subject lines

10 Tips for Writing a Good Subject Line

If only I had a dollar for every time I got this email marketing question, (then I’d be retired and golfing) : “How do I write subject lines that will cause readers to open my emails? ”

As many successful email marketers know, good subject line creation is both art and science. That said, there are a few concrete things you can do to reach your intended audience:

1. Don’t use any non-ASCII characters in the subject line, doing so can cause some strange looking results. Or worse, push your email to the Spam folder.

2. Short and sweet converts better, nine words and less are particularly powerful (or about 50 characters). This helps offset the fact that individual email clients display a varying amount of maximum characters for their subject lines.

3. Avoid the word “help” in your subject line. This word has a very low open rate. Users equate it with “ignore”. Be advised!

4. Vary your subject lines. You’ll definitely see a drop in opens if you keep using the same subject lines for reminder emails.

5. Use your subject line to TELL the reader what’s inside. Specifically use it to tell them “What’s In It For Me?”

6. Avoid subject lines that sound like advertisements. The best subject lines TELL, instead of SELL what is contained in the email.

7. Expand your use of the email pre-header (commonly used for “view online link” or “add us to your address book” ) to maximize opens. Use this space to tell your readers why they should open the email and what you expect from them. Ideally your email FROM address, subject line and preheader are all working together to inform the reader the answers to these three questions :

– who is the email from?

– what’s in this email for me?

– what is the offer?

8. Test Test and Test again. Make it a habit to review subject line performance ongoing.

9. First things first: put the most important information at the beginning. Particularly critical for Blackberry users who see even less of the subject line.

10. Timeliness matters. Tying subject lines to current events when possible can improve open rates.

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