We have always been told to not judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to an email subject line, many do exactly that.
Even the best emails will remain unread if the subject line doesn’t speak to the reader. So it’s no surprise that many people get intimidated when they have to select a few words to determine the fate of their email marketing.
If you’re feeling the pressure when it comes to writing an effective subject line, check out these five tips:
Use the character count to your advantage
The average person receives about 121 emails per day, so it can be easy for your emails to get lost in the depths of an overcrowded inbox. One way to stand out is to make the subject line as long as your email platform will allow (typically around 150 characters). Most subject lines are around 40-50 characters, so a long one will help it stand out.
Keep in mind you don’t want to give away all the important information right off the bat. Your subject line should still give readers a reason to open the email.
TIP: Pay attention to how many people are opening your emails on mobile. iPhones cut off email subject lines at about 35 characters, so if many of your readers are on mobile, it may make sense to tailor subject lines according to them.
Tell readers how the email is valuable
This tip may seem obvious, but some companies care more about being clever than telling readers what they can expect from the email. Above all, a subject line should always tell the reader what is inside.
Also, make sure to:
- Explain what the reader can expect in your email.
- Demonstrate value.
- Never mislead readers.
Account for pre-header text
Pre-header text is the preview text that follows the subject when an email is viewed in the inbox. This text can work with the subject to help demonstrate value and get readers to click through.
Many email platforms allow you to control what the preview text of your email will be. Here is an example of how pre-header text can be used:
Subject line: Are you going to…
Pre-header text: the next Channel event? See you there!
Knowing how preview text displays on different email platforms helps as well. For example:
- Apple Mail allows 140 characters for pre-header text.
- Outlook for Mac gives 55 characters for pre-header text.
- Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo vary depending on the subject line length.
Know your audience
There may be times when you are unsure whether or not to take a risk (whether it be with copy, design, or topic). Utilize your past email data to see what works well. It also helps to think about who your readers are and what solution they need to solve their common problems.
If you are just getting started with email marketing, a good rule of thumb is to start with the problem/solution mentioned above, and keep the focus on the pain the reader is in.
Test different options
A/B testing, also called split testing, is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage (or in this case, a subject line) against each other to determine which one performs better. Test different words, phrases, and voices to hone in on what your email subscribers respond well to. A/B testing may sound complex, but its actually a feature that is built into most marketing automation software.
Here’s one example of subject line A/B testing:
Option A: How SD-WAN can transform your business
Option B: SD-WAN: the new way to network
You will notice the subject lines above are not drastically different, which is a good rule of thumb for A/B testing. Make small tweaks and changes over time to hone in on your subscribers’ preferences.
If you’re looking for even more ways to get creative with a subject line, check out these telecom marketing email subject line trends.