Average e-shot opening rates are between 20-30%*, which fits with the common rule of thumb idea that 8 out of 10 people read your headline and only 2 out of 10 go on to read your message. So, how can you make sure you have a killer subject line which ensures people are intrigued enough to find out more and open your email?

Follow our top tips, to put you on track to create an email campaign which delivers results.

Determine the “mood” of your audience
Before you start on your subject line, you need to know what mood your audience is going to be in when that email pings into their inbox.

  • Do they know and like your company?
  • Are they going to be pleased to see your email?
  • Are they aware of the value that you can add?
  • Do they know how you can help them?
  • Are they new to your business and need reminding about what you do and how well you do it?

Determining where your audience is in the Buying Process will help you determine the content of your subject line, so that it is right for them based on where they are in their relationship with your business.

Decide on your type of subject line
There are two approaches to your subject line.

  1. First, is the currently popular ‘curiosity gap’ technique. This is where your subject line provides a provocative teaser and holds back enough information that the reader’s curiosity gets the better of them and they open the email to read more. 
  2. The other approach is to use clear, descriptive subject lines that tell the subscriber exactly what they’ll get when they open the email.
    The latter approach has been proven to perform better and it’s supported by the most effective words in email campaigns* being those that clearly describe the content of the email, such as ‘Invitation’, ‘Sale’, and ‘Special’.

    Test different subject lines
    Our suggestion is to test and measure what works for your audience. We’re great believers in breaking the rules in email marketing and testing and measuring what the most effective style is for your target market.

    If you’re unsure, a clear descriptive subject line is a good place to start.

    Subject line size
    The suggested best practice for your subject line is to keep it under 50 characters.

    It’s highly publicised that a short, sharp subject line will yield better results but this isn’t always the case. Recent results have shown that a longer subject line might lead to fewer opens but an increase in click-through rates.

    Therefore, the best length for a subject line depends on your measure of success. Is it important for you to get people to open and read your email or would you prefer more recipients being driven to your website through click throughs?

    Test different lengths
    We suggest that you decide your measure of success and then test and measure against it until you find what’s best for your target audience.

    Your subject line is vitally important. Many businesses create their subject line as an after thought, when in reality it’s one of the most important features. You can have the best email copy in the world but if your subject line doesn’t entice recipients to open your emails then it’s wasted and will only be seen by a few.

    By Marc Woodland, Winbox, email marketing specialist, and Kara Stanford, Senior Marketing and PR Manager, KMS Marketing.

    If you’d like help putting together a great email campaign as part of your marketing, then contact us at KMS Marketing. We have a dedicated email marketer on our team who designs and executes campaigns which deliver results.

    *The 2014 UK email marketing benchmark report from www.signupto.com

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