When writing an email, it’s important to have a strong subject line that gets the recipient’s attention. As the first line of contact with your reader, it may or may not encourage them to open the email.
There are generally 7 components to an effective subject line:
1. Self-Interest – This category of subject lines are considered essential in your arsenal of topics as they inspire your audience to find out more about the benefits.
2. Curiosity – Curiosity-based subjects pique the interest of readers, without giving away too much information. The intent is to encourage readers to open the email.
3. Offer – Everyone likes free stuff and buying things on sale. When you are giving or selling something of interest, stating that in your subject field can entice to find out more.
4. Urgency & Scarcity – This is the most powerful type of subject line you have at your disposal to motivate readers to act. Use these sparingly and when there actually is a deadline, limited quantity or limited availability.
5. Humanity – Share stories and information about the people behind your products, your culture and community involvement. Thank your subscribers and be appropriately personal to get their interest.
6. News – Keeping your audience informed about new developments in your field builds authority. These subject lines often work well when combined with a curiosity element.
7. Social Proof – A fundamental characteristic of humans is that we often consider the behavior of others when making decisions. Leverage this in your subject lines by highlighting success stories, familiar names, or use percentages about products use and services.
Examples of great subject lines & why they worked:
“How to keep up with digital marketing…”
Open Rate: 15.80%
Analysis: The use of “How to” in subject lines establishes authority, and draws readers in. In this instance, digital marketing is something that seems like it changes every day. Implying that industry changes can be daunting, the content, as a solution, will be valuable.
“Why my first business failed”
Open Rate: 15.92%
Analysis: While maintaining curiosity, this subject line provides authority and experience, tells a personal story and provides valuable information for the reader.
“Something BIG is coming”
Open Rate: 16.08%
Analysis: We all love a good teaser. In this example, the tease is on full display. You want to grab the reader’s attention, AND get them interested in following your message.
“Holy crap… 21,601?!?!”
Open Rate: 17.35%
Analysis: There are a couple of wins in this example. Namely, profanity is like salt: using just the right amount can be a great thing, but too much will ruin the experience. Also, using a number in your subject lines has proven to increase open rates, initiating curiosity is strong in this case.
“80% off gone in 3…2…1…”
Open Rate: 22.54%
Analysis: There’s no better way to stir someone to action than telling them they’ll miss out on something great if they don’t. This particular email was a “closer” after a week-long promotion designed to reach folks who may have missed the earlier emails.
Open Rate: 25.12%
Analysis: The ultimate goal of a subject line is to get the recipient to open the email. With a simple, 3-letter question this subject line is able to stand out in the inbox among the generic, longer subject lines.
“ FINAL Chance for free access!”
Open Rate: 34.53%
Analysis: Combine scarcity, select upper case letters, a visually powerful emoji, and the promise of free access to core products, and you have a recipe for the highest open rate results in the research window.
Study and track your analytics. Even with lower open rates, your emails continue to connect with your recipients. They are interested in your content generally speaking if they haven’t unsubscribed. Learn what your community responds to as far as content goes and continue to be an authority and provider of great products and services.
*Excerpts from digitalmarketer.com