Email marketing is considered one of the most profitable ways to make money for just about any type of business. “Why?” you ask. Well data shows that for every $1 spent on email marketing your Return on Investment(ROI) is approx. $41, where if you spend $1 on mobile marketing you will get approx $10.51 or $12.71 for social media marketing or $22.24 for search engine marketing.
“But I have an email list and I don’t get that sort of ROI from it! What am I doing wrong?” You think.
Well there are a number of metrics that are considered important – click-through rates, unsubscribes and email open-rates.
But in this article I will only be looking at some tips for email subject lines that can help improve open rates.
Improve Open Rates by Improving Subject Lines
Poor email open rates can be an indication of a few things; you’re not sending the right emails to the right people, you’re not sending your emails at the right time of day or you might be using the wrong wording in your subject lines.
Let’s take a look at the last issue: subject lines.
Get Personal-isation In Your Subject Lines
An easy way to personalise the subject lines of your emails is by adding someones name, this can create a feeling of one-on-one communication rather than just an email sent to a mass of people. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” ~ Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence people.
A study done by Rentention Science shows a higher email open rate with the recipients name in the subject line than without. So by just being polite and using the first name of the subscriber in your email you increase your chances of them reading it. Great!
You can add more personal points, birthday, location specific events or just using personal words like “you” and “your”.
Some examples of personalised subject lines are:
- “Shelly, a little bird told me it’s your Birthday Today! Check out your Birthday Treat Inside!”
- “Just for you Phil, 10% discounts on all products!”
- “Emma, check out these awesome restaurant deals in your local area”
Sending emails on birthdays or events happening locally, shows you have an interest in who your subscribers are. You just need to be careful you don’t over do it and come across as creepy. If you haven’t gotten their name or don’t want to use it, still use personal words like “you” or “your” as it comes across as you are talking to them directly.
Direct and to my Point
As more and more emails are being read on mobile devices and people are just scanning their email subject lines, you need to make sure you are being as clear and concise as possible. Mobile devices have limited screen real estate so you need to make sure your subject lines aren’t being cut off. Rentention Science found that between 6 – 10 words had the highest open rate and 21 – 25 words had the lowest.
This means you really have to grab your subscribers attention with clear and concise wording. I know, this can be difficult but if you think about what you need to say and then try removing the “wordy” or “frivolous” words this can help. Also try wording your title with how it will benefit the receiver.
Some email marketers recommend using puzzling, elusive or story telling techniques for their subject lines to entice and compel the reader to open and want to know more. Getting straight to the point of telling the reader what the email has in-store for them is another great way to get them to open.
You can also use numbers in your email subject lines to provide concise and specific details. People seem to love numbered lists and just numbers, as often this means that content is broken down into smaller easier to read and digest parts. It can also give the receiver clear information on what they can expect in their email i.e your article of “10 things…”, ebook size, discount, limited supply or a benefit.
Some examples of concise and clear subject lines:
- “Just for you Phil, 10% discount on all products!”
- “Increase the traffic to your website by 45% today!”
- “John your order has been processed”
- “Mel, I hope you’re as excited as we are about this!”
- “Factory worker makes $1000 per month passively online”
- “Your new ebook awaits!”
- “Join 100 other VIP’s with access to…”
There are heaps of words you should look to keep clear of. e.g. update, newsletter, bonus, money, cheap, offer, win etc. There are many more words that can be picked up by spam filters or your subscriber might just delete and ignore them if they do manage to get into their inbox, you will have to test to see what works for you.
Action Creates More Action
Write your subject line like a call-to-action, direct the reader to do something, create urgency or excitement about your email. Action worded emails tend to give the subscriber a feeling that action is need and to do it now.
Some examples of action subject lines might be:
- “Acting Lessons With Tom Cruise, Interested?”
- “Are You In or Out?”
- “[Last call] Ultimate guide to paid traffic”
- “She sold 250 products for $50 each. Want to know how?”
That Warm Special Feeling
Making people feel special or a VIP can be a very powerful method. When you make someone feel like they are getting special or exclusive access to a product or service this creates a sense of belonging and builds loyalty.
A few examples for phrasing include:
- “Are you ready for your gift?”
- “Early bird special access”
- “Your private invitation to try before you buy”
Questions, Questions, Whats With All the Questions
Using a question you know is relevant to your buyers needs can catch their eye and draw them into open your email. This shows interest in what your readers are having difficultly with and by fixing their problem you build a deeper relationships with them. Why does this work? People love to talk about themselves, their problems, their passions and if you create a subject heading with a question that they have and your email has the solution, you will get a lot more emails opened.
Make sure your questions directs the reader away from what they know and toward something you can fix. “He does not ask questions about the individual’s expertise. He asks questions that steer the conversation toward the other persons’ incomplete goals that he’s able to solve. He looks for an opportunity to proactively give.” ~ Michael Ellsberg, Author, The Education of Millionaires
A few example questions:
- “Are You Tired of Your Emails not Getting Opened, Try this!”
- “Are You Excited About Losing Money on Paid Traffic? Neither Were We, So We Did Something About it. Check it out!”
- “Looking for the Holy Grail of Building Passive Income? We Have It!”
- “What Are Your Clients Saying About You?”
Asking a question about what others think of your offer or service and then providing a review on your product using customer testimonials can be another great way to get subscribers to read your emails. People like to know what others think and have experienced because this means “they” will be happy with the product or get the same success or are there problems.
Throw In Those Dad Jokes
I love a good Dad joke. I often use puns, get a chuckle then told to never say it again. LOL. A friend of mine said to me a little while back, that using puns when he was online dating was a gold mine with the ladies and puns/humor also have there place in email headlines.
Using puns, jokes, chants, song lyrics or rhymes can get a lot of opens. They are a great way to get a giggle, remember and relate to a classic song, roll off the tongue or a funny tongue twister. Have you received an email with a really clever subject line that you just had to open?
Some really punny examples 😉 :
- “Land wander-ful low fares now!” ~ JetBlue
- “Abra-cord-abra! Yeah, we said it.” ~ Quirky
- “Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans” ~ SXSW
- “Yes, I’m Pregnant. You Can Stop Staring At My Belly Now” ~ Baby Bump
- “Boom Shakalak! Let’s get Started” ~ TicTail
Having your pun or joke subject line written like you would say it, is something that readers can really relate too. Why? Because maybe that’s how they or someone has told a cheesy joke in real life.
Using puns, jokes, song lyrics etc are good ways to get your emails opened but just be careful not to overdo it. It can be a little much using them all the time and like anything when you see it all the time it fades into the back ground.
Using any and all of the techniques in this post can work great, but how do you really know what works? You need to test, test, test and test some more. What works for one persons email list might not work for yours. Just because a website on the interwebs says “these work, use them” or their stats show an increase in open rates due to jokes, or using a question doesn’t mean it will work for your list.
Typically autoresponders have split testing campaigns for emails and subject lines. When you test, remember the more emails you send to contacts the more useful the results will be. Don’t expect results within minutes of starting your testing, you might need to wait a day to see which is the winning campaign and finally, what are your goals, what data you want reaults on – click rate or open rate?
Like any other part of marketing for your business, you need to test and optimise your emails to improve customer engagement. Start with some of the email subject lines above, modify them and test them again. Take the time to look at what you want to achieve, set some goals and then exceed them. By trial and error you can find out what works for your email list and grow your business.
For more email subject line ideas, check out this great article from Digital Marketer on 101 of their best email subject lines for 2016. – Check it out here
Do you use these tips in your email subject lines? What types of subject lines work for your list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Are you looking for tips on how to improve your email subject lines?