6 best practices for writing email subject lines

email subject line best practices

Expert email marketers understand that every facet of an email campaign contribute to great open and click-through rates. One facet of the email creative itself is the email subject line. The best email campaigns utilize a subject line that hooks the subscriber’s attention, and encourages them to click. That’s why WhatCounts compiled a list of the best practices for writing email subject lines.

1. Personalization

Marketers need to convey that they care about there subscribers and they are more than just dollar signs. Be honest with yourself. You would be much more inclined to open a letter from your grandmother as opposed to a bank saying you have been pre-approved for a credit card. When writing email subject lines, marketers need to remember that same concept. People like to open emails from others that know and care about them.

Personalization shows increased open rates for users, and usually works even better when you combine them with another automation to fill the necessary personalized slots. For example, through WhatCounts, you can easily send a Welcome Series automated campaign that pulls subscriber info directly into the email for you.

2. Subject line length matters

Length does not matter as much for users that open on a computer or large tablet. But we recommend A/B testing subject lines of varying length to see which one works best. If a large portion of your users open on mobile – which is likely because average mobile email open percent is around 55% – than you need shorter subject lines. Try different copy options for your subject that say basically the same thing, but don’t have filler words.

3. Create a sense of urgency to open the email

Urgency in email subject lines especially needs attention whenever you are selling product. Subject lines that create a sense of scarcity or uniqueness can compel readers to click. And then the copy of the email will help them convert. Using words like “limited” or “right now” can help the readers realize the deal won’t last forever. A great example for urgency would be to create an abandoned cart campaign that gives the user a discount if they act within 24 hours of leaving there cart. Or, create a loyalty automation that gives limited time discounts to your frequent buyers. They get a deal, you get a retained customer.

4. Use a familiar sender name

No subscriber wants to receive an email from what is obviously an automation. Avoid using sender names that will make the reader feel un-welcomed. Instead, try using real names along with the company name after, this can help show there is care and intent behind every email sent. And it can increase open rates.

5. A/B Test your email subject lines

Length, verbiage, and any sort of capitalization or punctuation can affect the way an email is received on the subscribers end. That means marketers must be A/B testing all the different factors on different segments and within the same segment. For example, if I am targeting females aged 18-35, I need to A/B test my email subject lines within that same segment, and then also within other segments such as females ages 55+. This ensures you are communicating effectively with every type of subscriber.

6. Tell them what is inside the email

Obviously, marketers have to find the balance between piquing subscriber interest while not giving away all the information, making it useless to click on the email. But it is very important to actually tell your subscriber what the email is about in the email subject line. Users will not open emails in which they have no idea of the content inside, this could be because they might think it is spam, or they are not hooked enough on what value you are providing to them within the email.

Let us help

At WhatCounts, we understand the delicacy of crafting great email subject lines, and we can provide the resources to help you increase your open rates. If you’re one of our clients, talk to your account manager to get started with all the expert practices to create great email subject lines. If you aren’t a client but you want to learn more about any aspect of email marketing, you can just reach out to us directly.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media and continuously tune into our blog. So, you can stay up-to-date on all the latest email marketing best practices.

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