9 Tips To Writing Great Subject Lines

Increase your email open ratesLike most people, one of my morning rituals is to open my smart phone and delete about one-half to two-thirds of the emails that are in my in-box.  Of the ones I keep, I’ll either read them right away or mark them as “unread” and keep them for later.

In fact, according to ConstantContact.com the average open rate for emails is anywhere from 16%-25%; which means that 75-84% of the emails you send are getting tossed in the trash bin. And that’s on a good day. (citation below)

9 tips to writing great subject lines.

1.  Know your reader.  Great subject lines and headlines are all about resonating with your prospect.  If you have a website called The Zen of Investing then you wouldn’t want a subject line that reads, “Winning at all costs.”

2.  Keep your subject lines short. About 35 characters or under 8 words. It is worth the challenge to find a way to convey the benefits of your email in clear and simple terms.

This is especially true if your average prospect is reading emails on their mobile devices.

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Most prospects won’t open the email to read the rest of the subject line. You want them to be so enthralled with the subject line that they read the email.

3. Reference current events in your subject lines.  One of the hallmarks of being a good writer is to read everything you can get your hands on, including current events.  Just make sure that your email copy ties in with your subject line.

4. Use “How to do ________in _______ easy steps.” You’ve seen this kind of subject line everywhere. Why? Because it is very effective.

Your prospects are busy and they want information fast, fast, fast.

By stating a number in the subject line it primes them to expect an article that is going to give them the information they need in a timely manner.

5. Resonate, resonate, resonate. This is so important that it needs to be restated.

One of the most successful email campaigns we wrote read, “If Oprah said it then it must be true.”

This email was sent to women who we knew were very likely to be fans of Oprah Winfrey and  as a result, we had a 43% open rate.  Again, be sure that your email copy ties in with your subject line otherwise your prospect will not trust you.

6. Don’t use all capitals in your subject line.  Using all caps is the equivalent of YELLING at your prospect.  The idea is to cultivate a relationship through thoughtful communication.  All caps also make the subject line difficult to read.

7. Create a sense of urgency.  Subject lines like “Last day to register,” or “Your coupon expires today” are very effective.

8. Use a question in the subject line.  Humans are very curious creatures and asking a question in the subject line will peak their curiosity.

Do you know who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world?” (Answer below).

9.  Let it rest.  One of my favorite writing tips is to let your writing rest for 2-24 hours.  What looks like a great headline at 2 PM on Monday will need some re-working by 2 PM on Tuesday.

Have I missed something? Let me know and leave a comment.

Answer: Gandhi

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