, once the webinar is over, you receive an attending certificate. While all these emails are highly personalized, they are pre-scheduled and are triggered only when the set specific actions happen.
Sales-Driven Email Campaigns
Disclaimer: For proper business growth, marketing-sales alignment is essential. And a marketing automation tool is the bridge that connects these two operations for a harmonious existence. While the marketing team gets detailed information about the prospective ideal customer from the sales team, the sales team also requires help when trying to convert a lead. Let’s say, You acquire a lead with email campaigns, landing page, gated video, mobile marketing, and social media marketing. You identify the most potential leads with lead scoring and let your sales rep know. Now, your sales rep starts conversing with this lead real-time. If they convert into one conversation, then great. Most often, your sales rep will require another set of email campaigns that are account-based (that is, lead specific) to push that lead to hit the buy button. These email campaigns are exclusive and are highly targeted.
An efficient subject line is a gatekeeper to your email campaigns
A well-defined catchy subject line can get your message across the readers clearly. However, a proper email subject will not ensure that your audience would read your emails or increase your email open rate. But, it will help readers decide if your emails are of any importance to them.
Writing the right subject line for your email campaign can be a brainstorming task. You can write the most compelling email segment by dedicating hours, but without an attractive subject, your efforts are set to fail. Therefore the internet is full of tricks and tips to create the most dynamic email subject lines for your email marketing. Nailing the best email subject lines would pay off. It is a huge deal to build engaging email subject lines.
In reality, there are no stringent rules on how to write the perfect subject headings. What may work for one business or organization may not work for the other. Every business has a different requirement and delivers a unique message. There are secret codes to write the perfect subject lines. Getting your subject lines right can help enhance your online marketing efforts and create a positive brand image.
Engaging your subscribers and enticing them with your subject lines is required for getting people to open your emails and receive your message. Your product may be uniquely designed, and you may be the best in the business, but if you do not have the subject lines that portray your products magnificence in a few words, your efforts are a waste. However, a well-structured email subject lines help you make instant decisions on many topics and not just gives information regarding deletion or saving of your send email.
Good email subject lines = Great Results
Along with junk, we receive many vital documents via email. Some of them are bank statements, details of online transactions, updates from various study and job portals, official documents, personal correspondence, etc. According to a new survey conducted by Pew Research Center email is the most widely used feature on smartphones. Therefore, we can say that emails are the easiest way to connect with the audience. Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, advertisement and TV commercial, an email is going to stay in your recipient’s inbox. Whenever the recipient checks his or her mail, they are going to see your email and think about it. Your mail is always going to be at your recipient’s visibility range. With proper marketing strategies and strong email subject lines your audience may even choose to open them. Chances of an email subject catching the attention of a potential customer are higher than an advertisement in any other medium. Social marketing comes and goes, but email marketing is here to stay. No matter what the product or issue a tasteful subject or offer will always catch your attention. Hence, we can conclude that emails give more scope for digital marketing than any other social media platform.
Email is easy…if you want it to be. Simplify before you get complicated.
Gives you more influence on online purchases
An unforgettable offer or email subject line is going to stay in the potential customer’s mind for long. Just because you have successfully captured your recipient’s attention, they may later go to purchase your product in the real physical world.
Subject lines can get back your subscribers interest when they have stopped engaging with your brands. You can generate their interests by emailing surveys, promotional offers, questions, use keywords and emoticons in subject lines. Multinational companies are buying software, hiring communication specialists and copywriters to create the perfect email subject line.
Subject lines and brand perception
Every aspect of the business helps in building its image. It includes the product it sells, its marketing efforts, relationship with customers, press releases and presence in the virtual world. The amounts of efforts spent on press releases should also be directed towards creating the perfect subject lines. There is no denying in emails with subject lines attached to them are the most efficient methods for generating interest.
Subject lines are one of the driving forces for crafting your brand perception. Simple subject lines accommodating a few words can help communicate even the corporate culture and image of the company. New customers and uninterested subscribers who don’t dig your brand enough are going to create a perception in their minds based on the subject lines of the emails received from you. The attractive follow-up email subject lines also have a good chance of making these customers open the emails if you’ve missed impressing them the first time. An email subject line is not only visible to the potential customer but also helps in conveying the image of your brand.
