Email Subject Lines: You know you want to open me!

Posted on 7/20/2015 by in digital marketing email marketing email subject lines that work

In front of every great email campaign is a solid subject line that makes your subscribers want to open the email. How can you create effective email subject lines that will increase your open rates and click through rates on email campaigns, and even reduce your unsubscribe rate?

Email Subject Lines - How to Increase Open Rate

There are different types of email subject lines that can help you increase the open rate on your email campaigns. HubSpot recently posted an article that featured a handful of awesome subject lines. Think about your inbox for a moment and the volume of emails you get every single day. My personal gmail account is where all of my subscribed email goes to, and I know if I don't clean it out every day it will pile up to the point where it becomes unmanageable. The emails I get are from brands I follow or want to hear from, but typically speaking, every day I don't have a need for every brand who's emails I subscribe too. I subscribed to various brands so that when the need arose for a given item, I could check my email to see what the current offers were.

To keep my inbox cleaned out, I do have to delete many emails each day, and if I'm brutally honest, the percentage of subscribed emails I do open is pretty low. But how do I determine which ones get opened each day, and which ones get moved to the trash folder? It's all about the subject lines. I scan through the subject lines to see what strikes me as time-sensitive, life changing, must have, etc. and those get opened, and the rest get deleted.  In the business world, for B2B email marketers, my guess is the same rule applies. Email subscribers go through their inbox and decide based on their current business needs and struggles, which of the B2B subscribed emails they will open and which are not relevant at any given time.  So your B2B subject lines become even more important.

We recently sent an email campaign to a very small population of our clients regarding the recent Google algorithm changes regarding mobile friendly websites, and the subject line was intended to alert our clients that their website was not mobile friendly and let them know they'd be losing valuable search traffic. We wanted our clients to know before they even opened it, the important information contained with in, and we saw a 2% increase in our open rate of more general email newsletters.  The subject simply said "Your website is not mobile friendly. You may be losing valuable traffic." Yes we know it's long, but we have experimented with both short and long subject lines and our open rates don't change much.

Some other types of subject lines that might help increase your open rate could include the following types:

  • Conversational subject lines - short and sweet. Using a subject line like "Hey" or "Hello" can be very effective if your brand subscribers are loyal. They'll want to know what's up and will likely click to open. Keep in mind these should not be used often because many spammers do this also to try to fool you into thinking they know you.
  • Reverse psychology emails - challenge your readers.  Tell them they don't want to open your email - that will surely make them want to see what you have to say!
  • How-To subject lines - Tell your readers what they will find in the email that will help them with quality of life.  "Ten tips to enjoy Disney without breaking the bank."  or "10 ways to increase blog engagement."
  • Personalized greetings - letting your guests know you care.  Personalized birthday greetings, special offers, holiday notes and more typically get opened more.
  • Humor.  Using clean humor in your subject lines can be very engaging and provide that uplifting moment your readers may be looking for.

There are lots of ways to make your subject lines more engaging to increase open rate.  Test shorter subject lines, longer ones, funny ones, special offers, how-to helpful hints and more. Once you discover what works best for you, create a mix of these over time and you'll be enjoying an increased open and click-through rate, which should ultimately lead to more business!

Check out the article from HubSpot to see more specific examples of what works.


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