5 Key Tips to Write Enticing Email Subject Lines

You must have heard time and again that the subject line is the most important thing about a professional email. Well, that’s largely true because the subject line is the very first thing about your email that your subscribers see and it helps to create that all important first impression. So, how do you create a subject line that makes your subscribers want to see what’s in your email? The Email Etiquette Series is all about writing emails that people love to read and today we shall look into the correct approach towards creating powerful subject lines. So, let’s get started.

Let’s begin with the results of a quick survey on the top 3 characteristics of subject lines that motivate people to take interest:

According to the graph above, the results of the survey are as follows:

  • 42% respondents like an intriguing subject line.
  • 26% respondents want to click on a short & crisp subject line.
  • 22% respondents want to click on a subject line that sounds relevant to them.
  • 10% of the people are not very sure.
Now, let us move on to the tips to write a good and powerful subject line…

1] A/B Test Keywords and Phrases
To begin with, when it comes to email subject lines, you can never be quite sure about what will click with your audience and what won’t. Hence, what experts recommend is that you test different subject lines to figure out which one brings you relatively high open rates as compared to the others. This is known as A/B testing and it has proven to be highly effective in figuring out the parameters that can work in your favour, when it comes to making recipients open your emails.

You can even use the A/B testing approach successfully to figure out the days of the week on which open rates are the highest, the time of the day that is best for sending the emails, whether emails with images garner a better response, and more. There are quite a few good tools that you can use for A/B Testing.

2] Create a Sense of Curiosity or Urgency
Curiosity, if done right, can bring in a significant boost in your email opening rates. We humans are curious after all, and always love a sense of intrigue. The following subject lines are a good example of this:

  • Don’t Open This Email
  • A surprise gift for you! {unwrap}
Just like an element of curiosity can work wonders for your email open rates, a sense of urgency can also have a similar effect. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a relevant term here which came into being to describe people’s fear of being left out or missing out on something. The following subject lines are a good example when you want to create a sense of urgency:

  • [URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY to watch this…
  • Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight…
3] Keep it Short
Now, this is one important pointer. When writing subject lines, it’s important to keep it short and simple. With the short attention span that users have today, long subject lines are likely to be ignored. Make sure your email subject is readable at a glance. If you ask the experts, it is recommended that it should not exceed a character length of 30 characters.

4] Keep Your Target Audience in Mind
This is all about creating a subject line that is relevant. When crafting a subject line, you should keep in mind your target audience and what you want them to do when they read your email. The email subject line should be aligned with the objective of the email and what action it wants from your recipients. So, if your objective is to make a sale, your subject line should be different from say, if you’re sending an email requesting your subscribers to participate in a survey or a contest. For example, a good subject line for a discount emailer can be ‘25% off your favourites’.

Also, the tone of the subject line you use should be different if say, your subscribers are CEOs and decision makers of firms, as compared to a subject line that you would use when your subscribers are fashion enthusiasts. Get the drift?

5] Keep it Subtle
Now, this one is tricky. While you’ll be sending emails to your subscribers to promote a product, all the while expecting them to make a purchase, you cannot sound like a salesperson. This applies not just to your subject line, but also to the email content in general. The trick is to pitch or promote a product subtly or indirectly, without coming across as being to obsessed about making a sale. The subject line ‘Products the celebs are wearing’ is a great way to say to make your subscribers take interest in your products, without being too obvious.

Bonus Tips:
Now, how about some bonus tips that will take you closer to mastering the art of drafting a powerful subject line. Here we go…

  1. Remember that trust is very important when you try to connect with your subscribers through emails. Your email subject line should not promise something that your users fail to find in the email.
  2. It’s always recommended that you take a balanced approach when sending discount emails, as too many of them can make your subscribers lose interest.
  3. Use action words in the beginning of your email subject line to create a stronger impact. It also helps your subscribers know what to expect from the email. Example: Shop Now to Get 50% Discount
  4. Most people prefer to access emails on their mobiles, so make sure your subject lines are optimized for mobile.
  5. Don’t hesitate to experiment with emojis. They can go a long way to attract attention is used intelligently.

So, you see that writing that perfect email subject line is not that difficult, provided you have the right tricks up your sleeve. For more information on email marketing, visit the blog post How to Write Persuasive Content for Email Marketing. Did you find this blog post helpful? Just drop us your suggestions in the comment box below.

Up Next on the Email Etiquette Series: 7 Tips to Write that Perfect Email Call to Action

About Author

Mukulika Mukherjee is the Sr. Content Writer at The Digital Group with a love for all things tech, besides a passion for the written word. In a career spanning over 5 years, she has penned numerous articles, blog posts and media releases. Her work is primarily focused on the IT industry, including software products, tech companies and start-ups, digital marketing, and more.
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