Creating Efficient Email Subject Lines
Usually, there are two types of business emails send to the customers one is newsletters and the other is notifications. A lot of psychology goes into play for writing the subject line of the email. It is important to be clear about the campaign being worked on and the target before creating the email subject lines.
According to a research by Gulati Cities that involved 260 million emails from 540 different campaigns, it was revealed that:
- Subject lines with 6-10 words generated 21% open rate.
- Those with five or fewer words were approximately opened 16% of times.
- Subject lines with 11-15 words had a 14% open rate. About 52% of the total emails fell into this category.
The best way to get your customers to open your emails is to get to the point straight away. It gives the recipient a reasonable knowledge about why you’re sending the email before opening it. Assuming your email is targeting a significant segment, being honest and upfront will help it get opened majority of the times. Many people may find this concept counter-productive, but letting the recipient know why you’re sending the email and what to expect is one of the best ways to grab their attention. However, you do not need to reveal the entire purpose of the email. One of the best examples of this style of subject lines is LinkedIn.
Being authentic can help you pique the curiosity of your recipients. When sending newsletters and campaigns, this can be a successful process.
Upscale your efforts in creating subject lines
Most companies spend a significant amount of their profits in marketing, digital marketing efforts, press releases, and advertisement, while subjects for emails receive only a fraction of the attention. While investing time and resources on campaigns to promote your product, it is necessary to showcase its quality and value. One cannot ignore attractive email subject lines. It helps recipients look at your campaign. Analyse and create a report on your needs and goals. Craft your subject lines to produce the outcome you desire. Avoid sending do not reply emails or subject lines, as it makes it apparent that a robot generates them. It destroys the intimacy between the customer and the co-operation. Studies have found that recipients are less likely to open emails with do not reply mentioned in their email subject lines.
Some luxury brands have taken the time to design their logos. They include these logos in their subject headings. It creates an effect of intimacy between the brand and its consumer. This technique may not appeal to the masses, but it may be extremely successful with the target audience.
In contrast, some luxury brands have managed to attract aspiring customers by sending emails with subject lines informing discounts and sale on luxury items and services. It is an excellent trick to attract cost-conscious clients with taste in high-end products. Another tip is to enhance the personalization by sending an email with “Thank you” subject line after subscription, purchase, etc.
Give the readers some news
Give the readers some news in the email subject line. The Positive news is the best way to generate interest. Most recipients respond to a positive message. It can be a discount offer, special prizes, contests, a free holiday, gift bags, etc. Talk about the reader’s self-interest and about topics which would be of benefit to them.
Post a question
Posting a questing in subject lines is a great way for attracting curiosity. It is the easiest method in attracting quick attention. They are designed to entice the audience. In most cases, the reader knows the answers to the subject line, but the line is written merely for feeding their need affirmation.
Keep it short and sweet
Get rid of any frivolous details in your subject line and keep it short and sweet. We know from research that more than 40% of email viewers are accessing from their mobile device. Anything more than 25 to 30 characters get cut in the mobile phones. The perfect length of email subject line has been the center of hot debate in the recent years. It is estimated that most subject lines have the range between 30 to 40 characters. But, subject lines with 60 to 70 characters are read most widely according to research. Email subject line get cut off if they’re too long on mobile devices. Read your email campaigns carefully to gain insights on how to create a short and compelling subject line. Keeping a meaningful short message with fewer characters is very effective.
In cooperating humor in any written piece, we can make it more attractive. Most people love a good pun. However if not done properly or overdone it can backfire. Humour should be a part of your brand identity to incorporate it in your subject lines. A little humor is always harmless. Humour can be slipped into your subject lines when appropriate. Some brands that have successfully incorporated fun into their subject lines are ThinkGeek, JetBlue, and Moosejaw.
Do not overdo caps and exclamation marksStudies have shown most people find all caps distasteful and feel like it is being yelled at them. More than 85% people prefer an all-lowercase subject line. Writing your subject lines in all caps and exclamation marks makes it look like spam and lowers the chances of the mail being opened. 69% of recipient marked emails with subjects in caps as spam only for the font alone. Avoid disruptive tactics like these to stand out and try to personalize your emails by using well-organized language.
