This is the second part our 3 part series on subject lines. If you missed the first post, you can find it here – Subject Lines and the Importance of 87% and 150 Characters [Part 1].
There was a lot of data in that first post, but there was a reason for it. Understanding trends is essential for keeping up with the constantly changing email marketing environment. This post will not be nearly as data heavy – in fact, it will be actual examples of subject lines that work right now. Not in the past year or even 6 months ago, but right now.
The good news is that you only have to captivate your readers attention for a split second to get them to click to open your message. The bad news is that you only have a split second to do it. And when you’re aiming for 60 – 87% open rates, well that subject line better be a high performer.
Captivate your Subscribers
The definition of the word captivate is to hold the attention of by fascinating. The question you may be wondering is is that even possible in a subject line? It sure is.
In order to captivate your subscribers a few things must happen:
- They must be familiar with you, as the sender. A study by Constant Contact revealed that 64% of people open emails because of who the message is from. 64%! So it goes without saying, make sure your subscribers know who the messages will be coming from. Using your actual name or your company name every time will establish this familiarity early on.
“John Smith @ ABC Company”
- They need to be thanked. Thanking subscribers is an easy way to build up the trust factor. Plus, it’s not too often that people get thanked, just on a whim. Send a thank you for subscribing message with a free gift and make their day.
“Happy Friday! Here’s something to thank you for being my subscriber!”
- They should be addressed by name. Have you ever created a subject line using the recipient’s first name? If you haven’t, try it out. It can be a highly effective method for calling attention to your message. When it’s for something good, people liked to called out by name.
“Ann, here’s something I think you’ll like”
“John, this is a great exercise”
- One word on what not to do – don’t use excessive punctuation (!!!!), italics or yikes, ALL CAPS. These are fascinating, but not in a good way.
Motivate and Compel your Subscribers
Motivating someone to click on your link is another matter all together. If you’re on my email list, then you’ll recognize the motivators we discussed last week in the newsletter. While fear, anger and sadness are motivators – that’s not the emotions we want to elicit with our subject lines.
Instead, emotions like joy, trust and anticipation are not only happy emotions, but they develop your business and your brand as the one they are eager to hear from.
Motivating subject lines are those with the following characteristics:
- Sense of urgency – Is your message time-sensitive? Urgent messages are great motivators for openers. Try something like “This will only be around for 5 more days” or “Will you join us on <date>?”
- Money, as in currency symbols – Currency is one the greatest motivators. Many times, subscribers won’t even read the message; their eyes just float right to the dollar signs. “Save $540 at the grocery store – read on for details”
- Call to action – A call to action in a subject line? Yes, in fact, a call to action is what a subject line is all about. Check out “2 days to register for our upcoming webinar” The word “register” is the trigger word here to get readers to read and register.
- Being in-the-know. Nobody wants to feel left out, of anything – current events, parties, you name it. Referring to something occurring right now motivates readers to “join the party.” “This is the latest news in the world of email marketing” or “I never thought this would happen.”
- Positive and happy things. Since joy is one of the positive emotions emails should elicit, offering something happy is a strong motivator for a click. Try pulling three things out of your message that you can use – ““Exercise, health and happiness” or “Colors, emotions and clicks”
Which Comes First the Subject Line or the Body?
How many times do you think of a great blog or article topic and start writing. You get finished and then you sit wondering and thinking about a title. Or have you ever come up with a great title and then wrote something to fit in with that title? Sometimes the title is the hardest part, but sometimes it’s the easiest.
The same principle applies to deciding on a subject line.
While there are some very effective subject lines that can be used no matter what the message content – like “Link fixed,” (hint: that’s one the highest clicked subject lines!) most of the time your subject line depends on your message.
Even more important than when you write the subject line is making sure it is applicable to the message you are sending out. Because as creative as subject lines can get, they are worthless if they aren’t applicable.
Also Important for Subject Lines…
Test, test, test. This will be covered more in the next post, but testing every subject line is important for determining what works for your audience and what doesn’t.
And if you send out an email that doesn’t get the response you were hoping for, don’t stop there. Just cross that one off and try again.
One final thought, if you find a subject line that gets a good response rate, add it into your autoresponder as a follow-up sequence. That way you can use it again and again as new subscribers are added to your list.