Email subject lines are like the gatekeepers of your email campaign. They are the ones to decide who comes and who needs to be turned away. But the thing with email marketing campaigns is that we want ‘everyone’ to come in.

After spending hours or even days creating the copy of the email, there is no doubt that you would want to make sure everyone actually reads it. And that’s where the importance of framing the right subject line walks in.

Subject lines are the first thing that the recipients see. You really don’t want to put across the wrong message and be moved to trash right away. So here are 5 email subject line strategies that will increase your campaign’s open rates:

1. Sticking to the point

Businesses usually get in touch with their customers for sending out notifications or updates about their products and services. So be absolutely clear about what your campaign needs to achieve and then stick to the goal.

  • When it is about notifications, the best strategy is to be very specific in the subject line. Let the customers know exactly what they’re going to be reading. By telling them why you’re sending the email and what they can expect from it, is a sure shot way of grabbing their attention. Take it from LinkedIn and how they let you know ‘Tom Hanks and 9 others viewed your profile’.
  • When sending newsletters or one-off campaigns, use subject lines that pique the curiosity of the reader. And the best way of doing so, is by asking questions. See how PeoplePerHour gets me to open their emails every time!

ask a question in the subject line

2. Segment, localise, personalise and target

Personalisation is the need of the hour. Starting a subject line with something like, ‘Hey Mike, how about..’ has not just become sort of mandatory, but also way too usual. The best way to not sound too monotonous (and probably like every other person in your industry), is to tailor your subject lines using customer attributes and actions.

Segment your audience based on their gender, location, interests and recent on-site behaviour. Create a subject line that accounts for everything. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to test their response to being addressed by their first and last names.

A good example is that of LinkedIn. It uses your connections and add requests for their campaigns, to bring you back to their platform for networking – the most obvious interest of its users.

3. Building a strong base first

Don’t just shoot out an email out of nowhere. It is only going to make you sound spammy! Create a lifecycle email marketing campaign. Adhering to a series of emails to your customers will ensure that your recipients know who you are. In return giving you a chance to build momentum for any campaign with an increased open rate.

To start with, test flagging your subject lines by adding a ‘Part no.’ to it. This helps identify the customer response to each email in the series and increases the open rates at the same time by generation enough curiosity around it. But ensure each of your emails in the series adds value to the customer to be able to generate conversions from them.

4. Experimenting with subject line length

A common tip most email marketers come across is to keep the subject line as short as possible. We like to differ. As a matter of fact, a study by MailChimp suggests that there is no ‘appropriate length’ for a subject line. It is completely relative to your target audience and the campaign you are running. So start out by testing different subject lines – long, short, capitals, first letter capitalisations, etc.

subject line length study by MailChimp

image source: MailChimp

And lastly,

5. Moving beyond just the subject line

The subject line isn’t the only thing that your email campaign open rate depends on. It is important to keep in mind what comes exactly after the subject line – the word choice and order. Almost every email service provider’s format includes – subject line, from field and a short preview. Take a look at your Gmail account. take Gmail for example.

Here are a few things you can experiment with:

  • The from field: Instead of just using your or company name, try a mix of both instead. ‘Mike from ABC Company’, gives a personal touch as well as lets the recipient know which company’s campaign is addressing them.
  • Move the ‘open in your browser’ tag to the bottom instead so that the preview text of your mail gets more visibility.
  • Always use formatting while drafting your email. Use an H1 tag that holds some meaning to the reader.

Over to you

What do you think are the best practices to follow for a successful email marketing campaign? Feel free to add to this post by dropping a comment in the box below!

We’re always open to learning more. 🙂

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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Content Marketer at Exit Bee. Most of the times found trying to create compelling copies for blogs and digital campaigns, keeping a watch on what's happening on social media or ranting on Twitter. At all other times, not found.

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