March 21, 2013

Rolls Royce hood ornamentWhen it comes to crafting the perfect subject line for your email marketing, there is no single ideal subject line. After all, the best subject line appeals to what interests your specific audience, which is different from what interests other companies’ audiences. There are, however, some general guidelines which will help increase the open rate of your emails.

Short and straightforward

The purpose of the subject line is not to sell your product, it’s to tell the recipient enough about your product so that they open the email and read your sales copy. “Order now for the best deal on new releases” is not as good a subject line as “March releases now available”. Research shows that subject lines which are between 28 and 39 characters in length have the highest open rate, at just over 12%. Shorter subject lines are still opened, although not as frequently, and open rates drop dramatically as the subject lines get longer.

Useful, ultra-specific, and urgent

Every email subject should first be targeted toward your audience’s wants and needs. Whatever interests or motivates them, make sure that they are aware of how the content of the email delivers upon that interest or motivation. Make the email subject line specific to their geographic location if possible, or to a narrow special interest group. Finally, give them a reason that the email needs to be read immediately. An example of a useful, ultra-specific, and urgent subject line is “Limited ed. Rolls-Royce Corniche model” for model car enthusiasts.

Ask a question

Email subject lines that pose questions are opened more frequently than those which are statements. Psychologically, the recipient wants to open the email to discover the answer. “When will you start your dream career?” is a better subject line than “Find a job in your dream career”.

Don’t look like spam

If you use spam-like techniques in your email subject line, in the worst case, your email will never even reach your recipient. In the best case, your recipient will delete the email without reading it. Some of the things which make your email look like spam are using all capital letters, including the word “free”, or using exclamation points. You should also avoid including the recipient’s name in the subject line, using special ASCII characters such as hearts or musical notes, or starting the subject line with Re: or Fwd: to make it look like the email is part of an on-going conversation. If your company or brand is not obvious from your email address, be sure to include the brand or company name somewhere in the subject line, such as “[hot-product] Manchester close-out ends Friday” so that the recipient knows who the email is from.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)

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