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How to Crown your Email with the Perfect Subject Line

subject line

During a certain period of a marketer’s life, their subject line is more important than anything else in the universe, more important than pizza, more important  than a nap, even more important than their dog ( okay, maybe I went too far, BUT you get the point!! )

You know the feeling right? When you write the most beautiful email of you life, and you just need an equally beautiful subject line to click send, but you just can’t think of the perfect one.

SO frustrating, right?

Well, we know your struggle really well. And we’re here today to make your life a little bit easier.

So to begin, you should keep in mind that you’ll never get some sort of revelation and suddenly think of the perfect subject line. You’ll for sure be writing about 10 really good subject lines before picking the perfect one out of them.

You’d preferably want to put your computer/phone/tablet or whatever you’re usually using aside, and get a nice old fashioned little pen and a piece of paper to start drafting your subject lines.

When thinking about your subject line, never think as a seller or marketer, but rather as a potential recipient . ‘What would be the subject line that I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world?’  rather than ‘how can I make my recipient open my email?’

Ask the right questions, and you’ll definitely get the right answers!

So now you have your pen, your paper and your gorgeous email and you’re waiting for inspiration. The next step is conceptualizing or picturing your audience, and this is ladies and gentlemen is where you realize the importance of Email Segmentation. You can refer to our previous article on Email List segmentation to know more about this awesome strategy.

Think of you audience and try to sum it in 3 or 4 key words that would be useful to your subject line. Are your recipients females? between 22-30? Living in the Boston area? these examples of basic information can give you a starting point to your subject line. The most specific and personal your subject line the higher your open rate is! 

The ideal would be Using personalization tokens like the name of your recipients or their locations in each of  your emails subject lines to make your recipient relate more and identify with your email. Everyone loves it when they’re called by their name. The use of you or your is also encouraged.

Now you have more or less an idea of the tone you’ll be using in your subject line, “it will be like talking to a 23 yo girl from Boston” this is the kind of information you should be having at this point.

After this comes an even easier step. Your message! (duh) Why you’re sending this email? What more information does your recipient need to know today? How would you make your recipient’s day better with your email? What’s your added value? Make sure your subject line looks like the most important thing your audience would come across in the entire world web today.
They just can’t miss it!

Yet, never mislead your audience!

Never.

No lies. No fake promises.

No misleading subject lines!

Misleading subject lines irk you audience and make them trust you less and that eventually results in a lower open rate, and higher unsubscribe rate.

You can know more about your email metrics in our article 11 Email Marketing Metrics you Better Start Tracking Right Now

Drafting the message of your subject line is the most important step in the process, so you need to be smart, sweet and concise. Keep in mind that people usually quickly skim their inbox, so you want your words to be the right ones and to the point.

After this your subject line should start to take shape. You should have few potential subject lines but you’re still not satisfied. You still didn’t get the subject line of your dreams.

You have your keywords and your message in your subject line, but you don’t like the wording or how it resonates when you read it out loud ( yes you should always do that by the way). Our ultimate tip at this point is to think outside of the box (so lame advice, but trust us it’s the key) ! It’s a subject line not an academic paper’s title. So be creative! Be funny, be mysterious, be provocative! (Be whatever you want to be yes!)

And here you go, now you have at least 7 or 8 epic subject lines that compete to crown your email.

These steps might look so long and complicated, but in real life it might take you 10 minutes the first time, yet it will only take you 2 minutes the fifth time you do it. And the by the 10th time you won’t even realize you’re doing it.

In addition to our guide for writing your subject line, we suggest a list of  crucial tips that you should keep in mind while writing it:

  • Keep it short.

    Long subject lines usually get cut on mobile devices, and since more than half of emails are read on phones first you should be careful with your subject line’s length. Make sure your subject line never exceeds 50 characters. Here are some percentages of Subject line lengths and their corresponding open and click rates:

4–15 characters: 15.2% open; 3.1% click
– 16–27 characters: 11.6% open; 3.8% click
– 28–39 characters: 12.2% open; 4% click
– 40–50 characters: 11.9% open; 2.8% click

  • Make your recipient feel special.

    The psychology of exclusivity is a magical thing. People love it when they feel special and they even build a sense of loyalty and belonging, and which of course could work for your benefit. Use the right words and make your recipient feel special! A few ideas for phrasing your subject line include:

” Just for you !”
“For our favorite customers”
“My gift to you”
“Private invite”

  • Use numbers, percentages and ask Questions. 

    Data and numbers are a great way to make your email noticeable in an inbox, and they also trigger your audience curiosity to learn more. ANd questions trigger your recipient’s curiosity and makes them want to know more.

  • DON’T USE ALL CAPS OR OVERUSE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!

    You see how annoying it was to read this title all in uppercase, it feels like I’m shouting at you, right? Well, this is a crucial thing to remember, don’t shout at your recipients. More than that, an all caps lock subject line looks spammy and machine generated, and you don’t want that. You want your subject line to sound as human and personalised as possible. And this is also applicable for exclamation points!!!! Be careful, a bunch of exclamation marks in a subject line look spammy and robotic, and you want to avoid that!!!!

  • And finally,  A/B test you subject line.

    All of the previous tips are great tips to start investing more in your subject line for greater results. Yet, if you want a strategy specific to your campaign you should think about A/B testing campaigns. The test creates multiple version of your campaign to test what works best for your specific case. You can use MailChimp’s A/B Testing tool to make sure you are using the right subject line for your email, audience and campaign objective.

    The infographic below gathers some of the most best tips, advice and trends you can use for better results. It can work for you as a reference when writing your subject line.
    subject-line

    We would love to know if our tips worked for you, and what didn’t. Let us know in comments, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.