Highlight Competitive Advantages
Showcasing your competitive advantages help your customers appreciate and value your brand more. Competitive advantages can be highlighted in subject lines to grab your reader’s attention. Most of your audience is made up of loyal customers and bargain hunters.
One of the essential elements of search engine optimization is the keywords. Email subject headlines with keywords in them provide greater flexibility than common subject headings. Creative writers and marketing specialists want to create distinct original content and subject lines that would entirely explain the company’s legacy, work culture, product, and value. But, that is not possible in a subject line with a limited use of characters.
Keywords are not used because they are the most comprehensive. They are used for being searched easily by the customers. Keywords can explain in a few words what an email consists of and its target audience. Even if they are an excellent way for making subject lines more efficient research shows otherwise. The use of keywords have been very successful in generating traffic for news sites, blogs, and social media sites, but when it comes to subject lines, they are not that widely successful.
What message do your emails convey?
Your emails results help you to understand if your marketing strategies related to subject lines are working. By studying the precise metrics of open, clicks, read rate, deleted unread rate, and spam complaint rate we can measure the degree of success of the email campaign. These insights are crucial and help you analyze how the subscribers are reacting to your emails. Examining your emails gives you more control over your marketing strategies. You can change and test your email marketing strategies according to your needs. Using this technology you can test marketing strategies. Continue to use the strategies which worked for you and lead to more recipients open and react to your emails. Modify and change the methods which resulted in a lower response.
Subject Line Length
Subject line length has a huge effect on the email campaigns of businesses. Changing the subject line length has shown a drastic difference in the response rate to the campaign even when the content of the email campaign is the same as before. The length of the subject line is one of the primary influencers of an email campaign for businesses. The number of characters used in the subject line corresponds with email marketing results directly. According to research short subject lines are usually preferred more. Most subject lines are between 41 and 50 characters. Subject lines between 61 – 70 characters long had the highest read rate at seventeen percent. However, larger subject lines cannot be viewed adequately on smartphones. Subject lines more than 25 to 30 characters get cut in mobile phones. An enormous number of people see their emails on a smartphone according to a survey conducted.
A laptop or desktop inbox displays about 60 characters for an email’s subject line and a smartphone shows 25-30 characters only. The subject line length should be according to your audience. If your audience is primarily reading emails on smartphones, make sure that your subject line length is between 25 to 30 characters. If your audience works more on the desktop for example while sending corporate businesses emails, the subject lines can be longer. Longer subject lines help to explain the intention of sending the mail briefly. It saves the time of the reader and helps him make a quick decision.
Mostly shorter subject lines may see higher performance for mobile audiences, and desktop users may prefer longer subject headings. Research indicates that there is no correlation between the length of a subject line and the rate at which the emails are viewed.
Recently Madhu Gulati, president of ShowMeLeads conducted research by conducting analysis on 260 million emails from 540 business email campaigns to determine the optimum subject-line length for a marketing email. This study found that subject lines with six to ten words generated a 21 percent open rate, which is very high. Subject lines that contained five or fewer words were approximately opened 16 percent of the time, while subject lines with eleven to fifteen words had an opening rate of 14%.
Therefore, subject lines should be kept shorter from six to ten characters to get a 5 % more increase in opening rates. A short length of subject lines works because people are lethargic or extremely pressed for time due of email overload.
Gulati speculates that the frequency with which people check their email on their smartphones p plays a significant role in the subject headline length. Short subject lines are optimal and conducive for mobile users, as they could easily be viewed on their mobile device. But, the length of subject headlines should be determined according to their use and target audience. The perfect email subject should always have its data seems pretty clear. It is always wise to chop down your subject headline and only include information which is crucial.
Most marketing professionals and groups would want to create creative and smart subject lines rather than following age-old marketing formulas. Subject lines are written primarily by businesses to make its customer buy product or services. The major focus of subject lines is to provide information about the email in a few words and make readers open it. SEO contents have been a widely successful in online marketing. Keywords are used to generate more traffic to a blog or website. In email subject lines specified keywords help to attract the attention of the audience. Subject line keywords may be used according to where they are used. Specific keywords may work successfully in individual circumstances and may not be universal.Keywords are not used because they are the most comprehensive. They are used for being searched easily by the customers.
