20 Down and Dirty Tips for Hot Subject Lines that Get Opened
Obviously if the subject line of your email doesn’t get the open, it’s all over.
No clicks. No sales. No anything.
But with the right subject line, you can get your readers to open and devour your emails.
Here then are 20 down and dirty tips for hot subject lines that get results…
1. Short is better
40% of emails are opened on mobile, and they’ll get cut off if they’re too long. Aim for 50 characters or less.
Another reason shorter is better – it’s more eye-catching. Compare these two subject lines and ask yourself which would catch your eye:
“Warning, that early morning habit of yours might be causing a serious problem”
For the best of both worlds, consider this… with most email programs, you can place “Warning!” in the subject line, and use “That early morning habit of yours might be causing a serious problem” as the first line of the email, which will show up as preview text.
As always, test.
2. Still don’t believe that shorter is better?
According to Contact Monkey, subject lines with 3 or more words are opened 15% less than those with 1-2 words.
3. Don’t get cute
Some emailers like to begin their subject lines with “fw:” because they believe it increases open rates. But according to Convince and Convert, it actually reduces opens by 17%.
However, Contact Monkey also reports that the top five subject lines in their recent study all included “Re:” This just goes to show you the importance of testing.
4. Create urgency
Subject lines that evoke a sense of urgency and exclusivity receive a 22% higher open rate, according to Email Institute. Use deadlines such as “today only” and “12 hour giveaway” to encourage readers to act now.
5. Do NOT use the word “newsletter”
A study from Adestra found that email subject lines containing the word “newsletter” received an 18.7% decrease in open rates.
Why? Maybe because recipients think it will take too long to read, or they can always read it later; which of course they seldom do.
6. Use the person’s name in the subject line
Yes, it’s an old school trick. And yes, for a while it seemed like it wasn’t working as well as it did.
But these days, people get so many emails that once again having this little bit of personalization can make a difference. In fact Adestra found that personalized subject lines were 22.2% more likely to be opened.
Just don’t do it every time or it will lose its effectiveness.
7. Words to avoid –
“Meeting” reduced opens by 7% according to Sidekick.
“Quick” reduced opens by 17%.
“You” reduced opens by 5%.
8. Words to use –
“Tomorrow increased opens by 10% according to Sidekick.
“Free” increased opens by 10%.
9. Test to find the right sender name
If the recipient doesn’t recognize the sender name or doesn’t have a positive association to it, the email likely won’t get opened. If your business name implies a benefit “Your Best Body” then try sending from that name, as well as “Joe Smith, Your Best Body” and your full name “Joe Smith.” See which one gets the most opens and then stick with that.
10. Never use firstname.lastname@example.org as your sender name
It creates a terrible impression, looks anything but personable, and prevents recipients from adding it to their address book.
11. Use list segmentation
You don’t want to send news of your children’s clothing sale to a guy who only purchased men’s work shirts. Personalize each person’s experience according to the action they’ve taken – which list they’ve joined and which product they’ve purchased.
12. Who says you need a subject line?
According to Sidekick, emails with no subject line were opened 8% more than those with a subject line. But use this trick sparingly, if at all. And remember, preview text will be visible, so make it good.
13. Make readers feel like they’re on the inside
The psychology of exclusivity is a prime motivator. Give your subscribers a sense of belonging to your group, your tribe or your inside circle.
In other words, make them feel special with subject lines like this:
“An exclusive offer just for you”
“My personal gift to you”
“For members only, you’re invited!”
“Private: For beloved customers ONLY.”
14. 3 words to use
Using the words “Sale,” “Video” or “New” in subject lines boost open rates.
15. Don’t bait and switch
Any promise made in the subject line needs to be fulfilled in the email.
For example, don’t put “27 Free Ebooks” in your subject line, and then try to sell them 27 Ebooks which will ‘seem like they’re free because they’ll make you so much money.’
I’ve actually received this email – and unsubscribed because of it.
16. Tell them what’s inside – and make it good
Did they just join your list to get a free book? Then your subject line might be, “Your new ebook inside!”
Are you announcing a new service that is perfect for them? “Joan, this service is tailor-made for you.”
17. Use numbers
“Increase your traffic 200%” is better than “How to increase your traffic.”
18. Use action verbs
Think of a subject line as a call to action – you want the language to inspire people to click on the email. By starting with an action verb, you’ve got a much greater chance of motivating them to click.
For example, which of these stimulate you to want to know more… “Notice: The New Nissans are here” or “Drive a Brand New Nissan Today”?
19. “Daily’ and “Weekly” in subject lines boost open rates
But the word “Monthly” hurts them, according to Adestra.
20. Oh yes…
The subject line word that increased opens by 61.8% according to Adestra?
Believe it or not, it’s the word “alert.”
Again, don’t over use it, but instead reserve it for those times when it really, really counts.
You motivated your readers to open your email with a great subject line, but now what?
It’s all about your first sentence. And your second, and your third…
You’ve heard how the purpose of the first sentence in a sales letter is to get them to read the second, and the second is to get them to read the third.
Treat your emails the same way, like every sentence counts.
Because it does.