May 14, 2014

4 ways to create an impactful email subject line

In the last few days, I have been reading up on best practices of email marketing in relation to a B2B email campaign I'm working on. It's quite fascinating to see the amount of research done and content available in optimizing one of the most important facets of an email - the subject line.

Having an appealing subject line is extremely important to get higher open rates. The email content then follows it up with a call to action for the reader.

Here are the 4 ways by which you can make an impact through the subject line. I have collated this list based on multiple sources for my reference. Hope it is helpful to you as well.

1) Convey the intent of the email in a crisp manner that provokes interest.
Use the language of the target audience - the words that either communicate an attractive opportunity for them or appeal to the problems they are facing. Research also says that subject line framed as questions have a higher open rate than average. Think about questions your target audience would be interested to get answers. Questions linked to business results such as increase in revenue, cost savings, time and effort seem to create much more impact. And make sure either the answers are available in the email body or provide a clear call to action to get answers.

2) Use effective words
The ideal character length of the subject line should be less than 50 characters (approx 7-8 words). You can use one or more of these five persuasive words ("You", "free", "because", "new", "instantly"). Avoid generic words like "newsletter", "report", "research" etc. Our human minds automatically block such words when we peruse through our never-ending flood of emails.

3) Keep it short, Optimize for mobile readability
As more people are reading their emails on mobile devices, it's imperative that you optimize the subject line in such a way that your target audience can understand the message comfortably. The ideal character length of a mobile optimized subject line is around 35 characters (can be extended to 50 characters if your target audience is not mobile savvy).

4) Be wary about personalization
Many emails do prefer to use the person's first name in the subject line to pique interest. But if the personalization doesn't extend beyond the first name, the person loses interest and treats the email as "yet-another-promotional" one. So if you want to personalize, ensure you go beyond the first name(if possible) in the email body. Include the organization or industry where he is working for. Add a couple of lines related to the problem statements specific to that industry which your product/service is trying to solve.

Any other ways by which you think the subject line can be made more effective?


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