Before you click send on your next email marketing campaign, be sure you keep these best practices for email subject lines in mind.
Don’t Deceive Your Subscribers
Using mystery and being vague to encourage your recipients to open your email is generally fine, and can work very well… but deliberately lying to get an open is not a good idea. Not only can it anger your list and potentially cause people to unsubscribe, it might also be illegal (note: I’m not a lawyer). If your headline is about something totally different that doesn’t relate to the email body, it’s probably a good idea to make some adjustments.
Don’t Use ALL CAPS
This one should be fairly common sense, but I see it all the time. If you’re on enough mailing lists, you’ve probably seen a fair share of emails that are either all caps, or very caps heavy at the very least. ALL CAPS IS THE DIGITAL EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING AT SOMEONE. It can be a real turn off, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to get people to read your message. Here’s a great article about why all caps is usually a bad idea.
Use Personalization, but Don’t Overdo it
If you collect first names & last names when you request a visitor’s email address, you can inject their name into the email subject line. This can work great, but if you start every email with “Name, [this is the rest of the headline],” it can get kind of old and weakens the potency of personalizing the emails. They get it, you have their name. Save the personalization for when it’s most likely to be effective.
Keep Your Email Subject Lines Short & Sweet
There’s no reason to cram too much information into an email subject line. Your goal is to get them interested enough to open your email and read more.
Be Sure to Split Test
Try sending out emails to different segments of your list with different headlines. You may be surprised at what types of headlines work best with your audience, and it could be the difference between a 5% open rate and a 20%+ open rate. If you don’t experiment, you’ll never know. Most good email marketing platforms offer this feature, so be sure to utilize it or you’re missing out.
Don’t Hammer Your Readers
Take the time to set up your email marketing platform so that you can effectively segment your mailing list based on their interests and engagement. If you offer more than one type of service, there’s a good chance that some people will only be interested in emails about a specific service or product you offer, while others may be interested in a totally different product/service.
There are a number of ways to segment your list: tracking which people open emails about a specific topic (which comes back to testing your email subject lines), tracking which subscribers click particular links, subscribers who have already purchased vs. those who have not, etc. Don’t treat everyone on your list the same, because they won’t all respond to the same information and offers.
Sending the same email out more than once (within reason) is usually fine and can be effective, but be sure you don’t continue sending the same email to those who have already opened or interacted with that particular email. It can be annoying, and you don’t want to annoy your list. This also gives you a chance to rephrase your email subject lines to see if users who didn’t interact the first time may be interested if the subject line is worded differently.
Check out this post if you’re looking for email subject line templates & ideas.