How many unread emails do you have in your inbox? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably lost count. Approximately 320 billion emails are sent every day, with 35% of them never being opened. Consumers are bombarded with various types of information each day—personal messages, work-related communications, retail offers, etc. But they, unfortunately, don’t have time to soak it all in. The chances of your email being opened are extremely low – unless, of course, you have a subject line that entices the reader to open it.

Email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient marketing methods, but how to drive the most value out of it depends on the content you present and how you present it. In this particular article, I will focus on your first opportunity to catch your target consumer’s attention: the subject line of the email.

What is a Subject Line?

The subject line of an email is the single line of text that displays in your inbox when you receive your email. This one line of text can often determine whether an email is opened or sent straight to trash, so make sure it’s optimized toward your audience. The best subject lines are short, descriptive, and give the reader a reason to explore your message further.

Why are Subject Lines important?

Your subject line serves as your first and many times last impression. We often write subject lines as afterthoughts; technically, they’re actually more important than the body copy of your email. After all, the greatest email in the world is worthless if it never gets opened or put to trash, right? A subject line should be an email’s most thought-out and finely crafted sentence or phrase because it’s the first thing your subscribers see.

Numbers don’t lie, and in this era, with very little time to ponder over each and everything, we tend to judge an email by its subject line.

Humans are inquisitive by nature.

Subject Line acts as a teaser for what is there in the email for the user. If they like the teaser, they will definitely be curious about what’s there in the email for them. For instance, the subject line below will certainly create an urge to open the email.

Best Practices for writing an Email Subject Lines

1. Adding the element of personalization

Just by adding the word ‘Your’ makes the reader relate to their team, which further increases the click-through rates and improves conversions. No two readers are the same. Their likes can be but when you send them content relevant to an occasion, make it catered toward the individual. Try including the recipient’s first name, or other personal information like recent purchases, in the subject line.

2. Use Numbers – Numbers are compelling.

Incorporating numbers into your subject line creates focus, as our brains are naturally drawn to digits. Numbers and list email subject lines stand out for the same reasons that one-word subject lines or unusual punctuation do – they are visually compelling.

3. Create a sense of urgency.

Creating a sense of urgency has proven people to take action. It creates a feeling of missing out (FOMO).  You can create a similar effect in your subject lines. “70% discount ends today” You can mix it with the numbers to create a better impact.

4. Apply the KISS Principle (Keep it simple, stupid)

Subject lines should be concise and clear. Figure out the important keywords that can indicate and provide the information on what the email is directed to – stick to 50 characters or less. The goal should be to provide a message value in the fewest characters possible.

“Your order is being processed” – You can omit out words like “update.”

5. Put up a how-to?

Putting up questions in a subject line initiates a conversation with the reader. It helps the reader relate with them and quickly conclude that the answer they are looking for is part of the email, which results in increasing the open rates of your email. And if they know they can benefit from maintaining a relationship with your brand through email, they’ll be more likely to take in your messages.

6. Appropriate use of emoji – Emojis drive emotions and engagement, clever placement of them can turn out to be a good chuckle for the reader. It makes the statement more expressive and lets your subject line stand out from the rest. But keep in mind to not use more than 2 emoticons in the subject line.

7. Open with action verbs – ‘Reveal your special offer’ Subject lines that begin with action verbs tend to entice the user and drive them to take action. It reveals to the user how your email will benefit your recipients and make that benefit clear immediately. “Meet your new jeans.”

There are plenty of ways to write successful email subject lines and various approaches that work better for different industries. To understand what works best for your business, implement industry-proven best practices, and monitor your email campaigns. The data will help guide your optimization strategy, ensure a higher open rate of emails, and ultimately boost the impact on your business.


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Further Reading
Marketing & Commerce | March 8, 2021
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