According to market research, 35 percent of email users will open emails based entirely on the subject line. Furthermore, 69 percent of email users will mark messages as spam based on the subject line. This proves two things.
First, a quality, catchy email subject line is essential to getting customers to open your email. Second, a low-quality subject line will end up getting the email flagged as spam. On most major email platforms, such as Gmail, an email will get sent to users’ spam folder if enough people mark it as spam. This can kill an entire ad campaign.
We’re about to show you how to create catchy, eye-grabbing subject lines for a variety of email types. We’ll also provide some more general tips to help you turn your email campaign into real business. Let’s get started!
Drive Your Marketing Campaign with Catchy Email Subject Lines
Funny Subject Lines
Everybody loves a good joke. It’s one of the things that unites us as human beings. If you make your customers smile or chuckle, they’re more likely to click on that email. Here are a few examples of subject lines with preheaders:
- Tire shop email: “Quit spinning your wheels. Check out our deals!”
- Fast food email: “Hungry for discounts? Here’s a free coupon.”
- Sporting goods email: “Tired of striking out? Our 4th of July sale is a home run.”
Humor is just one way to get people’s attention. But when properly executed, it’s a powerful tool.
Personal Subject Lines
A personalized subject line means two things. First, it can be as simple as using your customer’s real name. That’s a good start, but it’s a basic tool that many people are using.
A more powerful form of personalization is to know what your customer wants. Then, deliver them something that they’re actually interested in. A well-personalized email campaign will be based on what your customer has already ordered. Segmenting your subscribers and tailoring email content helps you write best subject lines.
For example, if your customer has bought from you something red, you can send her an email with more clothing of similar tones, and add it to the subject line: “50 shades of red to stress your personality”.
Retargeting Subject Lines
Retargeting emails are messages you send to a potential customer who has not completed a purchase. For example, many ecommerce sites will send reminder messages to customers who added items to their cart, but have not actually made a purchase.
Here are some ideas for retargeting emails:
- Still shopping? Grab your 10% OFF and seal the deal today! (for cart abandonment)
- Your cart is about to expire. Take your picks before they’re gone (for cart abandonment)
- Your cart is waiting for you. Treat yourself today! (for cart abandonment)
- They want YOU 👆🏻 (for cart abandonment)
Do a double take 👀 (for browse abandonment)
Fear of Missing Out Subject Lines
Fear of missing out is another common, powerful human emotion. This generally takes two forms: either limited product availability, or a limited time period. Consider these examples:
- “Get your 30% coupon! Today only.”
- “Free bonus ebook for our first 1,000 customers!”
- “Our 20% off sale ends Friday. Don’t miss out!”
Email Subject Line Tips and Tricks
Now that we’ve talked about different types of email subject lines, let’s get into some more general advice. These tips apply across all types of subject lines, so you can use them to improve virtually any email marketing campaign.
Know Your Customers
If you maintain an active email list, there’s no reason to open with a generic greeting. Subject lines that begin with “[my business] customer” or “JSmith” are almost certain to end up in the trash bin or the spam folder. Instead, if you’re going to use someone’s name in a subject line, use their actual name.
But personalization goes a lot further than just using your customer’s name. It also means looking at what they’re interested in. If you take the time to segment your list – and you should – this can be an easy, painless process.
For example, suppose you’re running a sporting goods email address, and you know that a particular customer always buys soccer products. If you keep sending them emails about football and baseball supplies, they’re going to get frustrated and start ignoring your messages.
Similarly, if you’re running a campaign for a dating site, don’t send your ladies’ discount code to a bunch of male users. They’re not going to care, and they’re likely to hit the “report spam” button.
Keep It Short and Simple
Your email subject line should be short, snappy, and easy to read. Long, complex words are going to cause people to ignore your message. At best, their eyes will gloss over when they see the word “loquacious” or “unambiguous”. At worst – you guessed it! – they’re going to hit the spam button.
Similarly, a long subject line will end with “…” on your user’s screen. They’d have to open the email just to see the rest of the subject line! This is a sure way to make your customers take a hard pass.
This means your subject line should use short, simple words, and not too many of them. Ideally, 5-7 words should be considered a hard limit. This makes it much more likely that your customers will read the subject line. And as long as that subject line is good, they’ll actually read the email.
Tell Your Customers What You’re Offering
In the past few years, there’s been a proliferation of so-called “clickbait” on the internet. This leads to ads and headlines like “You won’t believe what happened when this couple took this picture!” It used to work. Now, people have gotten used to this tactic, and it’s starting to peter out.
Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t ever leave your customers in suspense. But a good subject line should give someone a reason to click. Consider these examples:
- “Check out our great Valentine’s Day discount!”
- “Dave, your free e-book is inside.”
Both of these examples make a promise. You’ve told your customer that you have something specific to offer them. This is particularly true if your email contains an actual product, such as an e-book or a download code. The last thing you want is for customers to delete some vaguely-worded email, only to complain later that they never got their product or code.
Let your customer know what you’re sending them right up front, and they’ll be more likely to look further.
Use a Familiar Name
The last thing you want your users to see in the “from” field is “[email protected][your domain]”. It’s impersonal, and you’re going to need a really, really good subject line to even convert a handful of clicks. Use a real name, and that personal touch will get people to look further.
This is also true for email addresses like “[email protected][your domain]”. For example, suppose you’re selling “Amy’s Scented Candles”. Why not send your emails from “[email protected][your domain]” instead? It’s much more likely to get people’s attention.
Questions and Punctuation in Subject Lines
Question marks and exclamation marks can add emphasis to your text! So who wouldn’t want to use them? In general, one or the other is a great choice.
An exclamation mark automatically adds a friendly, enthusiastic touch. “Collect your free discount code!” or “Get your next purchase at half price!” both convey a lot more enthusiasm than they would with a simple period.
Similarly, a question can lead to better engagement. “Do you want a lower mortgage rate?” immediately piques a reader’s interest. Of course they do! Who wouldn’t want a lower mortgage rate?
One thing you want to avoid is using a question mark and an exclamation mark in the same subject line.
“Do you want a lower mortgage rate? We can help!” might seem like a great eye-catcher, and it is. Unfortunately, because this is such a common formula, many spam blockers will automatically filter subject lines that have both a question mark and an exclamation mark.
Timing is Everything
The timing of your email can make the difference between a successful ad campaign and a flop. For example, GrubHub sends marketing emails between 5 and 7 PM. After all, that’s when most people are eating dinner. When someone’s searching through their fridge for ingredients, that little push alert can convince them to order delivery.
Omnisend has made a study for the best time to send emails. That’s what we’ve got:
Timing isn’t just about time of day; it’s also about the time of year. If you’re advertising winter coats or snow tires, the year’s first cold snap is a great time to send an email. The same goes for more personalized messages. For example, if you’re a mechanic, it could be a good idea to send reminders to customers who had their last oil change three months ago. A simple call to action might be just the push they need.
Having a great, catchy email subject line is no guarantee that you’re going to drive more customers to your business. But they’ll make it more likely that your customers at least open the email. From there, it’s up to you to write the best email possible.
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This article originally appeared in the Omnisend blog and has been published here with permission.