5 ways to write effective email subject lines

Why is an email subject line important? Because first impression matters ….and because most of us get anywhere between 20 -100 emails a day – on a good day! So it is not surprising that several of these emails go unopened. As marketers who run email campaigns for a variety of reasons,  be it to bring in traffic, build customer relationships or keep customers in the loop, we find that there are some simple and easy ways to ensure that your email stands out in the plethora of emails crowding the inbox everyday and  clamoring for attention.

This is where the subject line becomes critical. It could mean the difference between your email being read or junked. It is important that the subject line attracts enough attention to get the user to open it – as a first step. Here are 5 simple ways you can make your email subject line stronger:

  1. Make it a list – like I did with the title of this article. When you say 10 tips to writing better white papers or 8 ways to improve your internal communication or 7 top reasons for using email marketing, you are letting the reader know that the information in the email is going to be organized in the form of a list. And who doesn’t like lists right? In this day and age when we are bombarded with information, anything that is organized as a list makes for quick reading and assimilation.
  2. Be sure to tell readers what is in the email: Telling readers what is covered in the email for e.g., ‘10% off our marketing services – coupon inside!’ attracts immediate attention and likely action. Taking care to align the subject line to the target audience is also important as it sets the right expectation up front and helps build a relationship.
  3. ‘Short is sweet’ when it comes to the length of the subject line: This is a no brainer. Brevity is good both in terms of maintaining reader attention and also ensuring that the subject line does not get truncated by some email clients.
  4. Asking a question helps create a hook: When you include a question in your subject line like, ‘Is your diet not working? 6 ways you can get in shape’, you are making the reader think and connect with your marketing effort and they might identify themselves with the need you are trying to highlight. If you are successful in this, then you have created a hook!
  5. Highlight what other people are doing or what is trending:  It is natural for people to be curious about what their peers are doing so they don’t miss out on the trends. Saying something like ‘Fashion Alert: Trending brands of the season’, and this will likely grab immediate attention and result in the action you are looking for.
    Do you have any other ideas on how to create a strong email subject line? Send in your comments, we’d love to hear them.
About the Author

Founded in 2008, CMO Axis is a global pioneer in Sales and Marketing Process Outsourcing with a vision to deliver transformational business and operational advantages to global organizations and marketing teams through a combination of strategic advisory, shared services delivery and business-results focused outsourcing.

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