How to Write a Killer Email Subject Line That Will Increase Your Open Rates

Is there any point in writing something if no-one’s going to read it?

For email marketers, the answer has to be a resounding ‘no’.

The fact that open rates in North America hover at around 22% then, should be a scary one. Click-to-open rates are even less, at a measly 16.8%. At the current rate, this means only a fifth or so of people receiving your email will actually read it.

What can you do to shove those figures further in your favor?

The answer’s fairly simple: prioritize your email subject line. This oft-overlooked area of email marketing is of utmost importance. Indeed, it’s known that 47% of recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

Nail the subject, nail the clicks. But how do you do it? How do you write an email subject line that makes people want to read further?

Keep reading to find out.

10 Tips for Writing a Killer Email Subject Line

Email subject lines are crucial to your email marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at 10 ways to write a killer one.

1. Ensure it Isn’t Spammy

Everyone hates spam.

These days no-one’s interested in your ‘#EXCLUSIVE OFFER!! DON’T MISS OUT!!!! MILLIONS OF DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE###!!’

Anything remotely spam-related usually goes straight to junk mail. Rule number one of email subject line best practice is to avoid spammy headings at all costs.

Easy ways to do so are to limit the use of capital letters, symbols and exclamation marks.

2. Make it Relevant

Subject lines pertaining to current events often have better open-rates.

Refer to the noise and fuss about a major new discovery in your industry, or to the latest political news scandal, or the current celebrity gossip and so on. Reference to up-to-date, cutting-edge, novel and newsworthy items will send your clicks skyrocketing.

3. Put in an Offer

Everyone loves an offer. But be cool about it.

It’s a fine balance between sparking someone’s interest in your discount/freebie without tipping into the realm of spam.

Try alluding to it. Or having it as a side-note (‘Our latest blog post’s ready…& you can win X’).

4. Make it Urgent

A sense of urgency can work wonders in the subject line.

We’re not talking about the old infomercial ‘shove-it-down-your-throat’ style urgency (‘DO IT NOW NOW NOW!!!’)…Nope, we’re after something altogether more subtle and creative.

Use this method sparingly too. People will lose interest (and loyalty) if every email’s the same.

It pays to know your audience and what they want. If you know they’re enthusiastic about a particular subject (presumably it’ll be the niche of your business!), then you can play on that in your sense of urgency.

5. Keep it Short

You need to keep things short and snappy with your subject lines.

Think about it:

Computers usually show around 60 character’s worth of a subject. Maximize your chance of a click by keeping your line below this.

You need to think about the different devices people read emails on too. The subject line length is different for each. Mobiles, for instance, limit lines to approximately 25-30 characters.

Get straight to the point (more on this next). And try putting the most important bit first to stop the main part of your message getting cut off.

6. Keep it Simple

We already know subject lines should be short.

But simplicity’s often important too. Your subject lines can benefit from being concise and to the point. Leave out any excessively flowery language that’ll distract from your message.

Instead, keep things friendly and straightforward.

7. Put in a Number

Using numbers in your subject line is an effective way of keeping it simple.

There’s precision to a number. It’s definite, certain and offers a clear message of intent. Use them regularly!

For example, when sending discounts and special offers (‘50% off!’), reminders (‘2 weeks left!’), or in reference to the latest listicle on your blog (‘5 Reasons You Need…’).

8. Spark Curiosity

Keep things to the point…

…Unless that is, you’re going for something altogether more mysterious.

Leaving something to the imagination of the recipient is a great way to stimulate curiosity. With curiosity comes clicks.

A great way of doing this is to ask a question. But not just any question. It should be actively intriguing. Questions such as ‘Is Your Business Making This Mistake?’, or ‘How Does Your Annual Turnover Compare?’ are good ways to compel recipients to click.

9. Personalize it

The future of marketing is personalization.

Nowadays it’s becoming far harder to get away with generic email blasts, banner ads, and newsfeeds. Open rates and ROIs are dwindling by the day. One-to-one style marketing is the way forward.

As for subject lines, this can mean including the recipient’s name. This alone can help open-rates.

But most people know that you didn’t actually type their name and that some clever email marketing platform is involved. If you can, think about the personalization of content too.

10. Make it Exclusive

Personalization’s important. But you’re onto a winner if it’s married to a sense of special treatment.

Get it right and this approach can be a huge psychological weapon in your email marketing arsenal.

Recipients who feel ‘chosen’, or singled out, feel special. Think of it as a little tickle of our inner need to feel important. That feeling is dynamite to open rates.

Time to Hit Send with a Killer Email Subject Line

There you have it: 10 tips for writing an email subject line that’ll increase your open rate.

It’s difficult to understate the importance of a killer subject line for your emails. They can have a huge impact on whether your emails are read or rendered rubbish.

Follow the tips above though and you’ll be on your way to email marketing success!

Now we’d like to hear from you. What’s the first thing you’re going to do to improve your subject lines?

Be sure to get in touch here to let us know!