Best Practices for Email Subject Lines

I believe we’re all now in agreement that not only is email marketing not dead in 2014, in lots of ways it’s a growing and vibrant channel for sales and lead generation. The current email ROI figure is that for every $1 spent, more than $43 is returned. Not bad!

And what’s the best way to get your emails read? By creating a subject line that compels the reader to take the next step and open it!

16547614_sHow to create effective subject lines

  • Keep it brief - A shorter subject line is the order of the day, somewhere between 15-40 characters, as not only does it make for a quick scan, it stands a better chance of being seen in its entirety on a mobile device, where more than 51 percent of emails are opened now.
  • Don’t use spam words - There are lots of words that automatically trip the spam filters, sending your missive to the spam pile before it’s read. Words like “free”, “credit”, “offer”, “act now”, and all caps will almost certainly get negative results. A good list of spam words can be found here.
  • Employ calls to action - One smart way to make your subject lines work for you is by using a call to action in the subject line. Something such as “Download my new software” directs readers to the action you want them to take.
  • Ask questions - Asking the reader a question in the subject line is very effective. “How do you rate our service?” This presupposes that you understand your audience well, and if not, you will!
  • Don’t over-personalize - It’s one thing to thank a customer by name for an action they’ve taken; and it’s another to repeatedly treat them as pals in sales message after sales message. You know the feeling…
  • Specificity wins - Attempt to be as specific as possible in your subject lines. People are busy, and don’t have the time to try and figure out what you’re saying. This doesn’t mean you can’t let the creativity flow, but give people a clue as to what they’re in for!

Keep in mind that the only reason for subject lines in the first place is to get them to open the whole email. Make it easy for them by creating terrific subject lines, and watch your open rate soar!

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