Best practices serve as examples — as recipes for success. What works well once can work well again. It’s repeatable. As we test what works, our hypothesis is confirmed by the number of successes. However, by its very nature, “best practices” can’t deliver one thing: new creative approaches.
Best practices may enable solid and systematic optimization — but innovations are less likely. You were thinking that when you added an emoji or two into the subject line of your last email, right?
What Is a Subject Line?
A subject line with any other name is as important.
So, what IS a subject line? You’ve probably never thought about that. It’s just a space to be filled to the best of our ability. Think about it for a moment please, because this is the most important part of your email. If your subject line doesn’t pop, then all your hard work is going into the spam bucket.
Let’s look at the definition from another perspective. The German translation of an email subject line is a “Betreffszeil.” Taken apart it has other meanings – those that are nearer what we need to think about. A “Treffer” is making a point. Scoring a goal. A “Treffen” is a meeting. Getting together. Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we’re cooking with gas!
Think outside of the box. Get creative. Get it together. Score a goal and make a point with your subject lines, ja? Gut.
Good Subject Lines Are Clever
Using subject line best practices drive up email open rates.
For recipients to open, read, and interact with your content, an engaging subject line is essential. We all want to avoid the risk of email recipients rashly unsubscribing or worse yet, marking our email as spam. So let’s think both creatively and effectively. Do you open a sales call with a flirty pickup line? Probably not. It’s neither professional nor very creative.
We receive over 100 emails every day at work — and most of them are marketing emails. Think back on the last marketing email that you opened. What enticed you to do so? The subject line may have been the clincher. Mailchimp conducted a study and found that short, descriptive subject lines fare better than cheesy lures.
“It is best to use no more than three punctuation marks per subject line. Too many punctuation marks can make your email look like spam, especially if you use a lot of special characters. Use emojis wisely :o)” Mailchimp.com
A Good Subject Line is Short.
If your email is not opened, it will not be read.
The subject line is the deciding factor in the recipient’s decision whether or not to open your email. The wording of the subject line has a great influence on the opening rate. Arouse curiosity and address the recipient’s problems or wishes so that they want to know more. All it takes is a little creativity.
Short, clearly-written wording is key to a good subject line. But size matters — at least in the subject line of your emails. Various studies show that the best opening rates for emails were those with a subject line containing six or seven words.
The most important message in the first words should appear in the subject line. Create a Call to Action! Solve problems. Raise expectations. Just ensure you fulfill them in the body of the email.
Are you on a first-name basis with your customers? While knowing the name of your recipient might be good for business, it increases opening rates by only 0.5%.
How about a thumbs up and a smiley? Well as corny as they may feel, opening rates are 3% higher in emails using emojis in the subject line than not.
The subject line is not the only decisive point for a successful email. It does however have a significant influence on the opening rate and provides the prerequisite for placing your message in front of your customer.
Test Your Subject Lines
Discover subject line best practices that work for you.
Being relevant, responsible, and respectful is a best practice whether you’re sending an email or giving a sales presentation. Every company has guidelines and learnings that fit their industry and their experience with customers. However, what works for McDonald’s does not necessarily work for Microsoft.
Don’t mimic what your competitors are doing – find the style that fits your brand’s voice. If you aren’t getting the opening rate you’d like, perhaps it’s time to get creative and kick it up a notch. Get innovative. Try something new. In the end, what matters is that your emails are opened by your customers. Ask yourself — what works best for them?
“B2B marketers should become better at creative communication just like their B2C counterparts. Communication using personalized messages that are friendly and compelling can appeal to individuals whether he or she is the gatekeeper, decision-maker or end-user.” MoneyControl.com
Good Subject Lines Save Time
Best practices mean better customer service.
Great subject lines aren’t just nice to have. Best practices are an important part of creating sustainable time management and customer service processes. How? Sustainability doesn’t just mean eco-friendly; it means saving everyone time. Your ability to maintain email opening rates at a consistently high rate saves more than time; it creates a sustainable environment of service. The less time your team spends on developing emails means more time you spend delivering wins for your customers.
“As email follows a rigorous, multi-stage process from brainstorming until it’s reviewed and accepted, the majority of brands spend multiple weeks on a single marketing email.” Kinsta.com
Are You Ready for Great Subject Lines?
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