How to Write Email Subject Lines that Get Opened

marketing copywriter, SEO content  writer, blog writerEmail Subject Lines Affect Your Open Rate

How’s your newsletter open rate doing lately? Industry standards tell us that most businesses now average only 17%. Talking to my clients, they complain open rates are slowing down because there is just so much email pouring into people’s inboxes. However, that doesn’t mean email isn’t still effective.

So what is the message you are getting from subscribers if your open rate has been declining? It could be as simple as the difference between a captivating email subject line and a boring one.

In days gone by, you could simply write “December Newsletter” as your email subject line and people would open and read your message. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t cut the mustard any more. Today more than ever, you need to catch someone’s eye really fast to stand out from the tons of emails they receive.

 Words to Avoid for Email Subject Lines

There are a few subject lines and words that you want to avoid. Some of these might surprise you. I’ve included some that were discovered in a survey conducted by MailChimp* and others that have been known in the industry for a while.

  • Help*
  • Percent off*
  • Reminder*
  • Sale
  • Free
  • Special
  • Newsletter

You also want to steer clear of using all capital letters and too many exclamation points. Your readers aren’t as excited about them as you are. In fact, according to Hubspot, it’s best not to use any punctuation in your subject line

5 Tips to Improve Your Open Rate

1.Use a New Email Subject Line Every Time. Even if you are sending the same campaign, it’s best to write a new subject line. Changing things up helps you cover your bases and appeal to more people. And for those who opened the message the first time but weren’t sold, this gives you another shot at the sale.

2. Keep Email Subject Lines Short. When a subject line is too long, people don’t see the entire message or read it. Getting to the point quickly is the best hope to capture the reader’s attention. Hubspot and MailChimp suggest 45 – 50 characters is the optimal number

3. Add Some Personality. This is a great place to reinforce your brand to help you stand out. Don’t allow your brand to slip into boring-ville. Use words with some emotion or zing to get noticed. Being some what controversial can also work if you are daring.

4. Ask a question.  As with social media, asking a question increases engagement. The same holds true for your email subject line. Get the reader curious to know the answer or find out more so they are willing to open your email and at least skim it.

5. Use their location. Again according to the MailChimp survey, using the person’s location also catches the reader’s attention more powerfully personalizing with their name. which has been overdone at this point.

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