Subject lines with keywords showing “urgency” performed the best, followed by keywords showing “benefit” and “command” subject headings. “Clickbait” keywords headlines take advantage of the curiosity but are not widely successful as in social media sites. “Secrets of “type of subject line performed below average 8.69%, while “get rid of” at 0.83% and “what you need to know” at 0.62%. When it comes to keywords which display benefits in the subject lines keywords like fast and pretty are preferred by the people. Using “fastest” 5.30% and “prettiest” 2.87% you are more likely to get your email opened.
Discount-type subject lines performed very poorly in our study. Only the keyword “offer” was successful in generating interest and led to uplift in email read rate by 0.60%. Headlines educating readers on” how to do something” do not work well for subject lines. The keyword “how to” has been able to generate interest and open emails by 0.03%. News-type subject lines conveying product announcements and promotions weren’t very successful in attracting subscribers to open them. Using pronouns to suggest a more personal touch as keywords and price with money signs performed badly and failed to generate the user’s interest. Very few emails were opened by using them. Subject titles without discount or value of the product are hard to imagine. But in reality, these keywords provided below average performance.
Subject lines which convey a sense of urgency were found to be the top performed amongst the different kinds of keywords studied.
In general, the use of keywords has been highly successful in publishing, social media, and blogs. But when it comes to using keywords in email subject lines they have failed to generate the interest of the readers and subscribers. One of the reasons behind this fact is that people prefer their subject lines to be short and informative with a few characters that make sense and not with specific keywords that they may or may not directly relate.
Now Start Testing your Subject Lines
The data given in the above report has listed various ways in which you can improve your email subject lines which can help your subscribers open your emails and respond to your email campaigns. Email subject lines are the first thing recipients see in their inbox. Subject lines are paramount, according to a survey conducted 33% people open an email because of the subject line alone. More than 40% recipients decide an email as spam by reading the email subject line. Hence, a well-written subject headline inspires readers to open your email newsletters and click through to read more. As said before there is no magical formula or sorcery involved in writing the perfect subject line. What may work for one email campaign may not work for the other. The best way to figure out what will work is by testing.
Below are few steps that can assist you in testing whether your email subject line is useful or not:
Determine your sample
To ensure your test is valid and valuable, make sure you’re using a large enough sample size of your subscriber base to test your hypothesis. You can either use the standard formula for sample size or check out an online calculator. Using an online calculator is better than calculating it manually. Results obtained by an online calculator are more accurate than an average calculation. SurveyMonkey is a good option for an email subject line tester.
Pick your variable
Putting one variable for the test is the most efficient way. Using multiple variables at the same time to carry out tests makes it impossible to interpret the results. It just makes it impossible to judge accurately which one variable moved the entire equation. When performing a split test, make sure you are comparing similar things together. Below are some ideas which you can try out at your next split test.
- Change one or two words in a sentence, nothing too drastic. It helps to compare and judge the results quickly.
- Test two different value propositions
- Put up two or more different offers and analyze the reaction.
- Test questions versus definitive statements.
- Rearrange sentences and examine the response of the subscribers. It helps to judge which words or arrangement of words is more attracting the subscribers.
- Alter the length of the subject headlines and observe what length receives the most reactions.
- Test by using two different emotions.
Do not waste your time in contemplating what to test first. Keywords can be checked first, followed by the subject line length and the arrangement of words. Even if your first test is inconclusive, you can still carry out testing. Eventually, some test is going to produce tangible results.
For analyzing the best email subject lines, various analyzing tools can be used. These tools built into your email platform to monitor open rates. They have the capacity to check millions email open rates and receive inputs within a short period. Record these data and calculate the difference. Use these results to analyze what went wrong. Now equipped with the knowledge you can start experimenting with your subject lines. By following the given tips and best practices in this post you can to dramatically increase your odds of success and write compelling subject headlines.
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