We explain how to hit the mark with winning email subject lines
The truth is that it does not matter how good your e-mail is, how good your content is, or how good your product is. Your audience will only get to see the value you offer if they open your e-mail. If your subject line is not captivating, your audience will not open the e-mail and you will not get the conversion rate you need.
The stress of trying to come up with a winning formula can pile on the pressure and leave you staring at an empty page. It is tempting to take someone else’s words but every brand is unique, and you will need an approach which is tailored specifically to your target market…not someone else’s.
However, there is some good news. If you are feeling stuck, you do not need to struggle. Here are five top tips which will get the right words flowing when you are looking for an irresistible subject line.
Consider The Character Count
When you are creating your killer subject line, consider the number of characters you are allowed. This is more important for subject lines because those that are either longer or shorter than the standard 40-50 characters will stick out.
Joanne Wiebe from Copy Hackers discussed this in an interview published in Litmus, and had this to say on the subject:
“For clients, I’ve written insanely long subject lines that push right to the end where the tool won’t let you add any more characters. And that’s purely so that it looks different in an inbox.
Of course, you’ll want to front load the really long ones. You don’t want your subscribers to have to read the whole thing to care, front load it with the most interesting stuff in order to do the job of getting noticed while not having to read the whole thing.”
Of course, everyone will have their own strategy. However, having an understanding of your platform’s character count will set the foundation for crafting the perfect email subject line.
Don’t Forget To Check Your Preheader Text
The preheader is a piece of writing which is often overlooked, and if you mess it up, your e-mail campaign will be a disaster. If you have any marketing experience you have probably seen many horror stories such as this:
Unmarketing’s Scott Stratten points out a disastrous preheader on Twitter.
It is hard to imagine a bigger PR fail; learn from the mistakes of others and don’t follow in their footsteps.
If you want to use preheaders effectively make sure you understand how they will be shown, particularly on mobile devices. The iPhone 6 offers up to three lines of visible text, while Outlook for Mac only allows 55 characters; Apple Mail sits in between with a mediocre 140 characters. Craft your preheader to match the medium that your customers are most likely to use.
Throw Out The Rulebook
Understanding standard and best practices for entrepreneurs is a useful starting point but don’t feel you need to slavishly follow the rulebook. You know your style and if a more casual approach fits, then don’t be afraid to do things differently.
Taking an informal approach is not always appropriate, much depends on the nature of your business. However, if you think your customers might appreciate a few quips and a light-hearted line or two, go for it – the results might surprise you.
Don’t Beat Around The Bush
It may sound astoundingly obvious, but if you don’t tell your customers what your email is about, you are going to find it harder to grab their attention.
A subject line should reveal what’s in the email, why the recipient needs to open it and read more. Of course, that does not mean you cannot use a few extra tips and tricks to try to catch their eye such as using humor. However, keep in mind that your goal is not to be clever but to get conversions.
However, the golden rule that you should never break is that your subject line should be truthful. If the subject line is misleading in any way, you’ll lose the trust of your customer and your brand could suffer as a result in the future.
Don’t Assume You Know What Will Work
If you have worked your fingers to the bone researching and developing your brand, it is easy to assume that you know what approach to take. However, to grow your business online you will need to test the waters. You will never really know if you are right, or whether your plan needs a tweak or two.
This concept of tweaking is so important that practically every time you do a Google search, you are participating in a split test where Google is testing new approaches. The more you test, the more you will learn about your audience.
So try new e-mail subject lines, send them out to small samples, and see the results before blasting your entire list!
Trends and technology are both key areas, and yet they are continually changing. Your job is to keep up, and that is not a challenge for the complacent! Testing does not have to be a slog. If you are brave enough to try something entirely new you could learn much more than you expected.