We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that you’d love your readers to open your e-newsletter when you send it out each month, that correct?
But why should they do that? What would motivate them to give you a read when surely they get as many e-mails as you do each day. And how many is that? A dozen? A hundred? HUNDREDS? Do YOU read all your e-mails? Bet you don’t!
So the all-important question is: What makes YOU open an e-mail – or not? Which ones do you open? And which ones do you send straight to the trash?
The ones you NEVER dump, we’re fairly certain, are the ones you get from people you know, friends and relatives who you enjoy hearing from, messages you’re expecting, replies from e-mails you’ve sent out, and so on. But what about the other e-mails – those that flood your in-box from businesses, from folks you have no clue as to who they are? Which do you open?
We are willing to bet that the SUBJECT LINE more often than not piques your interest – or doesn’t – depending on how well it’s written. Perhaps that’s why you opened THIS e-newsletter, yes?
Which means that subject lines can’t be written casually. In fact, you may be surprised to know that there’s a real science behind writing a great subject line. Indeed, here are ten pointers to get you started on the road to effective subject line writing:
(1) If your e-newsletter software allows you to personalize your subject lines, be sure to take advantage of that feature. When your name appears in the subject line – as in “Bob, here’s the response you requested” – you’re more likely to be interested.
(2) Short is best. 30-40 characters is ideal. Folks tend to ignore subject lines that extend over 50 characters. And if it’s REAL long, it’s going to be cut short by extending outside the “subject line” area. What good is your subject line if it can’t be read?
(3) Using timely, clear, concise, and useful information implies a benefit for quick action. For example, “3 new ways to cut your delivery times in half!”
(4) Grab the reader’s interest with a subject line that demands attention, something like “Avoid these restaurants in your area …” If you can take the reader by surprise or add a little controversy, opening the e-newsletter will be irresistible. For instance, we used this line – “How common cholesterol drugs can fight cancer” – in a medical e-newsletter we create for doctors. Bam! Great open rate!
(5) Avoid subject lines that are overly sales-y which are likely to be considered spam. That means no yelling by using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS and no LOUD punctuation marks like using multiple exclamation points!!! And avoid clichés even if you think they are appealing. For instance, the word “FREE” in a subject line is over-used and will certainly turn off readers. And will probably wind up in their spam folder.
(6) Some good types of subject lines are of the “how to” variety (“3 ways you can create a more-effective …”) or of the “question” variety (“Did you know you can spend 50% less by …”) or of the “urgent” variety (“This is your last chance to …”).
(7) It’s been proven that people care more about the sender than the message. According to a recent study, 64% of people open e-mails because of the organization it is from. So if you want good results, tell people who the e-mail is from IN the subject line, as in “A super-secret sales tip from Acme Widgets.”
(8) Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), be sure to proof your subject line more than once. Nothing turns a reader off more than a typo or bad grammar. If you’re unsure of yourself, show it to someone else.
(9) Test your subject line. Read it aloud. Does it sound like a subject line that would coax YOU to open it? What about your co-workers and friends? What do THEY think? If everyone likes it, use it!
(10) Lastly, don’t forget to run an A/B test on your subject lines with an A/B test. Send half out with one subject line, the other half with another. Then check the open rates. You’ll quickly learn what sort of subject lines work – and which don’t.
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