How to Write Email Subject Lines that Convert
There’s nothing worse than creating an email campaign only to find that your recipients never even opened them. In order to convert, you need them to open the emails, then be engaged by the content, and follow through with completing your call to action. Here are the rules to follow, with your headlines, if you want to see more conversions from your email marketing.
In this article, I’m only going to touch on the headlines you write, not email content. Maybe we’ll come back to that at a later date. For now, remember to focus on the subject line.
This is the most important thing to remember when your goal is to convert
The first rule of writing email subject lines that convert is to make sure it’s relevant – to your audience, your topic, and your brand. Readers signed up for your newsletter because they were expecting something special from you, something valuable. The content of your email should provide value and the subject line should entice, but the key here is to provide relevance.
You might be able to get everyone on your list to open the email by saying, “Grandma is dead,” but when everyone opens the message to see that you’re selling restaurant furniture, nobody is going to buy it. If you do this, you will only be wasting time. So, write relevant headlines.
How long should your email subject lines be?
Keep it brief. The shorter your headlines, the better. If you can say what you want in just a few words, do so. The default desktop version of the new Hotmail platform only displays about 34 characters of text in the subject line, so you should try to fit your subject line (at least the most important part of it) into that space.
Have you ever heard the term “frontloading?” This is when you stuff the most important keywords into the front of your headlines. From an email marketing perspective, this is a great idea, especially when you can’t say what you need in just a few words.
An example of frontloading:
The message – “This weekend, all of our benches are going on sale and will be 25% off.”
Frontloaded – “This weekend only, 25% off all Ben… [Hotmail cutoff] …ches from ABC Inc.”
The front-loaded version creates a sense of urgency, enticing readers to click and find out what is for sale. If they’re interested in the benches, or even something else contained in the message, this might just lead to a sale.
3 invaluable tips for creating headlines that get clicked
Expert marketers go over research time and time again, to fully understand what converts and what doesn’t (based on audience and platform). Sometimes, little gems arise that are so effective, across a broad range of platforms, that they become paradigms. Here are three of those headline conversion gems.
#1: Listicles work – I’m not sure if anyone knows why, but listicles are a tried and trusted method of generating clicks and shares. They can be used in email subject lines to improve clickability.
#2: “This” will get clicked – The word “this” seems to carry a lot of weight in the headline world, as it sparks a sense of wanting to see proof from readers. It automatically creates a sense of challenge, and makes readers want to see if the following content will live up to what it claims. Try integrating this word into email headlines and see if your open rate increases.
#3: Questions breed a desire for answers – If readers see a question, they will want to know the answer. If they can find the answer inside your email, they are likely to open it to find out. Curiosity is sparked, and subject lines clicked, when you ask questions of your readers.
Use these tips in your email subject lines to increase conversions.
The most important aspect of an email subject line is that it maintains relevance to the content of the message, the audience, and your brand. The most important text of an email subject line should fit into the first 34 characters of the text. Listicles, the word “this,” and questions are tried and proven strategies for writing successful headlines, so you should integrate them into your newsletters. Take this advice with you as you begin planning your next email campaign right away.