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The Art of Crafting Perfect Subject Lines

In the world of email marketing, the subject line is your first impression. It’s the gateway to your content, and its effectiveness can make or break your email campaign. So, what exactly is a subject line, and how do you create one that ensures your email gets opened?

What is a Subject Line?

A subject line is the brief text that appears in an email's inbox preview. It's your first and often only chance to capture your audience's attention and entice them to open your email. A well-crafted subject line can significantly increase your email open rates and engagement.

An example of a subject line and preheader

How Long Should a Subject Line Be?

The ideal length for a subject line is typically between 4 to 8 words or about 40 to 50 characters. This length is short enough to grab attention but long enough to convey the message. It’s also essential to consider that mobile devices might truncate longer subject lines, so keeping them concise ensures visibility across all platforms.

Dos and Don’ts for Subject Lines

  1. Create a Sense of Urgency: Use time-sensitive language to prompt immediate action.

  2. Personalize It: Use the recipient’s name or personalize based on their previous interactions.

  3. Make Them Curious: Make your subject line feel a little mysterious and help peek their interest.

  4. Include Keywords: Make your subject line relevant and searchable.

  5. Keep Your Brand Voice: Your subject line should be an extension of your brand. If you're a laid back brand - make your subject line match that.

  6. Test Different Approaches: A/B test different subject lines to see what resonates with your audience.

  7. Use the company name: Avoid emails coming from employees and ensure they are coming from a recognizable name, like your business name.

  8. Ask yourself this question: If I received this email and had no idea what was inside of it, would the subject line intrigue me enough to open it?

  1. Avoid Spammy Language: Words like “free,” “buy now,” and excessive punctuation can trigger spam filters.

  2. Don’t Mislead: Ensure your subject line accurately represents the content of your email.

  3. Steer Clear of All Caps: Using all caps can come across as spammy and as though you are shouting and that can be off-putting.

  4. Don’t Overcomplicate: Keep it simple and straightforward; avoid jargon and overly complex language.

  5. Avoid Lengthy Phrases: Long subject lines may get cut off, especially on mobile devices.

Examples of Engaging Subject Lines

  1. Curiosity-Inducing:

  • “You Won’t Believe What We Have in Store for You!”

  • “Guess What’s Back in Stock, [First Name]?”

  1. Urgency and Scarcity:

  • “Last Chance! Sale Ends Tonight”

  • “Only a Few Spots Left – Register Now!”

  1. Personalization:

  • “[First Name], Here’s a Special Offer Just for You”

  • “Happy Birthday, [First Name]! Celebrate with 20% Off”

  1. Value Proposition:

  • “Unlock Your Free Guide to Better Marketing”

  • “Exclusive Insights Inside – Don’t Miss Out!”

  1. Straightforward and Clear:

  • “Your Weekly Newsletter is Here”

  • “Update: Important Changes to Your Account”

The Honest Truth

Subject Lines are both art and science - and a whole lot of tricky. Just like in other aspects of marketing, testing is key. What resonates with your audience and what doesn't? Keep testing and keep experimenting. And don't be afraid to fail now and then.


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