The inbox can be a very noisy place. Email marketing continues to be a highly effective method to connect with, nurture and build long-term relationships with business contacts. But your firm is not the only organization vying for your contacts’ attention. The first way to ensure that your message can be heard over the din is to have an exceptional subject line.
There are few considerations to keep in mind when drafting a subject line for your email: deliverability, captivation, attention, importance and relevance. Here are 10 tips that will help you maximize opportunities by increasing your email marketing effectiveness through subject line finesse:
- Be fresh. Don’t recycle subject lines. Using the same subject line launch after launch could result in your email being blocked by spam filters or dumped into junk folders. Even if it isn’t captured, repetitive subject lines miss the mark in telling the recipient what the email is really about, which is essential not only for improved deliverability but also for sparking interest and engagement.
- Be relevant. Your subject line should be a succinct, descriptive summary of what your email is all about. One of the ways that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) determine whether or not your email is spam or junk is by using an algorithm that compares your subject line to the content within your email. As with Tip #1 above, not only will relevance affect deliverability, but it will also help spark interest in the topic at hand.
- Be concise. Keep subject lines shorter than 49 characters (not words – characters). Any longer than that could be a spam trigger for some ISPs. You should be able to captivate your audience in a few short, expressive words that aptly describe your primary message.
- Be editorial. Think of your subject line like a newspaper headline. Which headlines grab your attention when you browse your favorite paper or online news feed? Utilize an active voice to make your subject line audible amidst the inbox hullabaloo.
- Be interesting. Don’t bore your readers before they even read your message. Pique their curiosity while maintaining relevance to the email’s content, by using questions, thought-provoking statements, or a metaphor that will entice recipients to open your mail.
- Be informative. If your email contains a special video, infographic or event invitation, inform your readers through your subject line of that fact (i.e., “Video: Estate Planning For Dummies,” “Infographic: The Estate Planning Process From A to Z” or “Webinar: Estate Planning Strategies You Can’t Miss”).
- Be branded. It can be a good idea to include your firm’s name in your subject line, provided you have that space to do so (remember how important it is to keep subject lines under 49 characters long). If you are new to email marketing, introducing your campaign by including your firm’s name (or a known abbreviation) in the subject line might help your contacts recognize your emails until they know what to expect from you and when.
- Be calm. Avoid using ALL CAPS (which is equivalent to screaming and SCREAMING IS JUST RUDE) or exclamation marks. In order to convey a sense of urgency, try to use active verbs or include a date or deadline in the subject line (i.e., “Estate Tax Law Sunsets on December 31 – Are You Prepared?”).
- Be safe. ISPs will likely block emails that use certain words in the subject line (or body content). The list of trigger words is constantly evolving, but certain words are clearly unsafe to use. To ensure the “safeness” of your message, don’t use trigger words such as “Free,” “Click,” “Open,” “Sale,” This isn’t junk/spam”, “Visit our website,” “One time only,” or dollar signs. Also refrain from using imperatives such as “Must,” “Now,” “Always,” “Never,” “Immediately,” or “Or Else.”
- Be creative. Put your marketing hat on when drafting your subject line. Allow your creativity to come to the forefront. Read your email message and consider what the most important take-away is. Jot down a few keywords that describe that take-away and play with some interesting, engaging, actionable words to make it sound appealing and worth reading. Check the length and then go for it.
Rise above inbox ruckus by providing your audience with relevant content that is described in an engaging and thoughtful way in your subject line. Your contacts receive dozens of promotional emails every day and time is a valuable commodity for most of us. Use these ten tips to craft a subject line that politely screams “read me!” and lets your message be heard.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for BizActions, a Thomson Reuters Business, serving as a strategic partner in the planning and implementation of electronic communication and marketing initiatives. She develops and oversees comprehensive programs that present marketing strategies and solutions to diverse audiences, including attorneys, accountants, banks and credit unions, human resource companies and other professional service providers.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555