Getting the subject line right in your email campaigns

There’s a lot to consider when you’re planning a subject line for your marketing campaigns.  They convey important information that helps the recipient to decide whether or not to open your email.  They can support or damage your brand image and its vital to test different subject lines to ensure the one you use for your mailing is proven to be the most appealing to your target audience.

Here are some tips to help you get it right:

  1. Consider using a product, sub-brand or newsletter name that people could recognise early in the subject line.
  2. Whatever the length of your subject line, make sure you include key information within the first 40 – 50 characters.
  3. Be creative and use personality and humour when appropriate, as long as its consistent with your brand.
  4. Don’t try to trick or mislead your recipient.  If you over-promise you will destroy trust and ensure your future emails go unopened.
  5. Get the primary offer of the message across as specifically as possible.  For example – Today’s deal of the day could be expanded for relevance.
  6. Create urgency – give dates and deadlines to motivate people to take action.
  7. Personalise where you can with targeted content based on preferences.
  8. Avoid generic subject lines – they are boring – for example “from the desk of…”.
  9. Generally avoid capital letters and punctuation as they increase the chances of your email getting flagged as spam.
  10. Test your subject line.  Then test again.  And again.  That way the one you send out has been proven to achieve better results.
  11. Be timely and topical.  Use the current news if it helps to get a message across but be careful not to offend anyone.
  12. Use conversion rate to measure your subject line success.  Not just in terms of opening but in terms of the recipient taking your intended action.
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