Want Better Email Responses? Write Better Subjects

Lauren Krause
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As with anything in life, first impressions count when it comes to getting people to read your emails. If you want to increase the success of your email campaigns, then you must focus on writing great subject lines. The words you use to introduce your email can make a world of difference in your open rates. Here are a few email tips for improving the subject lines of your electronic messages.

Be clear rather than clever – The temptation to be clever in email subject lines can be strong, particularly if the body of the email is primarily filled with administrative data. Avoid giving in. A study conducted by AWeber Communications in 2011 found that people opened email campaigns with subject lines that told them what the email contained five times more often than those with cleverly worded subject lines. People don't like to guess what an email is about, so tell them up-front. Save the cleverness for the content of your email campaigns.

Avoid spam words – Some words don't work well in email subject lines because they've been overused by spammers. In addition to being ignored by your target market, your email campaigns are more likely to land in the trash or spam folder if you use common spam words such as

  • Free
  • Make money; earn money
  • Prescriptions
  • Urgent
  • Millions
  • Clearance
  • Collect
  • Percent off
  • Buy

A search online can uncover numerous lists of additional words to avoid using in the subject lines of your emails.

Shoot for brevity – People are just as likely to check their email on their mobile phones as they are on their computers. If your email subject line is too long, it runs the risk of getting cut off. Additionally, people tend to consume content quickly when using their phones because they're usually doing so in their spare time. Keep your subject lines under thirty characters. Remember, you can always expand on the purpose of your email campaigns in the message body.

Use the question method – A good way to engage readers is to ask a question in the subject line. Humans are naturally curious creatures, and questions tap into that innate quality. Asking an interesting and relevant question in your subject line will prompt people to open the email to find out the answer.

While there are many more email tips that can help you create good subject lines, these four tips will get you started down the right road. Be sure to conduct split testing with your subject lines to help you find the perfect formula for creating subjects that consistently prompt people to read your email campaigns.


(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)


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