7 Rules of Writing Subject Lines Everyone Will Read

jeremy / May 27, 2017

How many emails do you receive every day which end in the trash folder without even being opened? If you simply delete most of the advertisement you get without a single thought, why the thousands of users on your email list should actually open them? Still today, email marketing is, hands down, the most cost effective automated process your business can employ to reach new buyers. However, every internet marketer knows that there’s no harder struggle than improving the average open rate. Here are some tricks to writing good email subject lines that will entice and engage your customer into opening them.

  1. Avoid of spammy keywords

Several email providers can automatically detect spammy keywords on the subject line and trash the emails before they even reach the user. Others instead, move them to secondary folders that nobody ever cares to open. Try to avoid potential spam triggers such as “free”, “apply now”, “fast cash”, ALL CAPS, lots of exclamation points (!!!!), or symbols such as “$” or “%”. Use some creativity – the less you sound like a blatant advertisement, the better.

  1. Search for the right keywords

Your subject line must be relevant to your audience, that’s a fact. Since you’re probably trying to send them towards your site, you already have a lot of data available on what is relevant, and what is not, instead. Do a quick website audit to know which keywords are the most searched, what pages are the most visited, what messages or ads get the best CTR and conversion rates. Your website content is a goldmine of fresh ideas and a place where you already performed your A/B testing a lot of times.

  1. Avoid deceptive or cheesy messages

Although words such as “get/find help”, “the best”, or using the recipients’ name in the subject line are not necessarily filtered out as spam, they still sound like a cheesy tactic. They’re extremely impersonal, they sound like exaggerated boasting, and they make you look like a scammer who’s phishing their personal info or steal their credit card.

  1. Tailor your proposition to be unique

No matter how small your niche may be, you will always have to fight against other competitors. So put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think: why is your service or product better than your competitor’s? What makes it unique or different? Did you get it? Great, now try to highlight it in your subject line. Tell them why you’re different, how you can help them more than someone else, and why you’re better.

  1. Provide some degree of novelty

One of the most boring aspects of advertisement is that is simply the same stuff over and over again. Been there, done that… why should you open the millionth email about that product you already know? Try providing your customers with something really new and enticing. Use words like “new” or “latest” or “today”, to show something they’ve never seen so far. Maybe it’s a new deal, or today’s offer, or the latest model of a product.

  1. Use some degree of urgency in your email

It’s an old trick, but it always works. Let them feel they’re losing something if they do not open it now. Make an offer that will expire within the next 48 hours, talk about a Deal of the Day, or provide a gift to the first 100 subscribers. Using words such as “exclusive” or “only” to leveraging humans’ natural desire for competition never stops being effective.

  1. Talk about the money they could save

An old psychological trick used in advertisement is to focus on the money your buyer could save. Don’t talk about the discount too much: that only reminds the consumer that he’s actually spending money. Talk about how much they save and they will magically visualize the money in their bank account increasing.

Even if you do not succeed at first, keep trying. Testing your subject lines is necessary before you can really improve your open rate. Don’t let the first failures discourage you, use your creativity, and your sales will eventually soar!

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