Optimize Your Email Subject Lines

Email subject lines are very important. They can make or break your open rate and impact your conversion rate. Learn more about how to optimize them and make sure you’re getting email subject lines right.

Email marketing is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies that you can employ, as it is all about nurturing the leads that you’ve captured. You can use it to gradually convert your leads into new clients and also build loyalty and trust with existing customers.

However, this only works if email recipients are actually opening your messages. Don’t assume that just because they signed up for your email list, they’ll read the messages you send out. To help improve your open rate, you’ll want to focus on attention-grabbing email subject lines. The stronger your subject line, the better the chances that the email will be opened. Here are three ways to improve open rates by optimizing subject lines:

1. Keep it simple

Making sure that your subject lines are clear and concise is much more important than trying to be clever. Your readers need to know exactly what’s going to be in the email content. Even if you’re teasing your content with a question, readers will understand that by opening the email, they’ll get the answer.

Also, remember to not cover more than one topic in your subject line or it will seem cluttered. If the recipient reads the subject line once and doesn’t know what’s going to be in the content, there’s a good chance your message will go unread or be sent straight to the trash folder.

Another mistake companies often make involves subject line lengths. If a recipient has to open the email in order to read the entire subject line, then it’s way too long. Most studies have shown that below 50 characters is the most effective length.

2. Personalize it

You should make use of customer information to personalize your emails. However, that doesn’t mean putting recipients’ names in every subject line – this is done way too often and comes off as spammy. Instead, consider using geographical location to draw attention. For example, “Check out these upcoming events in Chicago!”

Keeping track of what your customers have purchased from you can help as well. Companies like Groupon use their customers’ purchase history to tailor new emails with similar offers.

3. Use numbers and lists

When you include a number or list in your subject line, readers will immediately know there’s content in the email that will be helpful to them. While all of your emails should provide valuable content that is informative and helpful, if the subject line doesn’t indicate this, then recipients’ interest won’t be piqued.

It’s a different story when your subject line is a list, like “5 ways to save money around the house.” Numbers stand out – they are visually different than text, which in turn means your subject line will stand out among the other emails in a customer’s inbox.

Bonus: What WON’T get you clicks

Email filters change often to adapt to an individual user’s idea of spam, based on what they’ve filtered in the past. To avoid your email ending up in the junk box, avoid these major no-no’s:

  • Crazy formatting – All caps, too much punctuation or myriad colors
  • $$$ – Any subjects along the lines of ‘Money-back guarantee’ ‘Make money’ ‘Get money’
  • Image overload – Too many images, or only an image without text

Simplification, personalization and making use of numbers and lists are three ways to improve the open rate of your emails. Remember, no one wants an advertisement in their inbox, so you should avoid sounding salesy as much as possible. Don’t run the risk of alienating potential readers – or, even worse, getting your emails marked as spam.