How to write subject lines that get emails opened?

With emails generating more than £30bn in sales in the UK alone, it’s no wonder our inboxes are full.

Email marketing is big business and almost every company out there wants a piece of the action. What this does mean however is that it’s very competitive – it’s estimated that the average office worker receives an incredible 121 emails every single day.

These statistics present companies with a big hurdle as soon as they land in people’s inboxes. It doesn’t matter how great the content inside your email is, if your subject line doesn’t draw people in immediately, it’s likely to be moved straight to the junk folder.

The all-important question is; how do you write subject lines that make people want to open your emails?

Know your audience

How many of you have accumulated a list of email subscribers over the years based on people you’ve worked with, customers who have bought from you and anyone else you’ve encountered over the years?

Most email lists are a bit of a free-for-all and the majority of marketers are happy with this because the more people you’re emailing, the higher your open and conversion rates surely?

The first issue with this is GDPR. Introduced just over a year ago, new laws state that you can only email people who have specifically opted in to hear from you. If you haven’t already, you should go through your list and be able to identify (with proof), how people consented to receive your communications (opt-in doesn’t constitute consent).

The second problem is, what are the chances that a generic email is going to appeal to everyone you’re emailing when you’ve got such a broad range of prospects in there?

If you really want to see results from your email campaigns, an experienced marketing agency such as Big Group in London will be able to help you segment your lists and agree your email marketing strategy to help you get the best possible results.

Here are some great ideas however if you are planning to give it a go yourself.

  • If your products are gender-specific (such as clothing), split your list into two groups and target your emails accordingly. Send men fashion news and tips and direct them to some of your most popular items of clothing for men. You can then do the same for women.
  • You really should be segmenting your email lists by buyer behaviour. If someone has never bought from you before, you can entice them in with special offers. Regular customers will appreciate some kind of loyalty discount or a special offer just for them on their birthday. Cart abandonment emails can also be very effective and a little discount can be just what someone needs to convince them to go through with the purchase.
  • Age will play a very important factor in how you talk to your audience. Younger audiences will happily receive emails which are informal and use slang and emoji’s whereas an older audience is unlikely to appreciate this.
  • What your subscribers do for a job is also very important. If you’re an accountancy firm for example, you should be tailoring your email content according to what your audience wants to read. Other accountants for example will want to hear all the latest industry news, changes and compliancy rules. A business owner who outsources this function isn’t going to have the time nor the inclination to read this but they probably will be interested in hearing about how they can grow their business or reduce their tax bill.

Be honest

You’re probably familiar with click-bait articles. In fact, you’ve probably been duped into opening one yourself. They make outrageous claims but rarely follow through with the hype.

‘Woman loses two stone in just one month using this simple trick’ or ‘Man hugs lion. You won’t believe what happens next’ are examples of click-bait headlines. They’re designed to entice people into clicking on articles but the content that follows doesn’t offer value – it’s there purely just to get clicks.

If you adopt this tactic with your email marketing, you may very well experience some fantastic open rates at first but they’ll quickly plummet because your audience will stop trusting you.

Make it clear what your recipients will (honestly) gain from opening your email. Be clear and upfront because this will strengthen your relationship with customers. If your subject line always delivers on its promise, people will know to trust you.

Keep it short

Most emails are read on mobile devices which means you have less space to work with. With most mobile email clients, you only have about four or five words before your subject lines trails off so make sure you can intrigue your recipients in just a few words.

Make sure you don’t end up in spam

You may think that certain practices will help you stand out but they could in fact land you in the spam folder. Avoid:

  • Using all capitals
  • Exclamation marks
  • Overuse of currency signs such as £££££
  • Using too many emoji’s. When used correctly, they can be very effective in subject lines but improper use can be detrimental