5 Subject Line Strategies to Optimize Your Email Marketing

5 Subject Line Strategies to Optimize Your Email Marketing

Building an email marketing strategy seems easy, but can quickly get complicated. The best examples of email marketing go far beyond simply opening your editor and writing a message to your audience. Instead, each step of the process needs a strategic approach in order to reliably help you grow brand awareness and increase conversions.

Crafting a subject line is an especially pertinent example in the need for strategy. As is the case with any other headline, the email subject will be the deciding factor on whether your recipients actually open and read your message. If you don’t get it wrong, you won’t just be unsuccessful in reaching that goal, but could even end up being blacklisted for spam.

That’s what makes a strategic approach to writing your subject line so important. Here are 5 subject line strategies that help you accomplish your goals and optimize your email marketing.

5 Subject Line Strategies to Optimize Your Email Marketing #EmailMarketingTips Click To Tweet

 

1) Avoid Spam Triggers

Even the best subject lines don’t matter if they never have a chance to get your audience’s attention. Email clients like Gmail and Yahoo have become increasingly sophisticated in filtering emails out of users’ inboxes that appear to be spam.

One major factor in whether a server will redirect your message to the spam filter are so-called trigger words. Include them in your subject line, and your email will be almost guaranteed to get less exposure. HubSpot has compiled a relatively comprehensive list of email trigger words, which include terms like cash and phrases like sign up free today.

 

Spam Trigger Words

Source: Yesware

 

2) Personalize Your Subject Line

Ideally, you should know some information about each recipient by the time you send them an email, such as their first name or geographical location. To give your email a more personal and less marketing-oriented feel, personalize your subject line with these types of contact fields, which most email clients can automatically merge in on send.

Personalizing your subject line matters. In fact, it results in a 26% increase in open rates according to one study. Another study found that depending on your industry, that increase can rise to more than 40%. Meanwhile, only 35% of brands personalize their subject line, giving you a crucial competitive advantage in your audience’s crowded inbox.

Of course, subject line personalization goes far beyond simply merging in a contact field. If you segment your recipients into relatively homogenous groups to increase the relevance of messages you send to each group, make sure that your subject line reflects this targeted focus.

Only 35% of brands personalize their subject line #EmailMarketingTips Click To Tweet

 

3) Customize the Sender

Your subject line will not be the only item your recipients see when an email lands in their inbox. In fact, an argument could be made that customizing the sender is just as important in achieving high open and click-through rates.

No member of your target audience wants to hear from marketing@yourcompany.com or, even worse, noreply@yourcompany.com. Instead, they want to hear from Joe Smith, your sales agent, or Tom Sample, your subject matter expert.

Customizing your sender allows you to build instant credibility and a relationship with your audience before they even read the email. As an added benefit, you can reroute replies to the email directly to the person best qualified to answer them.

 

4) Connect with Your Content

It’s tempting to make bold claims in a subject line. After all, if the goal is to open an email, only big promises can cut through the clutter of the more than 100 emails we receive every day.

But should that really be your goal? Ultimately, if your email marketing efforts stop at the open, your business will gain little. Especially if you embrace inbound marketing, you need click-throughs and conversions, to truly be successful. And you cannot accomplish either of them with a bold claim that your actual email cannot substantiate.

Instead, be honest. Don’t be afraid to make bold claims, but only if your email content can actually back it up. Tell your audience exactly what they’ll get by opening your email and clicking through to your website. If they don’t show interest, work on improving the content you offer rather than the subject line to promote it.

 

5) Analyze Your Efforts

Perhaps the best part about writing compelling email subject lines is your ability to analyze whether what you’re doing is actually successful. Using open rates as benchmarks, you can compare your success with industry averages.

Most email clients also allow you to engage in A/B testing, randomly splitting your recipients into two groups who will receive the same email with different headlines. If one outperforms the other, you can learn valuable lessons on what works for your audience for future emails.

Subject Line A/B Testing

Source: MailChimp

In addition, a number of external resources can help you optimize your email subject line creation. For example, CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool allows you to plug in a subject you’ve been working on and returns a letter grade along with a number of actionable suggestions on how you can improve it. From length to word complexity, you can ensure that the final line you use has the highest possible chance of resonating with your audience.

How much thought to you spend on your subject line in the course of your email marketing efforts? If you don’t think about the above points each time you write an email, it might not be enough. In fact, you may even want to consider spending about 50% of your time on writing and revising your subject line alone.

Ultimately, the subject line is the gateway into your email. If you don’t get it right, your audience will never be able to read your content and take further steps to connect with you. Through the above strategies, you can help to ensure that nothing stands in the way of your recipients and your actual email content.

For more information and courses that help you increase your marketing expertise, contact us.

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