11 Email Subject Line Best Practices to Boost Open Rates

email-subject-line-best-practices No one is immune from email fatigue, and yet, email remains one of the most popular ways to reach customers. In fact, almost half say they actually prefer marketing emails over other forms of communication.

The key strategy for getting your email opened? Email subject line best practices!

In fact, 35 percent depend on the subject line to decide if they are going to open it.

Here are key tips to help you boost your email open rates and  maximize your email opportunities.

1. Keep it short.

I cannot stress this enough. In one survey, subject lines that had three to four words performed the best. It’s not always easy, but worth it to test out email subject lines that are short. But the same study also discovered response rates dropped “slowly” with each word that was added. Meaning, that five words were almost as good as four. So, if there’s a word or short phrase that would add clarity, add it in without worrying too much.

3. Ask a question.

Create a dialogue vs. a monologue.  As in, “Want to improve your email open rate?” A question can help your reader become more emotionally involved.

4. Focus on their benefit.

Make sure they are clear on what’s in it for them. If you are offering information that will help them be more productive or a product that will solve their problem, explain the benefit to them. As in, “How to Turn Subscribers into Buyers.”

5. Don’t trick them.

People hate a subject line that doesn’t deliver what’s promised. Make sure that if you tout a “special deal,” that there really is one. Or, if you are offering five tips for something, include the tips right in the body of the email rather than making them click away.

6. Create a sense of urgency.

Lots of people skip over email intending to go back later. But, we all know that sometimes later never happens and the email ends up getting deleted, or it’s too old to still be relevant. Including a time word in your email subject line, like “today only” or “this week” can give them a compelling reason to open it right away.

7. Be clever (but not too clever).

Adding a little dose of creativity is always welcomed. If you are gearing up for back-to-school, for example, test out incorporating wording like  “A+ deals” or “Bus loads of Bonuses.”

8. Don’t use all caps.

You might be tempted to convey excitement with all caps, but that’s a well-known form of email “yelling.” It’s also harder to read than normal text.

9. Remember your reader is likely on a mobile device.

Make sure your email is optimized for mobile and that includes the subject line. That’s one more reason a short subject line is important.

10. Don’t give it all away.

People are curious by nature. Create an information gap. Include something in the subject line that teases what’s inside to make it stand out.

11. Test your subject lines.

Not sure what subject lines resonate with your ideal customer? If you have a big enough list, I recommend A/B testing. Send the same information or offer, but switch up your subject lines to see if one performs better than the other.

Need help figuring how how the right email marketing can help you create more buyers, brand ambassadors and repeat customers?

Email me today at laura@webnavigatorgal.com. Would love to hear more about your business goals. Look forward to connecting soon.


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