Email Marketing: Subject Line Tips

In recent months, I have noticed that businesses are trying to pack in as much as possible in one newsletter. This leads to an endless seeming mailer which is packed with different marketing messages, long subject lines and various small images. Therefore a simple marketing campaign becomes all of a sudden very complex and most of all confusing to the reader.

I am a great believer in the motto KISS: Keep It Short and Simple. After all, your subscribers will receive not only your mailer but eight, nine or even ten other messages from various companies within the same day. For a marketing message to be able to stand out, it needs to be precise, straight to the point and short. These are also the attributes that a subject line should have.

So what should you consider when you think of a sharp and convincing subject line. Here are 3 quick easy fixes to improve your subject lines.


1. Don't sell
First of all remember, a subject line is not there to sell your product but to inform the subscriber on what the mailer is about and to convince them to open the mailer based on the content provided. Therefore stay away from certain phrases and words. Free or Sale are words that will most likely get your mailer in the spam folder and if not that, will generate a very low open rate. Using words written in capital letters only will also not work in your favour and same goes for an over usage of exclamation marks.

2. Keep it short
Subject lines that are too long will be cut off by most of the inboxes such as gmail, hotmail and yahoo. On top of that, if the message is not straight to the point subscribers will most likely not open the mailer as the basic information has not been communicated well. To avoid this, try to keep the subject line to a maximum of 50 characters.

3. Create a new subject line for every mailer
Coming up with a new subject line is time consuming and involves a lot of testing. For me it's not a surprise that some businesses decide to hardly ever change the content used. However, by doing that they also face an ever decreasing open rate because subscribers are not encouraged to continue reading the messages prepared for them. It's essential to always come up with a new subject line. Vary the wording, use a question every once in a while to keep subscribers engaged, check what your competitors are sending out and try not to repeat their subject line. For example there is a tendency to use the following phrase: 'Beat the January Blues'. If several businesses are already using it, try to stay away from it.

There are of course more steps that can be taken to improve subject line performances such as using more proactive verbs and not always start with a noun but if the discussed three points are put into practise, your mailer performance will start improving.