The subject line of a business email is one of the most important parts of a message. Here’s why you should use it effectively to get more opens and clicks.
The subject line of a business email is the first thing people see when they open an email, and it can have a big impact on how likely you are to get that response.
A Subject Line That Conveys "Who You Are" Quickly
If your subject line says something like: “What's up?” or “New job opportunity!” or even the traditional "announcement," then chances are those emails will be less effective than if you used one with more personality in it. It might take several tries for someone to respond, but at least there was a chance of someone doing so.
A Subject Line That Immediately Tells the Reader Why They Should Open Your Email
If you are trying to get a response from an email, then your subject line should say something that makes it clear why not only is this person going to respond but also what will be in the email itself. For example: “Meetings don't take place without drinks!” or "It's time for our Friday catch up!" can really convey who they are and what they do while still letting them know what kind of information might be inside their message.
A Subject Line That Immediately Makes Your Message Stand Out
For example, if you are sending out an email about your new book that is coming out in the following month and it’s a big deal for you, then the subject line could be something like: “The Most Important Book You'll Read This Year! Order Today And Get A Copy From The Author Before It's Released In Stores.” If someone doesn't get what they're looking for from this message or they don't have time to read through it because of other things going on in their lives , then they'll miss out on a great opportunity. They will not be able to see the book or even get it from you before everyone else does, which is really unfortunate for them because of what you're trying to do with this email campaign.
A Subject Line That Immediately Tells Your Reader What's Inside The Message
If your subject line is going to say something like “Dear Joe, I have an important message for you” and that tells why your reader should open the body of your email (like "An Important Announcement"), then chances are those people either won't read it at all or they'll open it and read the first sentence before realizing that what your about to say is going to be important for them.
If you're giving away something valuable inside of someone’s email (you have something great to share), then make sure that everything within doesn't give away anything significant. For example: "I'm Sending You This To Help You Out With Something Important" could turn into “Hi Joe, I just wanted you to know this because I know you'll be able to use it and I don't want you having to ask me about it later.”
The Subject Line Should Tell Your Reader What You Want Them To Do
A subject line should not just tell your reader what the email is about, but also why they should read through this message. People will often get annoyed if their inbox doesn’t have a single clickable link in the body of an email that takes them somewhere useful or where they can immediately find some information that's important for them right now (something like “Doorbell Repair For The Entire Neighborhood”).
If you're dealing with something valuable and important, then make sure that the link in your subject line takes them where they want to go. Don't just use a clever name like “Stop The Insanity!” or "How Can I Help?" because chances are they're not going to click on it if all it says is: "Have A Nice Day!" While this one might be funny, most likely people won't see it as anything more than an empty joke. This leads me to...
Don't Use Lame Links In Your Emails
There's nothing worse than a lame link in an email. You see them used all the time in messages, but they are so incredibly bad that it hurts to even read them. Here are some examples: "click here" "please click this" "...click me now!" If you're going to use links (whether something obvious like “here” or more creative ones such as “www…com/pardon?”), then make sure they're interesting enough and have their own meaning behind them rather than just being there for a cheap laugh.
The best way to do this is with witty subject lines and/or clever links in the body of your message that are actually useful/interesting or will at least make them pause before they get annoyed by it. If your content is important enough, then people might just want to read through everything you say even if the link no longer works (you can easily send updates when things change). However, if you're sending out links in an email as filler material again... well... don't!
It's one of the first things that people see, and it can drastically change how they read what you say as well as determine if they will even open it at all!
Make Sure Your Subject Lines Are Good Enough To Read By themselves
The worst thing I ever saw in an email was a subject line like "RE: EMAIL THAT DOESN'T READ". Not only did this make me cringe, but most likely had them putting a stop to their computer or heading into another room... something incredibly irritating when trying to get their attention. There are two main types of subject lines: one-line ones and multi-line ones.
