When a consumer receives an email, two factors determine whether the recipient will open the message. The first is brand recognition. Does the consumer recognize the sender? The second factor is the subject line. Does the subject line create sufficient interest to cause the recipient to open the email to investigate? It’s that simple.
And that difficult.
When you send an email, you typically have the option of setting the “From” address. Be certain you use your brand, something your recipients will immediately recognize as coming from your agency. Using an obscure email address, e.g. Betty@gmail.com, will lower your open rate. Remember, email marketing should be permission based marketing. Your clients have given permission to receive email from you. Therefore, ensure they know the email originates with your company.
Equally important is the choice of a subject line. Each time you send an email, you are one of hundreds of messages likely to hit the recipient’s email address in any given week. The subject line is the “headline” for the message. Most consumers will quickly scan the subject lines in their inbox. If something grabs their interest, they open it. If the subject line is of little personal interest, or even the slightest bit “spammy” they delete the message.
So how do you create subject lines designed to generate sufficient interest?
The best subject lines appear useful to the reader and specific to their needs and interest. Interestingly, the best subject lines are not over the top sales pitches or pushy. Remember, every email you send is building a relationship. If you use gimmicks and tricks to achieve opens, you will quickly lose credibility. Be direct, describe your content and your credibility will be enhanced.
Which subject line most appeals to you:
- Valentine’s Day Travel Specials!
- Travel somewhere special for Valentines Day
No doubt it is a close call, but if I were choosing to use one of the two subject lines above, I would choose the second. If the subject line reads like an advertisement rather than a headline, it is more likely to be ignored. This is a bit counter-intuitive, but the research bears it out. Phrases such as “15 Percent Off” are more likely to be ignored than “Holiday Values this Thanksgiving“.
Subject lines have been the object of much study in the marketing community. While there is not uniform agreement on what works, a few rules settle out as near absolutes.
- Less is more – a shorter subject line is better than a long one. Keep your subject line under 50 characters.
- Avoid all capital letters and excessive punctuation
- Avoid words likely to get caught in a spam filter: sex, free ……
- Don’t be tricky or pushy.
- Describe the subject of your email – be direct and straightforward
MailChimp did an excellent study of subject lines studying over 200 million emails. Read the article that resulted which includes examples of high open rate subject lines and abysmally low open rest subject rates. http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/best-practices-in-writing-email-subject-lines/