How Do I Write a Good Subject Line?

Have you ever logged into your email and discovered you had a list of unread emails that stretched on for pages? As you went through deleting them, one might have given you pause to see what the email said. Once you opened the email, the body might have interested you, or it didn’t. Either way, why did it interest you enough to click on it? Most likely, it was the subject line. 

Subject lines are a critical part of email marketing, as they can boost your open rate. If you don’t have great subject lines, you kill your audience’s chance of opening the email. If you need email marketing services, SEO Design Chicago can help you

how do i write a good subject line

Effective Subject Lines

One strategy for creating effective subject lines is by communicating through stories, not statements. Remember to include statistics and data in your story. For example, relevant percentages.

People have a tendency to skim or even skip long sentences or phrases. If you want to increase the chances of people reading your subject lines, keep them short and to the point. Avoid using “fluffy” words that only take up space. When you discover you might have a lot to say in the subject line, limit it to 50 characters or less. It’s best to keep it between 25-50 characters. Subject lines with 50 characters or less increase open rates by 12%. By keeping your subject lines between 25-50 characters, you prevent it from being too vague or too muddied. This range is a good reference, however, it isn’t unheard of to write one-word subject lines. These types of subject lines shouldn’t be used frequently, but, when used sparingly, they can also help your company. 

When writing subject lines, you need to remember to interest your reader. Say something that is unique. Try to avoid overused words. Another way to generate interest is by not revealing everything to your reader in the subject line–they need to want to click to find out more.

Another way to capture your reader is by promising value. You need to convince your reader that you are bringing something to the table that only you can. Part of this is communicating to your reader that the email contains information that can improve their life or business. The challenge is doing all of this in the subject line.

subject lines

Building trust is also an important part of subject lines. Whatever you promised in the subject lines, you need to make sure the body of the email backs up the promise. This includes preserving credibility through well-written content that is free of errors.

Not everyone is an emoji fan, but emojis have gained popularity within the last several years. By using emojis in your subject lines, it now increases the chance of being opened. A word of caution, though: Don’t use emojis because they’re there. Only use emojis when they are relevant and fit with your subject lines. 

Another way to ensure an effective email is by remembering what devices people use to view emails in this day and age. Many devices now can view emails. Keeping the body of your email less than 600 pixels wide lets more devices view them without your emails being too distorted.

Questions and punctuation in subject lines can be powerful. Exclamation points can be useful, but they are overused, so don’t use them often. Instead, experiment with fun and less-used symbols and punctuation.   

Make sure to do your research on spam filtering words to make sure your readers actually see your email. Be aware of the various email marketing spam laws set in place. SEO Design Chicago can help ensure your emails’ subject lines and body follow the spam laws. You should avoid specific words in both your subject line and your body. Otherwise your email will head directly to the spam folder, never to be seen by your readers.

effective subject lines

Email Subject Lines

In addition to the strategies listed previously, there are other types of subject lines that increase the chances of being read:

  • Subject lines can produce the element of scarcity or urgency: One way to do this is by indicating deadlines. The combination that works the best is the act-now or fear of missing out subject line and call-to-action body paragraph. 
  • Free offer subject lines: When you send or communicate free offers, it makes your customers happier. Free offers also give your readers a reason to click on the email. You might hesitate by saying the word “free” in your email’s subject line, but it is a great way to increase sales. When you link to one of your free products, the customer is able to view some of your other products.
  • Personalized: Your reader wants to know you care about them as a human being–not a robot. When you send out personalized subject lines, it generates trust and helps create a long-term relationship with your customers. Not only does it increase your click rates, but also your conversation.
  • Recent news: You can use your subject lines as a way to highlight recent news stories. This helps interest your reader. You can use your email subject lines as a way to give your customers news in a quick amount of time. When coming up with recent news stories, be creative.  
  • Social proof: When you use social proof in the subject line, you can interest your customers to join your company’s newsletter or other lists your company might have. Including well-known people, places, or companies within your email’s subject line can also increase your list of subscribers.
  • Story teasers: People love a good laugh. Storytelling can help achieve that. By including a brief story teaser in the subject line, it creates personal connection and curiosity. 
  • Campaigns: Letting your readers know about your recent campaigns can also interest them in products.
  • Announcements: When you include announcements and events in your subject lines, you can also send out encouraging discounts and freebies. For example, if you’re in their area, you can give them free tickets to join you in an event.
  • Accomplishments: If your company recently accomplished something, let your audience know. 
  • Include your company’s name: Most email users have email clutter, so it isn’t surprising that they’re more willing to open an email when it clearly indicates who it’s from, instead of using a generic subject line.

 You can experiment with this list to see what works best for your company, or alternate what strategies you use to give your readers variation.

email subject line

Good Email Subject Lines

When experimenting with different email subject lines, there are many approaches you can take. For example, there are various ways to say the same thing, but they can influence your reader in a different way. 

  • Draft, draft, and draft again: You should never write one and be done. Most of the time your first draft isn’t your best work. The same applies to subject lines. Instead, write about ten variations for every subject line, then choose your best one. This practice ensures that your subject line is the best that it can be for engaging your readers.
  • Writing approaches: There are also different ways to approach your readers through various subject line formulas. For example, the “how to” vs. the “case study” subject lines. Different body emails require different ways to approach your audience. When writing different drafts of your subject mind, play around with different methods of how to say the same thing.
  • Learn from others: Take some time to study examples of effective subject lines. You can learn from other companies who have been writing subject lines for years. There are many templates you can use when you’re getting started. You don’t want to copy someone else’s work, but you can study other companies’ subject lines and take note of what is working and what isn’t. After seeing what is working best, that can help you begin writing successful subject lines. Even if you aren’t sure if something is working, as you begin experimenting, you can use trial and error to improve your own subject lines.
  • Subject line split testing: Another way to improve your email subject lines is by split testing. Subject line email split testing is where you split your audience, you create two separate subject lines, then you see which variation results in more message opens or link clicks. There are several email marketing platforms that you can use. SEO Design Chicago has trained professionals who can help you with any email marketing questions that might arise.

In order to become an expert at good subject line writing, you need to practice writing subject lines. What works for one company well might not work as well for yours. The more you experiment, the better you’ll be at subject line testing, and the more success you’ll have.

good email subject lines

Still Need Help? 

Creating the most effective email subject lines takes practice. Hopefully, this article has given you ideas of how to go about writing them. If you still have questions about effective email marketing, our representatives at SEO Design Chicago are here to help. Contact us today!

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