8 Ways to make your email marketing subject line stand out

We all know that creating great content to go into your communications is important. Choosing that perfect image to blend with your content can take time, but what’s the use if people don’t click through to your communication? Your subject line is the single most influential factor in generating an email open, so making your subjects stand out from the crowd to guarantee a click through is worth spending time on. Here are 8 suggestions for how to do it.

Get into your audience’s shoes

Ask yourself, ‘will this grab my attention?’ Imagine yourself receiving your own email. Would you ignore it? Why? Is the subject line too long? Is it unclear what the email is actually about in the way it is worded? Is it obviously a waste-of-time sales message? If you wouldn’t open your own email – and there are plenty we all ignore on a daily basis – then don’t expect others to either.

“Mr Salesman to the Recycling Bin, please”

Don’t be too salesy. Sales are the reason behind your campaigns, but there is a fine line between pushing products or services and enticing clients into wanting more from you. A subject line should tease what is on offer, not try to sell it in a very small amount of space.

Keep it short and snappy

It is pretty clear that a person isn’t going to read a 100 word subject line – even if it does rhyme! Eight to twelve words should give them all the information they need.

Personalisation, Personalisation, Personalisation!

For a recipient, opening their inbox and seeing an email greeting them personally increases the chance of an open, but personalisation no longer just means adding a name into the subject line (savvier customers are used to this). Instead, try targeting personal factors such as location-specific services or products. Dig deep into your client’s data to group together similar subscribers. You can then break down your campaign and personalise your subject line and/or content accordingly. A subject line of ‘Your newsletter is here, Sam’ is great but services such as Groupon have grown very successful by using lines like ‘Sam, save money in Macclesfield today’.

Be creative

Humour and wit can be a bonus to your campaign and for those brave enough, stand alone subject line jokes can guarantee an open. However, don’t let a joke eclipse or sabotage all your hard work, especially if the message within your email is deeply serious.

Numbers have power

People love lists and the usage of numbers in the subject line can prove too much to resist for many. For example, both of the following are more powerful than ‘Ways we can help you to boost your profits’:
“3 ways to boost your profits”
“How to boost your profits in 3 easy steps”
Numbering and listing articles and subject lines makes it easier for our brains to process the information, creates curiosity amongst readers and provides the reassurance of a quick and easy read. No matter how compelling your email, no-one has the time to spend all day on it.

Varied punctuation:.*~;/.

Uncommon punctuation offers a unique method of standing out from a crowded inbox. Be careful of using too much, because it can be swept up in spam, but vertical lines or hyphens to add emphasis, for example, can work. TOP TIP – Be careful! Don’t overuse exclamation marks! They have become widely overused! Almost to the point of losing all meaning!!

‘Don’t miss out’

The fear of losing out is something deeply ingrained in our capitalist psyches. The over-use of ‘click bait’ headlines (‘You’ll never believe what happened to this cat next…’) might have dulled our senses somewhat, but they can still work and if you can create a subject line that leaves people deeply fearful they’re about to miss something good then an open is a near certainty.