Email Subject Lines: Making a Good Impression

When you open your email in the morning, what do you open first? Think back to the last email you opened, did you open it because you were expecting it or because the subject line piqued your interest and you wanted to know more? Email subject lines act as a gatekeeper, will yours invite subscribers to open and indulge in your message or prompt them to swipe left and delete it? When you first meet someone, you probably make the effort to put your best foot forward and the same should hold when emailing your list, whether it be the first correspondence or your final newsletter of the year. Don’t let your first impression be the reason for unopens and unsubscribes!


Writing subject lines doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel, but you do have to trigger something within the reader that either sparks interest, asks a question, or makes them eager to learn more. ​1. Reflect on email subject lines you’ve recently opened.
A good exercise to determine the best subject lines is to write down specific subject lines that have prompted you to take action and open an email in your personal inbox. What was interesting about it and why did you open it? Tracking what you like and what you responded to is a great first step in writing subject lines that are going to resonate. A well crafted subject line will entice your target audience to open the gates and welcome your message.2. Ensure your subject line is timely and on brand.
Once you’ve tracked your favorite lines, think about how you can tailor and incorporate them into your messaging. Do you have an upcoming event you can leverage? Do flash sales from your favorite online retailer trigger you to make a purchase?Try a flash sale of your own! If you couldn’t resist reading the “4 Tips for For Better Networking,” incorporate a numbered list into your strategy. Subject lines give you the flexibility to be as broader descriptive as you’d like.3. A/B Test and Tweak Messaging.
Next, if you’ve been playing around with subject lines, but aren’t sure which route is best for your subscriber base, A/B test them. With many email platforms, including MailChimp and Constant Contact, A/B testing is a free feature and can help determine which language and structure your audience responds to best. Since there is no limit to the number of emails you can test, repeat testing can help ensure you’re successfully​ connecting with your customer base.


On the other side of the coin, there are some techniques that may seem trendy and popular, but can negatively affect open rates. The first mistake, heavy product or service pushing in the subject line. Customers don’t necessarily want to be sold to before they have even opened your email. Milennials particulary don’t want to be sold to, they want you to be genuine.

It is important to include thought leadership, company updates, and other elements in your email that can be highlighted in the subject line. Cherry pick little segments that will entice subscribers to open the email and welcome the opportunity for a sales pitch.

Lastly, be cautious of using emojis. Although they are fun and can spice up an email, they should only be used when the nature of the email is fun and lighthearted. You probably wouldn’t open an email announcing the resignation of a longtime employee with the peace sign emoji next to it. Bye Karen. ✌️Well, you might actually open that, but it certainly won’t be well received.

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