How To Write Email Subject Headlines That Get Opened

Writing a killer email is one thing – but how do you get your readers to open your message in the first place?

After all, not everyone has the patience or desire to read every single one of their emails.

Rising digital standards have made email extraordinarily efficient, making it easier than ever to exchange detailed information via the internet. And, innovations in mobile tech have put electronic mail at people’s fingertips – wherever they might be, their inbox is waiting.

But, as a result, the average email inbox is now overflowing with endless amounts of promotions, offers, deals, and newsletters – enough to make any regular mailbox explode!

In this age of email oversaturation, how exactly do you ensure that your emails remain the cream of the crop? And what exactly compels people to open certain emails over others?

Courtesy of Yocale – let’s take a look!

Make An Offer

The average office worker sees a staggering 121 new emails a day, and yet only about 34.1% of emails are actually opened. Given those odds – what are you offering your readers to stand out from the crowd?

Well, for one, people love free things. And as it turns out, extending generous and alluring offers to your readers is a great way to capture their attention.

If you have an e-book, strategy guide, or otherwise equally downloadable piece of wisdom to pass to your customers, definitely share it with them via email! Doing so demonstrates a level of compassion and care, especially amidst a continuous flurry of sales emails.

Compel Your Readers To Take Action

A compelling email begins with a compelling subject line. Reach out to your audience and grab them with a subject line that makes them want to take action with an offer, deal, or another time-sensitive opportunity.

For instance:

  • Last chance! Grab our products at 50% off
  • Our biggest discount of the year – inside!
  • Learn the best strategy for business growth in 2018
  • [Customer name], is your business where you want it to be?

However, make sure you’re not misleading your readers with false click-bait promises, either. If your emails are purposely deceptive in the hopes of capturing more attention, your audience will catch on quickly.

Custom-Tailor Your Emails

Grab the attention of your readers by including their name, personal details, or by targeting a niche that they’ve previously exhibited interest in. This makes your emails feel distinctly human and gives them a personalized touch, which can boost audience retention and investment.

For additional flair, make your audience feel special by using terms of exclusivity in your subject lines. This might look something like this:

  • Happy Birthday! Here’s a bonus discount on us
  • Our best-sellers, based on your interests
  • Psst… [Customer name], we’ve got something for you!

Focus on using phrasing that includes terms like “you” and “your,” as well as including a customer’s name if possible. These strategies go a long way towards making your emails a cut above the rest!

Tell A Story

Some users are quick to overlook emails that appear to be sales-oriented. Appeal to your audience’s emotions by offering them a meaningful anecdote with your products or services in mind.

As an example, a personal trainer might want to send out pictures of a shocking client transformation via email with the subject line “See how a client lost 60 pounds in 60 days!”

Or, a local restaurant might do well with an email depicting their recent remodelling, complete with the title “Our grand re-opening – you’re invited!”

Stay Trendy

Many of us turn to our mobile devices for constant updates on the world around us. Similarly, an email that is consciously integrated with current events can be quite compelling and demonstrates to your audience that you care about the bigger picture, too.

Take a look at what’s happening in your business niche or sphere. Then, try creatively weaving these narratives into your marketing emails for greatly improved returns!

For instance:

  • The market is set to crash… are you prepared? (Business/Finance)
  • King of the jungle: what you can learn from Amazon’s success (Entrepreneurship)

Make It Snappy!

Because 22 to 77% of emails are opened on mobile, it’s important that your subject line isn’t excessively long. Keep your subject no longer than about 50 characters to avoid having it cut off or incorrectly displayed on mobile devices.

You’ll also likely want to exercise caution if you use HTML or special formatting in your emails, as unfortunately, the results can vary on devices with smaller screens.

Avoid Cliches & Generalized Terminology

Your audience’s inboxes are likely already being flooded with “newsletters” and “discount flyers” – so why should you go the same route?

With a seemingly endless amount of automated, generic email hitting inboxes daily, readers are more likely to open an email if the subject line looks like it was written by a fellow human, and not a robot.

Distinguish yourself and your brand by asking yourself: what kind of email would catch my attention?

Odds are, email headlines like “Newsletter #13546” and “BUY NOW: LIMITED TIME” do little to inspire you, and your audience likely feels the same way.

Instead, try combining the tactics listed in this post in order to create a more compelling headline.

For instance, instead of “Huge sale on now,” you could try “Grab our best-selling product for 50% off today!”

Ready, Set, Send!

Timing your emails carefully is often just as important as creating captivating subject lines.

For instance, there’s a pizza place near me that makes a point of sending out email marketing around Friday at five o’clock every few weeks. These emails usually feature subject headlines like “Hungry? We’ve got you covered” and “This Friday, skip the dishes.”

Why is this important? Well, pizza tends to sell extraordinarily well on Fridays – but not everyone might know they want pizza until they check their inbox.

By understanding their market and timing their emails carefully, this pizza restaurant is able to regularly capitalize on Friday-night pizza frenzy, and even create further demand for their products.

The takeaway? Timing really is everything!

Include Notable Sales Figures And Percents

Stats aren’t just for nerds – they’re enticing to nearly any email reader for a variety of reasons.

For one, some deal-driven customers will hold off on buying your products and services entirely until they’re satisfied with receiving a certain level of discount or coupon.

As you might imagine, this makes an email that includes an eye-grabbing “50% off” or a similar limited-time discount extremely compelling. In fact, the promise of a discount alone might be enough to pique the curiosity of your long-time email-dodgers, even if they’ve historically shown little interest in your business.

Once you put these strategies in play, you’ll likely see your email marketing take off – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

For more advanced tactics, be sure to check out our previous post on how to step up your email marketing with MailChimp.

And of course, for more business strategy – both online and off – keep up with us here at the Yocale blog, five days a week.

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