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Creating a Powerful Subject Line

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This post was originally published on June 21, 2017 and updated on October 5, 2020.

I think we would all agree that it doesn’t matter how informative, inspiring and all-around incredible your email content is if no one opens your email, right? If that’s the case then the big question is – how can you maximize the potential of the email subject line to create the desired effect – an opened email?

When email marketing, you only have one opportunity to hit the bullseye with each email you send out. The value of a powerful subject line cannot be underestimated. The subject line is a critical component of any keen marketing strategy!

What goes into creating a powerful subject line?

Creating a Powerful Subject Line

Here is a list of 10 key components to consider:

  1. Keep it short. 5-7 words, 40 characters max. It is important to be aware that the subject line on a mobile screen is cut shorter than that of its desktop counterpart and typically can only contain 35 characters or fewer to appear in its entirety.
  2. Imply a sense of urgency. (Ex. “This week only…”)
  3. Create a sense of scarcity or of missing out. No one wants to miss a good opportunity!
  4. Ensure proper spelling or grammar. Nothing will send your email to the trash can quicker than sloppy oversights.
  5. Consider asking a question to pique curiosity. This is another great way to ensure that “click” because it will send your email recipient into the email in search of the answer.
  6. Consider using numbers in your subject line. We love lists and easy ways to categorize and digest information. (Ex. “3 easy steps…”)
  7. Avoid communicating like a used-car salesman. Refrain from typing words in all caps, use discretion when it comes to implementing exclamation marks and be sure to avoid words that spam filters pick up on or your email won’t even make it into your recipient’s inbox.
    Hot tip: Take time to research spam filter trigger words!
  8. Make it personal. This is the opposite of the used-car salesman approach. You want to appeal to your email recipient on a personal level in much the same way you would communicate with a friend. No one wants to feel like a face in the crowd.
  9. Get to know your audience. Who is your audience and what motivates them? What needs do they have that your business can help meet? Which of their pain points can you help alleviate?
  10. Offer value and expertise. How can you convey the value of the product or service you provide in a few short words? Think of your subject line as the appetizer and the content of your email as the main course. If the appetizer is satisfying then your customer will stick around and delve into more of what you have to offer.

Next time your company formulates that important email, be sure to take extra time to compose a powerful and compelling subject line. Then, track your results to ensure that your efforts are increasing your open rates and make any necessary adjustments!

Putting in this extra effort up front will pay dividends down the road and help you market your business more effectively. If you’re struggling with your email marketing, we can help!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency. Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

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