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At 61%, email marketing remains the top target for increased investment for content marketers in 2015, making it a key component in your overarching content strategy. Some of the most successful examples in email marketing share a few things in common: surprising content that engages consumers, responsive design that works across multiple screens and, of course, copy that works a little harder. 64% of people say they’ll open a marketing email because of the subject line. So let’s look at some easy techniques to craft the kind of subject lines that increase open rates and help drive better results for your content marketing.

  1. Get personal. Did you know that personalized emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%? Pretty impressive. But personalization shouldn’t be as basic as just including a user’s name in the subject line. Think about addressing where they are in the sales process or what your last interaction was to find additional opportunities for custom messaging.
  2. Go beyond the subject line. While not every email client/ ISP utilizes preview text, the most popular ones (Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo) will give anywhere from a few words to three full lines of preview text. Here’s your chance to pair a clever subject with equally colorful copy that can hint at what readers will get when they open your content or even provide a strong call to action.
  3. A/B test to see what works. Sometimes, a really creative, curious subject line such as “Do not open this email” may work with one audience but fall flat on another. Run riskier alternatives with safer options to not jeopardize open rates for your entire list and translate those learnings in to your next campaign.
  4. Embrace the listicle. As Buzzfeed has proven, numbered lists are an easy way to capture readers’ attention and give them easily digestible information, giving them the chance to make a choice about whether or not content is valuable before even opening an email.
  5. Keep it short (and simple). With 62% of emails being opened in mobile phones, it’s important to consider mobile users’ experience when crafting the perfect headline. iPhones will cut off an email subject line after 32 characters, so brevity is key.

Knowing that mail conversion rates are 40x that of Facebook and Twitter, email is a measurable tactic in your content marketing strategy that can deliver results in an often hard-to-measure landscape. Integrating a few simple tips to help get readers past that all-important first step of opening your email can help make it a secret weapon in your content plan.