Posts Tagged ‘subject lines’

I received an email from Taptastic the other day with the cutest subject line I’ve ever seen to date…

I had many unread emails in my inbox yet this one stood out like a sore thumb… in a good way… and I wanted to share it with you.

Behold, the subject line in all it’s cute attention getting glory:

There has been much talk about using symbols in subject lines - and we even blog about it - what are some of the best examples you have seen? Share them with us!

 

Recently we received the following subject line into our inbox….  we have talked about using symbols in your subject lines before so we wanted to share this one.

Jetstar airways managed to include an incentive, a competition, a call to action, a description about what was inside this email, and symbols, all in one subject line. Nice one Jetstar.

 

 

Following on from our post about how your From Name and Subject Line act as the gatekeepers to your email campaigns, (Click here to read) we are now going to tell you the formula for creating the ultimate subject line so you can increase your chances of your campaign standing out, getting opened, and getting read.

As we’ve said before, prompting the open by getting past the first ‘gatekeepers’ is the primary goal, because you can’t count clickthroughs – much less sell something -  if no-one opens your email.

So with so many people receiving many emails, deleting and filtering, how do you get your subscribers attention? A great subject line gets your email opened.

 

SUBJECT LINE MYTHS

Spam filters can be triggered by a variety of reasons, rarely will specific words like ‘sale’ or ‘free’ get you a one way ticket into the spam folder – filters are changing and it takes a combination of things to really mark your email as spam. So don’t be afraid to put in the odd exclamation mark, you can use all caps, even the word free or sale is fine.

The key is to use these words sparingly. Spam filters assign points to ‘spam’ words, and if the points exceed a certain threshold then the email is considered spam.  However if you just use one or two of these words and symbols throughout your email or even just in the subject line, they won’t automatically mark your email as spam – you may have heard us say before that while content filtering is important, there are now other factors like your sender reputation and engagement metrics that are much more important.

WHAT WORKS

You may have heard a lot of talk about geo-location lately – well collecting and using geo-location data to create more relevant and personal emails and subject lines can increase open rates.  For example, the same email content can come to life when the subject line suggests it’s especially relevant for you.  American retailer Urban Outfitters does this well with subject lines often calling out to me ‘Hey New Zealand – here’s our best sale yet’  or ‘We ship for free to Kiwis every day!’.  Extrapolate that out to your regional customers and – well you see our point.

Subject lines framed as questions have often performed better in tests. Of course you won’t be asking just any old random question – consider your audience, their interests, what your campaign is about, and frame a question around that which will pique their interest and even better if they can respond in some way you can increase engagement.  ‘How many ways can you wear this scarf?’  ‘What’s the best way to show the world you care?’.

Email marketing company MailerMailer found that longer subject lines had lower open rates and click through rates than those emails with shorter subject lines.  They found emails with 28-39 characters in the subject line had the highest open and click through rates. Considering that is about how many characters of a subject line smartphones display, that is no surprise. So the golden rule of thumb is keep it shorter than 50 characters, or at least make your point early in the sentence!

STRATEGIES WITH A CAVEAT

✓ There has been a craze of sorts lately with people using ✶symbols✶ in clever ways in an effort to stand out in the inbox. If used appropriately and cleverly, ✈ symbols may get you more opens, but too many symbols might start driving people crazy so again use sparingly ☂ and only if relevant ☀.  You can read our article about using symbols here.

We’ve heard recently that contrary to previous advice, using the recipient’s name in the subject line does not significantly improve open rates. If it clearly looks like a mail merge then it’s not very personalised at all and will probably have no effect, however if you use their name cleverly and in a relevant way, it may increase opens. In their July 2012 study, MailerMailer saw significantly lower click through and open rates for personalised subject lines compared to non personalised ones.   We have many clients who use this technique every time and it works very well – the answer for you is TEST it!

GET THE OPENS

Keep it useful – why would your recipient want to open your email?  Tell them.

Keep it short – remember the golden rule of 50 characters.

Keep it specific – make sure it is relevant and valuable to the recipient.

Keep it timely – with everything being instant now there really is no place for old news, old jokes, or old memes – keep it fresh.

Always have a call to action – people will respond when you tell them to do something. So ask yourself why are you emailing them? What do you want them to do?  Make your CTA’s easy and ensure they make sense.

Test test test – use the A/B split test send function and test out different subject lines and learn what works for your audience.

Set expectations – clearly state what’s inside the email, and why the recipient should read it.

This advice along with the previous post on From Names and Subject lines will give you some things to work on, and we’re here if you want to talk about what works for you, what doesn’t work and how you might grow your response rates, and deliver great emails to happy customers!

As an extension of our posts in December about personalisation, we thought we would start the New Year with a focus on subject lines. New opening lines for a New Year you could say.

Some subject lines work really well, and others leave you cold. Why is that? Well that’s what we are going to explore.

1) It’s about creating intriguing, catchy subject lines that capture the recipient’s attention above all the other emails in their inbox.

2) It’s also about creating subject lines that are in keeping with your brands style and language.

3) And it’s about creating subject lines that cleverly and naturally incorporate a recipient’s name to make it really personalised.

I have recently received two campaigns which did a great job of using personalisation in the subject line, and they were really engaging and got me to open the emails and read them.

‘Amanda, have we got the deal for you!’
I thought ‘wow I better check that out just in case it really is something I will like, also I don’t want to miss out!’ I opened it of course, the deal was good, and so I thought it was a great email. You can play on people’s FOMO (Fear of missing out) – if that works for you and if it’s relevant, it’s fine.

‘Thought you’d like to see this Amanda’

I was naturally curious as to what they think I should see, so I opened it. (Well it worked didn’t it!) Inside was simply a promo about something that I wasn’t interested in, but it got me to open and read the email.

I received another email campaign that used personalisation in the subject line, but it didn’t provide me with quite the same feeling as those other two. The email came from someone I knew, and the subject line said:

‘Amanda, I owe you an apology!’
I thought, ‘Oh gosh, what for, I haven’t spoken to them in a long time! So I opened it, and saw an email that was a clever sales pitch to attend their sales seminar. I don’t open any of their emails any more.


Apart from this example I give above, some examples of not so effective personalization we have seen are:

  • Name; Do You Have a Minute?
  • Exclusive Savings for Name
  • Name – Good news and bad news
  • Hi Name
  • NAME; Save 30% for Two Days Only!

Each of these examples read like a subject line from a spammer or some such similar source. So how likely would you be to unsubscribe from emails with a subject like these? How much more likely to click ‘Spam’ would you be? How much less likely would you be to open emails from these senders again?
The general idea is about being on brand and in keeping with your brands tone and voice; it’s also about not appearing to come across as a spammer, or appear to be people who send emails with subject lines that give a less than reputable appearance. You don’t want to be sending subject lines that make people think you are a spammer. And we all know it’s wise to stay away from ‘deal’ and ‘$’ and ‘free’ and words along those lines.

My key take hope tips from this for you would be to write subject lines that:

  • Are intriguing and catchy
  • Are in keeping with your brands language, tone, style and message
  • Not trying to sell anyone anything
  • Naturally, and cleverly incorporate a recipient’s name

Do all these things, and you will have winning subject lines that will  increase open rates. And we all like that.