Hours spent on the perfect copy, the perfect call-to-action, a cool landing page. You couldn’t have done a better job. Then, you get the results. All of that work, and just a handful of people even read it.
So what contributed to such low open rates?
You can’t underestimate the importance of the subject line. It’s the first thing your recipient sees. It is what will ultimately determine if they will open, delete, ignore, or the dreaded – mark as spam – your email.
Give your campaign the best chance to get read. Here are ten best practices to help make sure your email gets opened:
- Sense of Urgency – Use words that indicate action sooner than later. Where appropriate, the words “Today”, “Tomorrow”, and “Now” increase open rates. But use with caution: using these words too frequently can sometimes trigger emails as spam, and can lead to list exhaustion if used repeatedly in your campaigns.
- Numbers of Characters – Recipients have hundreds of emails, so no doubt they are speed scanning subject lines. Keep your subject line to under 50 characters so they can quickly digest what you are offering.
- Offer something they want – What will they get by opening your email? Are you providing them with relevant information?
- Showcase the Benefit, not the Feature– What’s in it for them? Will your offer save time? Improve ROI?
- Keep it Simple – Clear and specific subject lines beat clever alternatives every time.
- Numbers – Widely used, but very effective. “7 Tools that…” or “12 Examples of…”
- Ask a Question – Pull in the recipient by asking a question that they would want the answer to.
- Skip getting personal – Personalizing subject lines with recipient’s names have been shown to negatively impact open rates.
- Identify Yourself – Highlight your most recognizable product in the subject line
- Test, Test, and Test – These general guidelines have worked for many – but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all email subject line. Find out what resonates with your audience by split testing. Take two sample groups from your recipient lists, send the same email with two different subject lines, and see how your audience responds.