The Definitive Guide to Writing Winning Email Subject Lines

Not a lot of people understand the powerful impact of a good, well-framed subject line. Yes, a subject line that most people don't pay much attention to holds a lot of value. Research has proved that open email rates depend only on effective subject lines. From transactional emails, e-commerce, sales, and job-seeking mails, an email's subject line holds utmost importance in every industry.

Table of contents

Why do you need to pay attention to your email subject lines?

Email marketing plays

a vital role in generating ROI and building a loyal customer base in digital marketing. The very fact that email marketing helps in acquiring customers makes it an integral part of a digital marketing campaign. But putting together good email copy, taglines, call-to-actions, and images in an email campaign isn't enough. Research has proved that a good and well thought out yet short and to the point subject line for introduction emails increases the open rates and helps boost your email campaign ROI.

Good vs. bad subject line

Usually, when marketers craft an email, they focus on the email body, mostly the copy and images. Then just before sending the email, they write an impromptu subject line and hit send. Such subject lines will not impact the mind of the audience and thus less open rates. That's why a well-framed subject line is said to have more impact than a business email with a good copy but lousy subject line.

A good subject line can help you increase your email open rates and the ROI, whereas a bad subject line can not only decrease your email open rate but may also end up in the spam folder. An impromptu email subject line also leads to loss of brand authenticity and customer faith.

Now that you know the importance and vitality of a good subject line, here are few best practices for writing effective email subject lines.

What are the best practices for writing effective email subject lines

1. Focus on the usage of the character

A lengthy subject line will be hidden on mobile devices, so you won't be able to read more than six words on your mobile device. This impacts the email open rates. Thus, keeping the subject line short and crispy increases the email opens chances of up to 33%.

Research has shown that many of us open emails on our mobile devices rather than desktops. It was also analyzed that most people open emails with subject lines ranging between 6-10 words. Although it is advisable to keep your subject lines between 6-10 words or less than 90 characters, you shouldn't restrict yourself to numbers while framing the email, and the value of the words matters more than the number of words used.

2. Add a personal touch

Adding a personal touch to everything gives it a unique advantage, and the same goes for subject lines. In email marketing, adding the recipient's name in the subject line or adding subject line emojis gives a personal touch to the email campaign itself. This gives your customers the notion that you care for them. Birthday and special occasion subject lines with a unique customer-centric touch work wonders.

3. Be specific with your words

Word restrictions won't allow you to have an elaborate approach. By the word 'specific,' we don't mean word count restrictions; instead, you should be specific about your message and the words to be used while conveying that message to your audience. Your usage of specific words will make you stand out from your competitors. Choose your words wisely. If you could speak your customer's language in the subject line, it is a plus.

4. Urgent and appealing tone

Before writing a subject line, always make sure to write a maximum of 4-5 variations before finalizing on the perfect subject line.

  • Using urgency as a cognitive bias while selling or conveying your message has always worked in the marketing world.

  • Using words that indicate urgency in your subject line increases the open rate.

  • Using words like "hurry up," "time is running," "discount is getting over" induces urgency in the minds of the readers, thus increasing the click rates.

5. Add a call-to-action

Include a call-to-action in your subject line if the need persists. This will give your recipients a fair insight into the content in your email before they decide on opening it or not. "Click to avail our latest offer just for the existing customers" is a simple call-to-action subject line example. Always make sure not to use the "no-reply" word in your subject line business email.

6. Test your subject lines

Running A/B testing is a must before sending out any email campaign. It is always recommended to test your subject lines to zero down on that one effective subject line for your campaign. It will give you an insight into your recipients' preferences, which will boost your campaign reach.

How to write a winning email subject line?

A good subject line may not always be successful. But you should always follow the tips mentioned above while writing a subject line and keep in mind other additional factors like emotional level, words used, etc., to win with your subject lines.

1. Use emotion-inducing words

Maintain an emotional wavelength with your recipients through your words. Try to touch the emotions of your recipients. Remember, your customers should connect with your brand and products emotionally.

2. Use numbers in the subject line

Try to use numbers in the subject line that better suits your message and copy of the email. Numbers have more impact than just words in attracting your audience. Adding numbers and statistics in your subject line will grab your recipients' eyes, thus increasing the email open rates.

3. Use question words

Question words induce curiosity in the minds of the readers. Using question words like "what," "do you know" in your subject line increases the email's open rates. Zillow's email subject line that goes like "What can you afford?" is the best example of a question word subject line.

Imagine you see this in your inbox sent by a real estate organization showing you apartments for rent. It's both provoking and encouraging and competitive — putting your cash against what the market offers. This is how question words need to be framed in the subject line to stimulate your recipients' curiosity.

4. Finding the right time

Time is money. Make sure to send your emails at the right time to the right set of audiences so that they see the email during their active hours.

5. Avoid false promises

Your email subject line acts as a promise for something better inside the email. Making false promises in the subject line and not delivering them in the email body will tarnish your brand credibility and result in customer churn or decrease brand loyalty. People may even unsubscribe from your emails if this continues.

Wrapping up

If you want to stand out in the race and increase your open rates, focusing on your email subject line is necessary. The next time you start writing your subject line, make sure to keep these tips and tricks in your mind to convert worthy subject lines for your email campaign.

Customer-centric marketing ensures a loyal customer base and good ROI. Email Marketing is amongst the limited marketing channels that can be completely personalized. So, use your subject lines wisely as they can make or break your business.

Have other tips to add? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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