Writing Catchy Subject Lines [that People Actually Click] is not Rocket Science!

Is it easy to keep all of your recipients equally engaged? Not really, but you can definitely win this battle.

Believe it or not, people do judge emails by their subjects. So the first step into getting recipients to read your emails is convincing them to open it. If you gain their confidence with a simple and catchy subject, you’re half way there!

According to studies, 33% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone. This makes your email subject the most important factor to determine whether your email is open, read, and therefore effective.

Feeling pressure? No need. Let’s see a few techniques to adopt when writing email subjects that drive the reader to keep engaged and eager to connect to the rest of the content.

1. Make your subject short… and sweet.

Imagine reading a very long subject line on your mobile device. Not very practical, right? Research show that 40% of emails are opened on mobile first, so this is why it is highly recommended that subject lines have no more than 50 – 55 characters. This is one of the safest ways to make sure your subject lines are fully read and people don’t get lost while reading it.

Alright, all this sounds do-able, but what to do when you cannot keep your subjects exactly short, as there is too much info you would like to share? If this struggle sounds familiar to you, one thing you can do is think what words matter less and what details you can remove.

2. Use a familiar sender name.

“If the from name doesn’t sound like it’s from someone you want to hear from, it doesn’t matter what the subject line is,” explains Copy Hacker’s Joanna Wiebe.

People get too many spam emails these days, so they won’t open your email if it is no different than the others. In order to get your recipients to read your emails, they have to sound familiar right from the start.

Experts highly recommend we don’t sound like marketers in the inbox, but rather we should sound like someone that our recipients know and like. Your first connection with your subscribers should be built at the very moment they read the sender name of your email.

3. Do not reveal too much in your subjects, but give an idea of what’s inside.

When writing short but precise subject lines (as we know by now are the most efficient ones), we ought to be selective with the words, while sending the proper, truthful message.

The most important thing to remember here is that you should use concise language and create, in just a few words, the big picture of what can be found inside your email.

The content of your subject is making a promise about the message you are delivering through your email. You should not try to get your email opened by making false promises. Yes, you will get that particular email opened, but once they figure it out, there is no way you will win the trust of your subscribers, so on long term this will result in lower open rate and a higher unsubscribe rate.

4. Start you subject line with action-oriented verbs and create a sense of urgency.

Subject lines and calls-to-action are not that different. In fact, they should be pretty similar in language and tone. Both of them should inspire people to click and encourage them to see what’s next. Subject lines beginning with action verbs are likely to be more inviting and your emails may become highly more clickable.

What is the logical explanation behind this technique? Well, it is well-known that actionable verbs install urgency and excitement, so this will directly reflect in your subject lines. For example, in an email inviting people to try an offer for a specific product, the email subject line might read: “Try our [product name] recommendations, right at your fingertips”, rather than a more generic: “[product name] recommendations, right at your fingertips“. The former email uses the verb “Try” to help the reader visualize themselves trying out the offer.

Subject lines that create a sense of urgency and exclusivity can give a 22% higher open rate. Deadlines such as “today only” or “24-hour giveaway” will encourage your reader to act instantly and not put it off until later, when they might forget about it.

5. Make them feel special and unique.

The psychology of exclusivity is a truly powerful thing and it is really important that marketers benefit out of it. When people get the sense of belonging and more importantly, when they feel that a service is delivered especially for them, a connection based on loyalty is created. This will compel them to convert better on your emails.

The right phrasing is prone to make your recipients feel really special. Check out a few examples that may be helpful in making your subscribers feel unique: “Our reward to you”, “An exclusive recommendation for you”, “You’re invited”, “Special proposal”.

6. Intrigue them. Pose a compelling question

Questions are naturally followed by answers. So asking a question in your subject lines can get your readers to open your emails, especially if you are asking a question that is relevant to your recipient. For example, you might try the following: “Don’t have [product name] yet?” or “Would you like to motivate your employees?”

By minding the curiosity gap (the space between what you know and what you need to know), you will drive the reader to keep hanging on to connect the dots. This powerful technique may significantly increase your email open rates.

7. A/B Test your subjects.

These best practices may be a great place to start, but it is pretty common that what works best for some companies or under particular circumstances, might not work as well for others. The most important thing is figuring out what works best in your case. That’s where A/B testing comes in.

Although you may be tempted to base your subject lines language on your intuition, you should constantly be A/B testing your subjects and adjust wording according to results. You should be asking yourself questions such as: “What works best for my audience? Long or subject lines? Simple or detailed phrasing? Questions or statements?”

The main idea of A/B testing is to create two versions of the same element, by changing only one containing variable, according to the following idea:

2 300x113 - Writing Catchy Subject Lines [that People Actually Click] is not Rocket Science!

Image Credit: ConversionXL

Your Control will be the unaltered version of whatever you are testing and the Challenger will be the version containing the variation built to be tested against your control.

The bottom line is that if your emails don’t get opened, they don’t get seen. You might have awesome content inside, but in order to share it, you just have to prove it in your subject line.

All these techniques, along with constant A/B testing of your subject lines will definitely improve your open rates and keep your subscribers engaged and loyal to the content you are sharing in your emails. We invite you to stay tuned for even more best-practices that marketers should benefit from!
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