If you’re like me, the pressure to choose the perfect opening line – in any situation – can be incredibly intimidating. In the case of marketing emails, recipients show no mercy; get that opener wrong and your message will be remorselessly tossed to Trash or flagged as spam.
Statistics from an infographic by Invesp highlights the importance of thoughtfully crafting these opening messages. Based solely on the subject line, 69% of email recipients will report email as spam, and 47% will choose whether or not to open emails. That’s a lot of pressure for a short string of text.
Magnetic sent more than 2.4 billion emails on behalf of our clients in 2016, so we have a bit of experience in this arena. Here are some of our favorite email subject line tips and tricks:
Keep it Brief
The purpose of a subject line is to make a long story short and captivating. However, much like stories that open with the phrase “to make a long story short,” subject lines often fail to succeed at their mission. Take, for example, an email I received earlier today:
Despite containing several of my favorite things (recipes for chocolate desserts and margaritas, primarily), the 104-character subject line did not compel me to read further.
Magnetic recommends subject lines no longer than 50 characters in length for the majority of our email marketing clients, a count which optimizes performance for increases in both open and click-thru rates.
Feeling Trendy? Tread Lightly
It’s tempting to adopt trendy tricks in email subject lines – token personalization, special characters and symbols, and emoji have all had their day in my inbox. But in addition to being prone to triggering spam filters as noted by Pardot, marketers must also consider how these characters render in various email clients and preview windows.
Here’s how the same subject line rendered in preview (as a somewhat-convincing rabbit/panda)-
Versus opened in a new screen (a familiar and frequently used emoji)-
According to Salesforce Marketing Cloud statistics, 2% of emails in 2015 contained emoji. While the results are inconclusive insofar as their relative goodness or badness, The Daily Egg recommends testing first with small groups and scaling as performance and deliverability metrics are received. 😅💁👰👯🐥🌰⏰♻🙌
Get Inside Their Heads
Consider your audience’s needs, interests, and how they use your products and/or services. Use that intel to frame questions or raise concerns that the body of your email will answer. These compelling subject lines will entice recipients to read more, resulting in more opens per send.
Hit Close to Home
Marketers seeking to guide audiences to physical locations as well as digital properties can and should consider using geolocation data to build subject lines that notify recipients of local sale events, new locations, new products and/or services, and more.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Although it seemingly goes without saying, it’s best to avoid: