The Art of Email Subject Lines: Avoiding DOA Status

Since the inception of the internet, email marketing has been one of the most important ways businesses can reach their customers and prospects. Even in the dawn of social media and other digital inbound efforts, email marketing still stands above the crowd. Why? There are several reasons.

1. ROI. Email is the clear winner against other inbound efforts because you don’t have to pay per click or purchase ad space. As long as you write an email subject line that attracts your readers, the content will take care of itself. This, of course, is why we’ll soon be providing you with helpful tips and tricks to make sure you enhance your open rate with outstanding must-read messages in the subject lines.

2. Number of Users. While the number of social media users increased by an astounding 320 million between September 2017 and October 2018 according to OptinMonster, the number of total email users is still higher than that of social media. As of stats posted by the company in July 2019, email rang in with 3.8 billion total users while social media lagged behind with 3.4 billion total users. With all else equal, this means email marketing gives you a greater pool of people to reach through your marketing efforts.

3. Traffic and Conversions. Email beats social media in this realm, too. Here are some quick facts to reinforce email’s competitive edge:

  • 60% more consumers sign up for email promotions than social media promos.
  • An average email open rate is 22.86% versus 0.58% engagement rate on social media.
  • More than 90% of people between 15 and 64 use email on a daily basis, compared to daily social media usage that ranges between 64% and 88% for the same age groups.
  • 58.0% of people check their email before anything else versus only 14.0% of people who head to social media first.

Source: OptinMonster

The Importance of a Great Email Subject Line

All of this information bodes well in favor of email marketing being worth your time and effort, but it doesn’t happen all by itself. It takes a bit of creativity to compose subject lines that jump out at your readers and make them actually want to open the emails you’re sending. After all, there are approximately 293 billion business emails being sent and received each day, with the average individual receiving almost 250 emails between their work and personal inboxes. That’s a lot of emails!

In order to be found in a sea of messages, you absolutely must concoct email subject lines that speak to your readers and grab their attention from the get-go. Without a great subject line, it doesn’t matter what kind of content is contained inside the email—it will be ignored. This misstep will render your emails dead on arrival.

With this in mind, let’s explore some tips that’ll help increase your email open rates.

How to Create an Awesome Email Subject Line

Now that you know the importance of email marketing, it’s time to learn how to create attention-grabbing email subject lines that turn everyday emails into must-read messages.

1. Create a Sense of Urgency
Okay, you shouldn’t really revert back to the old TV commercials that insisted people “Act now!” or “Make a purchase in the next five minutes!”, but the idea is still the same. You do, however, want to elicit the idea of scarcity or a limited time offer in your email subject lines. The point is to compel readers to click by utilizing strategic, creative words when you’re offering promos or can’t-miss specials. Of course, you need to use the sense-of-urgency strategy sparingly; otherwise, it’ll lose its appeal and you’ll become the brand that cried, “Wolf!”

2. Personalize Your Email Subject Lines
This point is two-fold. You can’t really personalize your email subject lines if you don’t have good data, so before you can talk directly to your customers and prospects, you need to put them into various buckets that will enable optimal personalization. Once you’ve segmented your lists, you can create attention-grabbing email subject lines that do everything from welcome new customers to wishing loyal patrons a happy birthday with a special gift enclosed in the email.

Name recognition is an important (and successful) way to grab readers’ attention and make them feel connected to your brand. Calling people by name in the subject line helps facilitate an emotional bond and makes your company more relatable to your reader.

3. Advertise Your Offers
If you received the email you’re about to send to your customers, what would make you click on it? Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Take a look at the emails you get from other companies. What worked? Which ones did you personally click on and why? Which ones did you completely ignore and delete?

Chances are, you opened the ones that told you there’s an offer waiting inside. The key here is to advertise the offer without giving too much away. You only have so much room to write your email subject lines (we recommend about 45 characters), so you need to create a bit of suspense without giving away the entire contents of the email.

4. Start with a Snippet of a Story
This is where true wordsmiths can really bring in a new level of clickability when they devise great email subject lines. In just a few characters, you can induce a feeling of intrigue that’ll make the reader need to learn the rest of the story. The story has to be relevant to your brand, so this may not be an option you can go with for every single email you send, but it’s a great teaser to put out there from time to time.

5. Run A/B Testing
How will you know if one email subject line is doing the best it can be? You pit it against your current “control” subject line. According to HubSpot, “Nearly half of marketers say they sometimes test alternate subject lines to optimize email performance.” In our opinion, this number should be much higher than 50%, but even this number does lend itself to the importance of A/B testing.

If you’re not sure how to get started with your email marketing campaign, The Weinstein Organization is here to help you. Our Creative Development team will work with you to understand your needs and goals. From there, we’ll design an email campaign that has your best interests in mind. Download our full list of capabilities today!