Why is a subject line so important? If you have great content it shouldn’t really matter, right? WRONG! It’s usually the only information a reader has (besides the sender email address) to help them determine if they should open or toss.

A captivating subject line can equate to a higher open rate, and can then result in a higher click-through rate. Your great content becomes insignificant if someone deletes it before they can read that fabulous text, or view your perfectly formatted images.

Make a conscious effort of glancing through the unread emails in your inbox. What triggers you to immediately delete an email and what makes you interested enough to click and open? Your prospects are no different. They are sifting through numerous emails and trying to eyeball the select few that spark their interest.  

What to avoid?

Words like free, savings, guaranteed, don’t wait, and last chance can not only put you in spam filters, they can turn prospects off. Your subject line is your teaser, think about enticing your readers. It is best to avoid ALL CAPS and excessive exclamations. People know immediately that you are trying to sell them, and they are turned off by this.

Another common mistake is changing the day or date but leaving the rest of the subject line material the same. Have you ever seen this, “January Newsletter, February Newsletter, March Newsletter?” This doesn’t work. It isn’t original and people will start to grow tired of this. Instead, try highlighting an interesting snippet of the January Newsletter that will interest your prospects. Don’t take the easy way out and send out emails with one date or word changed in the subject line every month. You aren’t fooling anyone.

What to use!

Personalize your subject line using merge fields. First name, company name, or custom fields can be really beneficial here. You need to remember to speak to your audience individually, even if you are sending this as a mass e-blast. A personal tone helps your prospects feel important and trust your messaging because you have some sort of relationship with them.

Ask prospects a question to peak their interest. A travel agency or resort might try, [First Name], when’s the last time you got away? Subject lines should be short and easy to read. Remember that prospects are often scanning their emails quickly and your wording needs to motivate the open after a brief glance. The subject line is one short quick blurb and nothing more.

Testing is believing

Use A/B testing to slightly tweak subject lines and see which has a higher open rate. Hatchbuck lets you do this easily by selecting multiple emails to send to your list and highlights the open rates in our reporting section. Look at your email statistics to see what subject lines yielded the highest opens.

Take it from my personal email

I’m currently decorating my living room, so I’ve been browsing products on various websites and signing up for their emails. I decided to examine what prompts me to open an email and what commonalities my deleted emails share. “Hurry! 20% OFF ends TODAY!!” went straight to my deleted folder. My eyes went straight to the words in caps because they stuck out like a sore thumb among other subject lines in my inbox. I wanted this cleaned out ASAP because I don’t deem this to be important.

On the opposite end of the spectrum… I stumble upon this next email, “Lindsay, dare to drape. Curtains, blinds, and hardware in every style.” I’m imagining drapes and blinds that will tie my entire living room together. Even if I’m not ready to buy yet, I want to visualize my options. This retail company did a great job of segmenting me based on which pages of their website I visited. The actions associated with this email subject also helped me decide to open it. I just love the phrase, “dare to drape.” Why yes, I accept your dare.

Sometimes looking internally at how you respond to different subject lines will help define how your customers might react. Remember to keep subject lines short and personalized and avoid lengthy, salesy jargon. Hatchbuck can really help segment prospects so that you can send subject lines that make sense to each individual recipient. No one has time to waste opening unwanted emails.