You probably know that your email marketing is one of your most essential channels of communication with your audience. But what good is a well-written email that’s delivering the right messaging to your audience and promoting your products, offerings or services in an engaging way, etc. — if it never gets read? That’s why the email subject line is arguably one of the most important elements of your email, and can literally make or break your email, either getting lost in a sea of digital noise or rising to the top of the pack, catching the eyes of your audience and serving you effectively.
So, how do you write an email subject line that will stand out from the competition and your audience’s inbox, capturing their interest and ensuring that it gets read? Today, we will tackle this very question offering our best tips to writing smart and savvy, compelling and engaging email subject lines that will help your emails actually get open and read.
What’s a Headline?
Before we talk about tips for writing email subject lines, we need to first understand the role of a headline in general. A headline, yes is a title, but serves a very important purpose in any of your copy and is strategically written in a way that will motivate your audience to read and engage with your content. Headlines are used in a variety of copy and content writing marketing materials such as ads, sales copy, videos, and of course, your emails as well.
You should never underestimate or overlook the importance of your email headline. Remember that your headline is the first thing that a potential customer will read in your copy, and it can either compel your customer to continue reading or, if they are not moved by the headline, they may decide to disengage and leave your content or site, entirely. Your headline needs to communicate a sense of value to your audience, clearly presenting what your audience can expect from that piece of content, what they will benefit or take away from reading it, as well as help cultivate trust with your audience.
And the same goes for your email headline. After all, again you only have a few seconds as well as a few short words to make a killer first impression on your audience, and choosing the right words for your email headline that will best serve you is not an easy task. However, if you can hone in on the right strategies to write effective email subject lines that will work for your company and make the right impression on your audience, you can set your email marketing operation for success.
Ok, so let’s dive into some of our favorite tips for writing strong and effective email subject lines.
1. Specificity is Key
Again, the email subject line is the first thing a prospect will land their eyes on before they decide to open or not open your email. It is therefore, in your interest to be as specific as possible in your headline to clearly convey to your audience what they can expect to read and get from your email. In order to achieve this, you need to be extremely clear on the purpose or the core marketing objective of the email, as well as the main theme or subject of its content.
Is your email a ‘welcome email’ and is therefore, one of the first pieces of content your subscribers will see? Or is it a ‘thank you email’, acknowledging your customers and thanking them for making a purchase? Maybe, it’s promoting a specific event that will be happening soon, such as a sale and you want to communicate to your customers that there is a discount they need to act on fast to take advantage of it. Zeroing in on this core information that will be expressed in the email and therefore, you will need to clue your audience in on from the get-go in your subject line, is key to writing an effective email subject line.
2. Speak in Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice, one of the most vital aspects of your brand identity, is integral to creating content that will specifically resonate with your audience, while communicating exactly who you are and distinguishing your band from your competitors. What’s one way of helping your email to get lost in a sea of other emails in the inbox and encouraging your readers to skip past yours? Sounding exactly like everyone else!
In order to not sound like every other company, you need to have a deep understanding of what makes your company special and different from your competition. What makes your company your company? What are a few words that immediately come to mind to describe your company and its mission? What are your values, your ethos, the philosophy at the core of the soul of your company? Once you know these answers to these questions, you know your brand voice and it is now your job to make sure that voice is consistent throughout all your pieces of copy and content, including your emails and their subject lines.
Get extremely familiar with your company’s brand voice and the tone of voice you would speak in that will strike a chord with your audience. Think about the vernacular your audience themselves speak in. Consider the type of company you are as well as the type of audience you are targeting. For instance, marketing emails and their respective subject lines coming from a consumer brand will be very different from that of a B2B company. Are there certain words you can use that your audience themselves commonly speak, and therefore, would be more likely to be attracted to a subject line with those types of words? When you engage with your customers, whether in response to a comment on a social post, on the phone, etc., take notice of the words they use and then implement them into your brand voice as well as the voice you use to write your email subject lines.
3. Create Urgency to Drive Action
Ever heard of FOMO? FOMO which stands for ‘fear of missing out’ is a real thing. And the truth is people don’t want to miss out on things that they feel will be of great value to them. So, tap into your audience’s FOMO to create urgency that will motivate them to act now rather than later and therefore, not potentially miss out on your awesome email and all that it offers. Think of it this way. You know what your email is promoting, of course and the value that it will bring to your audience if they open it, read it and act on it fast. So, think about how you can communicate that value to your audience that they will benefit from if and only if they act urgently.
Consider email subject lines like “Last chance for 25% on…!” “Don’t Miss Out on 50% Off..” “Clearance Ends Soon…” They all communicate a sense of scarcity that a particular sales event will be ending soon and their audience needs to take advantage of the discounts fast before they are over.
The key to creating urgency through your email subject lines is to speak in a way that is true to who you are (again, your company’s unique and special brand voice) and try to be as creative and original as you can. Only use this tactic when you actually are promoting something that has a limited window of time in which your audience can take action. Otherwise, you could lose the trust of your audience and they will be less likely to read your next email.
A note on trust:
If your audience gets the sense that you’re not being authentic to who you are, they may lose your trust. They could read through your email subject line and down your email will go down to the bottom of the pack, or away they will ‘bounce’ from your content and site. Remember, building trust with your audience is essential and again, you are able to build those relationships, and cultivate trust with your audience by consistently offering them value.
4) Curiosity May Not Be Good for Cats…But It Will Get Your Email Read
Play into your audience’s sense of curiosity and evoke a little mystery in your emails. Your email subject line is the perfect place to ask a thought-provoking question or make a statement (again, that is true to your brand identity and voice) that is attention-getting, surprising or maybe, even a little unusual. You want your email subject line to spark interest, after all. What better way than tapping into your audience’s curiosity and making your audience feel as if you have something new to offer them they have never seen or heard of before?
Think of email subject lines like: “ The Top 10 Deals You Should Buy” Or “Top Tips and Tricks You Need to Know…” These kinds of subject lines make you curious about finding out what those deals are or the must-know tricks and hacks you need to read up on.
Look at this one: “I Am Straight-Up Cackling at This TikToker’s Impression of Different Dog Breeds.”
I don’t know about you, but now I really feel a need to check out that content creator and see what their impressions are.
Not only do these email subject lines spark curiosity, but they also lend themselves to a conversation. You are starting a conversation with your audience through your email subject line, and then the conversation can only continue if the reader actually opens your email…and of course, reads it.
So, leave your audience with that page-turning, cliffhanger of a subject line and watch them lap it up (like the cat, remember?).
Email subject lines are a huge element of your marketing strategy. And if they are lacking, your emails (full of value as they are, that you worked hard on as well) can unfortunately get lost in the depths of the inbox and never get read. Not good. Don’t let this happen. So, make sure you’re using our top tips to write effective email subject lines to help ensure your emails are actually opened and read by your audience.
Do you still have questions and want to know how to elevate your email marketing strategy? Well, then you’re going to want to partner with us digital marketing experts at Firon Marketing. We’ll get your email marketing game up to speed as well as the rest of your marketing collateral. Speak to us today. You don’t want to miss out, right?