Crafting unique, yet effective, subject lines is a common problem for marketers. For starters, the worst case scenario – being designated as spam – is most influenced by the subject line, with 69 percent of emails marked as spam based solely on it. And 35 percent of email recipients open emails based on subject line alone.
How can you get prospects and customers to open your email campaigns? Here are 15 email subject line hacks to try with your upcoming campaigns:
1. Start with an action verb. Make your subject line actionable. Use action verbs to create compelling subject lines. Some examples of action verbs for emails include shop, see, learn, enrich, organize and upgrade.
2. Keep it short and avoid filler. When drafting your subject line, avoid filler words and keep it short. Try to keep your subject line under 50 characters. Write your subject line and then examine whether you could edit it down and make it more succinct.
3. Experiment with emojis. This email subject line hack goes against conventional wisdom, which is to avoid weird symbols in your subject line. Emojis have become more popular in the past few years and because of this, many businesses have started using them in their subject lines. While they may not be right for your audience, it’s worth giving emojis a try to see if they can boost your open rates.
4. Avoid spam trigger words. Try to avoid using words and phrases that may be considered spammy, like “free,” “extra income,” or “million.” But remember: context is important. “Free” may be considered spammy in some cases, while in others, it may not affect your email’s spam score.
5. Drop the formalities. When you email a friend or family member, do you capitalize every word in your subject line? More than likely, you don’t. An easy hack to test is dropping the formalities (title case) and only capitalize the first word in your subject line. By using standard capitalization instead of title capitalization (every word capitalized), you’re creating a more casual and humanized subject line.
6. Add personalization. Using an email marketing and marketing automation platform like ClickDimensions combined with CRM data, you can add dynamic content to your email subject lines. This makes every email feel personalized to the recipient. Try using their first name, company name (if you’re a B2B marketer), city or any other data you have collected in CRM.
7. Create curiosity. How do you create curiosity? Your subject line should describe the email just enough that it piques interest, but not enough to ruin the “surprise.” This isn’t as easy as it sounds. One way email marketers create curiosity is by asking a question or using words such as unusual, strange, limited, rare or secret.
8. Create urgency. Create urgency in your email subject line by setting a clear time limit on when an offer ends. Email marketers will generally use words like hurry, get it now, ends [when?] limited, etc. Note that this technique can work wonders for your open rates, but be cautious and use it sparingly. Using urgency too often can cause fatigue in your subscribers.
9. Lead with a number. We all like reading numbered lists in articles and blog posts because we know exactly what we’re in store for in terms of length and number of tips. Email subject lines are no different. Try leading your email subject with a number and see how it works with your audience.
10. Find a common enemy. A great subject line formula used by many marketers is to create a common enemy for your readers to united behind. What person, place, or thing do your readers hate? And how can you use this common enemy to get them to open your emails?
- When [enemy] says no: Here’s what you should do
- Stop letting [enemy] get the last word
- Has [enemy] made [thing] obsolete?
11. Use social proof. Social proof, often in the form of testimonials from customers or influencers, has been proven to be extremely effective in helping market to prospects that have very little knowledge of your product. So how can you add social proof to your subject lines? Here are some examples:
- Why [influencer] uses [your product/service]
- Why more than 2,000 marketers use our app
- How [customer] increased sales by using [your product/service]
12. Rhymes and alliteration. Rhymes are music to our ears. They grab your attention and spice up a boring subject line. Use rhyming and alliteration in your subject lines to create a subject line that stands out in the inbox.
- Tech tools to tackle time management
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- Bands, brands and fans: Creating a thriving music community
13. Create shock and awe. Sometimes subject lines are just downright boring, but it doesn’t have to be that way. One subject line formula that many marketers use is to create shock and/or awe. Shock and awe subject lines create curiosity and make your readers want to open your email to learn more. Some examples include:
- 5 ways your competitor’s marketing is better than yours
- How Kanye made 3k in 40 minutes
- Productivity is overrated without this tool
14. Invite or announce. Nobody wants to be left behind. Readers want the newest and latest information in your industry. Use this to your advantage by creating subject lines that “break the news.” Use invitations to create interest around your product or service. Invite your audience to answer a question, fill out a survey, provide feedback, try your product, etc.
- Announcing [product]: Be the first to try it
- Your invitation to try [product/service] free for 7 days
- Don’t miss your invitation to this exclusive event
15. Target an audience. You have likely heard it before, but you should be segmenting your audience. Every email list has a variety of audiences that are interested in different things. By targeting a segment of your audience, you’re increasing the relevancy of your content to your readers. Whether they’re marketers or moms, be sure to call out the audience in your subject line to generate interest.