5 Tips For Writing Great Subject Lines

Writing email subject lines is something of an art form that only few marketers know the secrets of. Even small changes can have a profound effect on open rates. Here are a few tips that can help skyrocket your open rates beyond all your previous records:

Keep it short

Shorter subject lines consistently do better than long ones. Ideally you want to try to stay below 50 characters, but of course it’s not set in stone. The trick is communicating everything you need without being overly verbose, and this is something you’ll learn with practice. Just try to limit yourself to 50 characters for your next few emails and see what happens!

Tell, don’t sell

People don’t like being sold to, that’s a fact. If your subject line is the least bit “hype-­‐y”, chances are it will go straight to the trashcan or spam folder. What you want to do instead is tell people (or rather give them a hint) about what’s inside. It should be something that gets them curious enough to open your email.

Personalize if possible

A personalized subject line will always grab better open rates than its one-­‐size-­‐ fits-­‐all cousins. Don’t think just inserting the first name of the recipient is enough though, because it’s not. Actually doing that can even have the complete opposite effect, as most people have gotten wise to this technique and now consider it spammy. What you can do, however, is mention something like their city, their occupation or whatever other data you have that could be relevant.

Controversy is still powerful

People can’t help but feel drawn to controversy, so if you can construct a subject line that has some of that they’ll be jumping at the chance of opening the email to see what it’s all about.

Use scarcity techniques

A trick that’s been used since the dawn of advertising is telling people there are “only 24 hours left on the sale” or “just 4 items to go before we raise prices again”. The fact is these techniques work, but you need to be honest about it.

Don’t go telling people you’re raising prices when you’re actually not, because that will lead to a backlash sooner or later. If you can back up your claim and you have something people are actually interested in, this can shoot open rates through the roof.

Always split test your subject lines

Don’t forget to always split test your subject lines to find the ideal strategies for your unique situation. By doing this you can improve your subject lines with every email you send out, finding out exactly what your list responds to.