The former is generally used for things that you need to get out quickly (such as an email with a news article attached) or for messages like "urgent" or "important", whereas the latter tend to be more descriptive, but also longer in length which means it can take some thought before deciding whether they want to read your message or not at all! This makes it inherently harder because obviously, people don't always have time for reading long emails containing information about stuff that doesn't interest them. It's generally advised that you try and keep your subject lines short, but still be descriptive enough to catch the person's eye if they're not interested in what you have to say!
Subject Lines That Are Too Long Make You Look Like An Idiot
One-line Subject Lines: If a one-liner is all you can offer, then it should at least be good enough for them to read without opening anything else. However, I've found on more than one occasion where people would just skip over any email with this because saying something like "hey" or "hey there" was just too hard for them to read!
Sometimes, the subject lines are just so long that people don't even bother reading it at all. This is also a good way of getting completely ignored by your audience which I avoid as much as possible! Remember how short you make yours (or leave it blank) and if they're happy with what's there then give yourself a pat on the back. If not then try brainstorming some new things until something sticks or maybe even check out other examples.
Multi-Line Subject Lines: These ones can be tricky because they require more thought than one-liners . It's a good idea to keep your subject line short so that they don't have too much of an issue reading it, but you should also make sure it contains enough information for them to get the message across. I've found this works best when there are two or three lines in total with some words at the end (such as "hey" and "there" mentioned above) being very important for getting their attention! One thing's for certain though: if yours is anything less than spectacular then people will skip over it without even bothering!
Subject Lines That Aren't Subject-based: I've also seen some people who use subject lines that have nothing to do with the actual message itself. This is usually because they're trying to be funny or cute, but it doesn't often work out... In fact, I think this type of thing can even annoy people and make them less likely to open your email at all! It does contain a bit more information than just "hey" or "there", so if you want something like this for yourself then look over some other examples on the web (and try not saying things in ALL CAPS) and see what you can come up with.
Avoiding Bad Subject Lines: There's a good chance that many of the examples above will help you out when it comes to writing your own, but there are still some things I'd like to mention as well. First, let me say this again so no one misses it: The most important thing is to make sure your subject line gets opened! When everything else fails then if they read the subject line only and don't open yours then maybe it was just too hard for them or something other than 'it didn't work '. If they don't read the subject then it doesn't matter what's in there, so make sure you're not wasting their time!
Don't try to trick people into opening your email. Use a simple and effective subject line that gets them interested
Okay, so we've covered what you can do and how not to screw up your subject line pretty well. Now let's get back to some examples of good ones so that you have things with which to compare yours against as we go forward.
The first thing that comes to mind is 'how they got the name'. I always tell people and clients alike to think about what a person would say in their head when they read it. This works especially well with names, as your reader will probably be thinking of saying something like "That's quite an interesting name you have there!" or whatever else pops into their head. In this case though instead of just trying for the usual sort of flattery/encouragement statement some might write (i.e., "Hey! How are you?"), John actually managed to come up with something that got my attention and made me want to know more. I thought it was a pretty good example overall, although some may find the name is too short of what they're looking for in their subject line!
Subject Line Article Title Subject not included This one isn't really about building sales leads through (although if you didn't see how well this ended up working out for us then I'd be interested in hearing why!), but rather just showing off an alternative way of using your subject line. In this case, we 're getting a little more creative by using two different ways to refer to the same thing, although I have no doubt that some readers will be able to figure out what we're referring to. Of course, you'll usually want your subject line in order for people on Twitter and blog comments etc. or anything else where it needs spelling out something like this doesn't really apply unless you know exactly who is going to see the email!
This one just reminds me of when I was at primary school... "I would rather die than eat my vegetables." So many of us learn so early in life not to say what we mean or, more importantly, at least for this post, write the way we think. We've all done it and run into problems where people don't seem to get our message (or worse because they do!). But how often have you heard somebody say something like that? My guess is a lot! This example caught my attention immediately and made me want to read further just out of sheer curiosity as I wonder if "I would rather die..." really means anything at all?! What's your favorite subject line? Have any of them worked well for you?