Chances are that you already recognise the importance of email marketing for your business. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. So, I don’t have to tell you that failing to reach out to your customers through email is a major loss of a valuable opportunity.
But, as a businessperson yourself, you also know all about the tsunami of unwanted marketing emails that hits your inbox every day. You may spend hours sorting through your own inbox, looking for those few messages that are important to you.
So, the trick here is to cut through the rubbish, and to avoid having your emails thrown out like the proverbial baby with the bath water. And that’s hard to do in an environment where the majority of emails are handled by spam filters or mass-deleted, never to be opened.
The way to do that; to get your messages opened and read by your target market, comes down to writing an effective subject line. That’s right. The title you write will most likely be the deciding factor in whether or not your email gets read.
So, read on to discover some useful tips on how to write effective titles for your e-mail that will not only grab your customers’ attention, but will increase your chances of having positive outcomes.
1. Keep it Short
As a businessperson, you can probably relate to how often you open emails on your mobile phone, rather than your desktop in the office. In fact, statistics show that as much as 77% of emails that get read are opened on a mobile device. What does this mean to you? It means that on that tiny little screen, your wonderfully written and convincing subject line is going to get chopped off in the middle. It means your recipient won’t be able to read it at a glance. That dramatically reduces the chances of the message being opened, and increases the probability of a deletion.
2. Be Careful with Punctuations
Punctuations in your subject line have a surprising impact on how a well an email message is received. Used properly, punctuations make you look professional and intelligent – which are definitely good things for serious business relationships. But if you misuse punctuations, the consequences are bigger than just looking like a dope – although that is a significant concern, too.
Avoid practices like multiple exclamation marks, or mixing exclamation marks and question marks. Also, avoid using too many other symbols and punctuations, such as dollar signs, asterisks, etc. They look spammy, and using them can trigger automated spam filters, ensuring your recipient will never even know that you sent them a message.
3. A Sense of Urgency
In your email titles, it is highly recommended to leave your recipient with a sense of urgency. Let them feel that your product or service is scarce or limited in some way. Your goal is to instill in them a fear of ‘missing out’ on some valuable or important opportunity. Write your title with some sort of deadline when some benefit will be lost. For example, “Register by October 18th to qualify for the prize drawing!” Or “Get yours today, while supplies last!” Use words like ‘Now’ and ‘Soon’ liberally.
4. Tell Them What’s In the Email
When it comes to marketing emails, your clients aren’t going to take the time to open an email just to figure out what it’s all about. So, if you’re promoting an upcoming sale, or inviting them to a special event, tell them in the title. If they’re interested, they will open it for the details. A little mystery can be useful to pique your recipients’ interest. But if you are too vague, your message is going to get passed over.
5. Use Specific Numbers
Most people’s minds connect well to specific information. And something about numbers has the effect of drawing peoples’ attention. So use them. Numbers can refer to almost anything. They can be the 10 Tips for Writing Killer Subject Lines. Insert the percentage of the discount you are offering. Use numbers to announce how many people will be attending your event. If it’s relevant, you can even describe the physical dimensions of your product. Whatever it is, try to squeeze in some numerical data in your subject lines.
6. Ask Thought-Provoking Questions
A major goal of writing your email’s title should be to get your recipient thinking about your product or service. One effective way to do that is to ask questions that require them to think. As always, keep them short and relevant. One good way to create an effective question is to start with the benefit of your product or service in mind, and work backwards. If you sell software that increases efficiency, you could try something like “What would you do with two extra hours every day?” The body of your email will tell them how your product can give it to them.
7. The ‘How To’ Method
A great way to get your customer thinking about the benefits of doing business with you is to create a solution for an existing problem. Clients, whether they are businesses or individual people, have problems that you can solve for them. That’s the reason you have a business. But for the most part, they aren’t standing around looking for products to buy. What they have in mind are solutions to their problems. By putting a ‘How to…’ line in your title, you present them with the thing they need most, a solution, right from the start.
8. The Curiosity Gap Method
This one is slightly technical in how it works. It’s based on human psychology. The principle is that everybody instinctively desires knowledge that they lack. So, by presenting them with a ‘gap’ in their knowledge, you are playing on their subconsious desire to get them to open the message. It’s not hard to apply this method. You start by sharing a piece of information. Then you reveal the ‘gap’ in your readers’ knowledge. Here’s an example:
“John was overwhelmed by the challenges of entrepreneurship – until he discovered this secret that changed everything.”
The piece of information that we shared was about John’s problem. The gap was the ‘secret.’
Of course, this kind of title has to resonate with the target audience. In this case, it’s about entrepreneurship, so it would appeal to business owners.
9. Puns are Pun-damentally Effective
When writing titles, you have two important goals. Keep it interesting, and keep it short. Whether we choose to admit it or not, most people do giggle, at least a little, at simple puns. Let’s face it, they’re pretty punny. And the best part is that puns are probably the shortest form of humor out there. So don’t be afraid to use them in your email titles.
Start with Strong Action Verbs
Active language has a much stronger probability of persuading your reader to take action than passive language. If it looks like a command, the subconsious mind won’t skip over it as easily. Verbs that work well in this context include:
- Learn how to…
- Avoid getting trapped…
- Change the way…
- Increase your income…
- Improve your chances…
- Gain valuable insights about…
- Save thousands on…
- Beat the rush…
There are literally thousands of verbs in English that can communicate these ideas. But you should always look for the ones that have the strongest orientation towards action.
Of course, you won’t be able to use all of these tips in one email title. But you can apply any combination of these principles to create powerful subject lines that will make your email marketing efforts more successful. For example, mix a ‘How to…’ email with specific numbers to create:
“How to… in 10 easy steps.”
However you write your titles, always keep your eye on the purpose of your message. That’s how to stay on track and get real results.