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How successful are your email marketing campaigns? Do they regularly bring you new leads and sales? Or do they leave you wondering, "How can I get my emails opened and read?" If your promotions and newsletters aren't getting opened and you are sending them to contacts who have asked to be on your mailing list, the problem could be your subject lines.
The subject line of an email has the same function as a headline on an ad: Its purpose is to entice the viewer to read more. With print headlines, the headline merely has to encourage the reader to glance a little further down the page they are already reading. In email, however, the subject line has to work harder. It has to be powerful enough to get the recipient to take the decisive action of clicking on the email so they can preview it or read it in full.
What kind of email subject lines will get your readers to click? Here are several guidelines to make your headlines more commanding:
Put Yourself in Your Reader's Shoes
Although there are a lot of variables, the most important one is that the subject line needs to appeal primarily to the recipient's self-interest, not yours. In other words, the subject line needs to appeal to a goal the reader wants to achieve, not what you want them to do.
SEE ALSO: 6 Tips to Write Mobile Friendly Subject Lines
For instance, suppose you are a web hosting company and you have an opt-in mailing list of web developers. You've started a new program where you'll pay a referral fee for new web hosting accounts and you want to make the developers on your mailing list aware of the new program. If you send out a mailing with a subject line that reads, "Partner with OurCompanyName and Succeed," your open rate and response rate is likely to be low. The reason: Even though you include the word "succeed" at the end of the subject line, the focus of the subject line is what you want to happen -- partner with you.
Change the email subject line to, "Earn Top Commissions on Web Hosting Referrals," and your open rate and response rate will increase because you'll be focusing on what your readers want to do - make more money. (The text of the email would obviously need to back up that claim and include a call to action that would get readers to call you or fill out a web form to sign up for the program.)
Make Your Subject Line Interesting
To get your email opened, your subject line has to make the recipients think "This is something I want to know more about now." To accomplish that, the subject line has to hint at the contents of the email and do so in a way that piques the reader's curiosity.
Bland subject lines, even if they have some relevancy to the reader, won't cut it. There are just too many emails constantly vying for their attention.
Yes, this is the monthly newsletter you promised to send, but using "MyCompany Monthly News - Issue 10" as your subject line offers no hint at what's inside or why it's worth reading. Instead, make your subject line read "Convert More Leads - Free Workshop," or “Get more vacation for less money," Or, "What's killing your lawn?" Make your business name or your name - if that's what people expect to see - show in the From line so the email is identified with your business.
Appeal to Their Emotions
Although most of people like to think that their decisions are made logically, emotion usually plays an important role, too. That's especially true when the decision involves which emails to open in an inbox and which to delete. When time is an issue - and it almost always is when someone's weeding through emails--subject lines that trigger emotions are more likely to get opened than those that don't. Here are some of the most common emotional triggers.
- Competitiveness / one-upmanship
- Convenience / simplicity
- Ego enhancement
- Financial gain
- Financial loss
- Indulgence/ personal gratification
- Peace of Mind
- Social influence (social proof)
- Stress Reduction
- Time-Saving Ability
Find a way to incorporate words that trigger emotions related to your subject matter, and your response rate will improve.
SEE ALSO: How to Use Click-Through Rates to Create More Successful Emails
Keep Subject Lines Short
Your entire subject line doesn't always show in your recipient's inbox. The smaller the screen the person is using to read their mail, the fewer words will be displayed. Thus, if the subject line you write says, "Our new back pain therapy kills patients' need for drugs," what the reader may see is:
"Our new back pain therapy kills patients"
So, put the important words at the beginning of your subject.
© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc., DBA Business Know-How®. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission.
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