Think of an email subject line like the outfit you wear to interview. That outfit either leaves a positive or negative sentiment—opened or trashed. Though emails, like people, can contain value on the inside, it’s the outside that often solidifies a first impression. People don’t care that first impressions aren’t fair—it’s 2020 and ads are everywhere. Because of this, people have developed a natural filter for lame marketing and advertising in email subject lines. We no longer open emails just because they’re in our inbox. If I’m opening an email, I either know the sender or I’m rewarding the marketer who evaded my personal BS filter.
Types Of Email Subject Lines
Unfortunately for the planet, most people are consumers. If you’ve done your homework and your offer is tailored to your list, an incentive-based subject line will probably work. After all, we likely want what you’re offering, even if we don’t need it.
Ex. “Discount code for new arrivals”
Who doesn’t like something ~exclusive~? If my bff4l can’t have it, sign me up. Assuming that your sneak peek is actually cool (in the eye of the receiver), what’s not to click?
Ex. “Exclusive look for top $penders: the new ‘it’ girl jeans”
Talk nerdy: stats
Stats, ROI, data—you name the bizz buzz word. What do they all have in common? Numbers. Everyone likes to throw a sleek stat to prove a point. Give the readers what they want in the subject line. Numbers don’t lie, baby.
Ex. “12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year”
(author plug: don’t use plastic)
Tell ’em what to do
It is estimated that the average human makes 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. Do us a solid and eliminate one. Just get to the point and tell me what you want me to do, ya know?
Ex. “Buy a ticket to JumpCon”
The SEO-y title
Keywords are vital in being found on the internet, so why can’t that apply to your inbox? Think about what exact phrases people use to search. Those words will stick out when skimming subject lines and allow users to re-visit your email easily by searching.
Using drama may seem childish, but bold opinions make people look. The combination of controversy and factual information is like the cover of UsWeekly tempting you at the checkout line. You want to know what’s inside.
Ex. “Why no one is swiping right”
Fashion brands aren’t the only thing trending. Think words, tech, books, food, services, etc. Everyone wants the newest crap—give it to us!
Ex. “The latest time-saving apps”
Local recs look tailored and everyone likes to know what’s going on in their city. Even if I’m going out of town, I want to know what I’m missing out on.
Ex. “What the cool people are doing in Nashville”
Sense of urgency
Ever heard of FOMO? Well, I’m here to tell you that the “fear of missing out syndrome” is real. Subject lines that appeal to your emotions are often successful.
Ex. “Only 10 tickets left!”
A”how-to” subject line should reflect the benefit that the reader will receive upon clicking.
Ex. “How to write a subject line”
As long as you stick with an open-ended question, you’re good to go. A question makes the reader think and immediately creates engagement.
Ex. “Which brand of sparkling water is the best?”
Lists work. They are straight to the point and keep the attention of the reader. Also, they’re actionable.
Keep it concise
iPhones cut the subject line off after 35 characters and 46% of emails are opened on mobile. So depending on your audience, if this has proven to be true, play it safe and short.
Ex. “The perfect NYE dress”
Creativity = clicks. While staying on brand is important, so is standing out from the rest of the emails. Develop a brand personality and stick to it. After all, one of the reasons people unsubscribe is because they don’t know the sender.
Ex. “Jump, don’t walk to JumpCon 2020 registration”
(ok, that was cringy but you get the point)
Use their name
Non-marketers don’t know that adding a name to a subject line is done with code. Adding personal information like a first name to the subject line catches the recipient’s attention and can help bypass their internal spam filter.
Ex. “Katie, it was great to meet you at JumpCon”
Depending on the product or service, an informational subject line might be the way to go. Serious, busy people like efficiency.
Ex. “Our new CRM is here”
Pro tip: for more email news, subscribe to Really Good Emails—they’re funny and informative. We don’t work with them, I just like them.