Email subject lines to improve open rates and increase sales.

A great subject line can help you win over customers and drive sales. A bad one could have them scrolling past, deleting your email, unsubscribing or even reporting you for spam. How do you get it right?

While there’s no foolproof formula for a perfect subject line, there are ways to get closer to the mark and boost those click-through rates.

Start with our subject line checklist:

1. Sell the email, not the offer.

The goal of a subject line is to sell the content; that is, to convince the reader to open the email. Once they’ve done that, the body of the email sells the actual offer. Too much detail into your subject line is a recipe for disaster. If you’re promoting flight specials to the Pacific Islands, for example, don’t try to jam the prices into the subject line – instead, mention ‘affordable holidays’, ‘getting away for the winter’, or another compelling benefit.

RELATED: How to plan your email marketing campaigns for the year.

2. Use the preheader text.

The preheader text gives you more space to sell your email – so don’t let it go to waste. While most email programs will generate preheader text using the first few lines of your email, you can usually write your own version. This is the golden nugget of your content – the reason people want to open the full email – so make sure the text is compelling and entices the reader.

3. Make it personal.

Adding the recipient’s name to the subject line increases email open rates by 26%, and there’s typically a 20% increase in sales revenue when emails are personalised to the reader. This means it’s worth diving into your browsing data and sales records to find those personal details and use them in your subject line.

4. Offer real benefits.

There’s a fine line between enticing and straight-up misleading. Get too close to that line and your emails are basically spam – and that’s really not where you want to be. If customers mark your emails as spam, you’ll not only lose their business, but it will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of your next eDM campaign. Instead, offering a real benefit, such as ‘Your ticket to the best summer ever’ or ‘Good hair day every day.’

5. Be intriguing.

You don’t have to give everything away in the subject line. In fact, hinting at something exciting can be a good way to get people to click your email – just remember not to mislead or overstate.

For example:

  • The most important photo you’ll see all year
  • Could this be the healthiest food on earth?

6. Get a bit wacky.

For some brands, being a bit weird and wacky in your subject line to make it stand out in the inbox can work. Of course, the body of the email needs to make sense of the weirdness – if it’s random and disconnected, you’ll lose people.

7. Promise more information.

If you want your emails opened, you need to add real value for the customer – give them more than just a hard sell. Tease that extra value in your subject line and you could boost open rates. Of course, you can still sell your product or service in the body of the email.

For example:

  • 10 cheap travel hacks
  • How to make your boss listen
  • Why you still can’t sleep

RELATED: 8 examples of brilliant email marketing campaigns.

The right subject line every time.

You’ve got one chance to nail your subject line and turn that scroll into a click. Get it wrong and you risk losing business or having customers report your email as spam. Get it right and you could turn a scroll into a sale.

Need more help with email marketing? Check out our 8 best practice tips for email marketing automation. 

Looking for expert digital marketing advice? Get in touch with Yellow Pages today.

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