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9 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Subject Lines

By Alex Gaggioli, September 19, 2017

With email, all the details matter. And it all starts with the subject line. Your subject line heavily influences your open rate and there are several factors you should look into when brainstorming your next award-winning email. Here are some of the best tips we’ve come up with based on our experience.

 

1. Size (Might) Matter

When analyzing data on subject line length, many best practices cite 30-40 characters as being ideal. When you take into account several different factors, like mobile devices or phone type, more or fewer characters may appear. But, when you create subject lines that are exactly the same length as everyone else, you might get lost in the shuffle.

With anything related to email and marketing, testing is essential. Really short or lengthy subject lines could help increase your open rates and other key metrics, according to Emma. If you’re someone who uses email regularly, you know what it’s like to login and see hundreds of unopened emails – so you start to scan. Set your emails apart by changing up the subject line that appears in people’s inboxes.

 

2. Keep it Relevant and Always Add Value

An email subject should your customers a taste of what’s inside without being too vague. Your goal is to provide context right off the bat and not make the recipient guess what’s inside. You want to pique their interest.

Avoid vague (and boring!) subject lines: “Shady Acres Hotel’s September Newsletter”

Add context and relevant information: “6 hikes you have to explore this month + other stories from Shady Acres”

The second example gives a taste of what content is inside the email with a specific message. Unless your newsletters are infamous for their amazing content, a simple subject line might convince people to open it. You want to provide just enough clickbait to get them excited without misleading them.

 

3. Don’t be Overly Promotional

Emails are great to let people know about upcoming deals and promotions. But, you should give your email subscribers more than a simple promos push. Often, promotional subject lines like “15% for weekend stays booked today” give away the entire content of the email. If an email recipient feels like they know what’s inside the email, they are less likely to open it.

Instead, try something like “The best weekend getaway spots + a killer limited-time deal” will entice someone to actually open the email.

 

4. Make it Time Sensitive

Creating a sense of urgency will push people to open your emails immediately. Giving people a reason to take action right now will entice them to open up and interact with your email. Often when we see an inbox full of unopened emails, we lie to ourselves and say we’ll return to them later. Two types of emotions drive human behavior, urgency, and scarcity. Use both to your advantage.

Example of an email that prompts urgency: “Our Two-Day Sale starts now! When it’s gone, it’s gone for good!”

Example of an email that promotes scarcity: “We’re giving away a free night to the first 3 people who book today.”

 

5. Jump, Leap, Explore – Use Actionable Verbs

In the same way we think about creating good headlines or social media posts, your email subject lines should convince people to take some sort of action. When writing a subject line try to make whatever noun (person, place or thing) into an action the recipient can see themselves doing.

Avoid using subject lines that don’t prompt action: “Fall Deals at Shady Acres.”

Instead, use actionable verbs:  “Experience the change of the season at Shady Acres.”

 

6. Instill a Sense of Wanderlust and Curiosity

As a business in the travel industry, you have the opportunity to invoke emotions that many businesses cannot. Wanderlust and travel are more trendy than ever, and building a relationship with your guest should be built with those emotions in mind. Use subject lines that allow potential guests to see themselves at your property and build a powerful vision.

For example: “You + the beach + our hammock = perfect” or “Red, Yellow, Green, Orange – Watch the season change with us.”

 

7. Check the Details

When you send an email, you can control the preview text that appears below the subject line. This preview text appears on mobile push notifications and in inboxes. It is another opportunity to convince someone to open an email. Neglecting the preview text can also end in awkward mistakes. If you don’t insert preview text, your email builder will automatically fill it in, and it may not put your best foot forward.

Before you send out an email, use a service like Litmus or send yourself a test to make sure everything looks squared away. Litmus allows you to preview how your email will appear in different email clients as well as mobile, tablet, and desktop.

 

8. Know Your Clients and Your Brand

Best practices and tips are great, but depending on who you are and who your customers are, you may very well want to break the rules. The best way to find out what works for your business is to test. Some companies, like Chubbies, fly off the handle and do whatever they want, but it works for them. Use short and long subject lines, questions, numbers, action verbs, emojis and anything else you can think of to test with your audience.

 

9. Always Be Willing to Change and Evolve

Email trends and communication styles change over time. Follow best practices, but be willing to break the mold and try something new and different. Always test, never knock something before trying it, create a process for testing out new subject lines and preview text, then benchmark it.

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