Email marketing is still one of the best ways to turn cold leads into raving fans of your business.  But if you’ve been in your inbox lately, you know how much noise and clutter there is.  With so many people and businesses clamoring for attention through email, how can you make sure that your email subject lines work? To prevent your emails from heading straight to the “delete” bin with hundreds of others, you need laser-like focus on your email subject line.

Read on for 10 tips for writing subject lines that will generate interest, opens, clicks and customers:

  1. Do incorporate personalization by using the person’s first name as the first word in the subject line or the company the person works for in the subject line. You will quickly gain their attention with this method and stop them from scrolling past.
  2. Don’t click “send” on a personalized email before making sure that you have the first name or company name for everyone in your customer relationship management (CRM) database. You do not want to be the company that sends out emails with the dreaded <FIRSTNAME> showing up in the subject line instead of the person’s actual first name.
  3. Do include a number (a la “10 Tips” or “5 Ways”) at the beginning of the subject line. Due to today’s Twitter and SnapChat mentality, readers want to get their information in little chunks that are quick and very easy to digest. So, titles with numbers in them that show that there’s a list in the asset, or a certain number of tips, appeal to readers who don’t have much time to read, which is pretty much all of them.
  4. Don’t put a number in the subject line and then not have those actual 5 ways listed in the email or — even worse — in a piece of content you’ve gated (put behind a registration form). You’ll quickly lose credibility with your customers and potential customers and you’ll wind up with a lot of unsubscribes.
  5. Do incorporate scare tactics into your subject lines when possible. For example, a subject line of “Is there a virus hiding on your computer?” will motivate someone to read to find out the answer. Just please don’t use clowns in your subject lines. They’re the ultimate horror show and would cause me to delete without opening it in case there’s a picture of Pennywise included.
  6. Do keep it to the point. Your subject line should be from 60 to 70 characters in length. (For reference sake, that previous sentence contains 64 characters.)
  7. Don’t include your company’s name or your product’s name in the subject line if you’re promoting a general checklist or industry research report. The focus there should be on the topic itself and how it can help your customer… not on your company.
  8. Do include your product name if your email is offering a discount on your product or specific tips on how to use your product.
  9. Don’t send out your emails without spell checking your subject line (and the rest of your email, but that’s a whole different post!). You want your company to look professional and there’s no better way to make that first impression than with a subject line that’s correct and doesn’t include text-speak, like using “4” for “for”. Just don’t.
  10. Do testing, testing and more testing on how your subject lines are performing with the help of A/B split tests through your marketing automation system. A/B split tests are your friend, and subject lines can be, too, when they’re written correctly!

What subject lines have worked well for you in the past? Share your subject line tips with @gethatchbuck on Twitter.