Subject line tweaks improve open rates“Never judge a book by its cover,” we’re told over and again.

Similarly, we’re always reminded of the mistakes that can be made by judging people on their appearance or opening gambit.

Yet, we all do it, don’t we? And nowhere is this more true than within the email inbox, where the subject line largely dictates whether or not we’ll open a particular mailing.

If your open rates are stagnating, the subject line is probably to blame. Here’s ten small, simple tweaks you can make today that will improve open rates:

1. Reduce the number of characters

You’ll hear differing opinions on this from marketers, but it’s generally accepted that email subject lines should be no longer than 40 characters.

2. Remove anything overtly ‘spammy’

These days, you can use words like ‘free’ in your subject line, but try and do so in context – don’t shoehorn in stuff like ‘buy now’ just to achieve opens.

3. Pose a question

Why do you want people to open your emails? Because you have an answer to a question – so, start by asking that question in the subject line; the right audience will spot it immediately.

4. Add some urgency with a deadline

We’re all pushed for time these days, and for something to catch our attention, it needs to elicit a sense of urgency. You can do that with an email subject line by adding a deadline; “hurry – ends July 24th!”, for example.

5. Tease them

Learn from Hollywood and tease your subscribers. Give them a snippet of something tantalising in the subject line – a hook that will spark their interest.

6. Include a call to action (CTA)

A CTA in an email subject line? Absolutely! If your email has a direct call to action immediately (such as encouraging people to book tickets for an event), you’ll tempt the right people to open it.

7. Make a big announcement

If your email is designed to launch a new product or service, make a big deal about it in the subject line. “We’ve created this just for you…” – that kind of thing.

8. Add some humour to your subject line

Trawling through your inbox is a fairly depressing affair, therefore when you come across an email that raises a smile or downright makes you laugh, you’re more inclined to open it. Add some humour to yours and monitor that open rate.

9. Try an emoji

According to Experian, 56% of brands that use emojis in their email subject lines enjoy higher unique open rates. With that in mind, why not add a thumbs-up or smiley to yours? Split test to see which emojis elicit the best response.

10. Unleash a fact

We all love a fact or two, which is why emails that feature percentages or “did you know” in the subject line are likely to garner higher open rates. Pick out something that you know will raise interest levels and unleash it on your subscribers.

Wrapping up those open rates

There’s an art to creating must-open email subject lines, but it’s something we’re all capable of – no matter our level of marketing experience.

As always with email marketing, it pays to experiment, and we’ve provided ten great ways to test different techniques for your upcoming campaigns. Have fun!

About 

Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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