Five Proven Tips for Improving Email Open Rates with Effective Subject Lines

Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital market, but it is still one of the most effective. All businesses can benefit from gathering the email addresses of customers (or potential customers) and reaching out to them occasionally with special offers or information. Once you have their email address, however, the biggest challenge is getting customers to actually open the emails that you send.

Many companies are disappointed to find that only a relatively small percentage of people open their email. In order to maximize open rates, there are two things that need to be done. First, minimize the risk of having your email get flagged as spam. Most email sending tools are pretty good at optimizing for deliverability now, which can be very helpful. The next most important thing, and the one that you have direct control of, is crafting a subject line for the email that encourages people to actually click. The following are some proven tips that can help to increase your open rates significantly.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Your subject line needs to be brief enough that the person reading it can see the entire thing (or at least all the key aspects of it) no matter where they see the message. Most people check their email on their phones at least some of the time, which means you only have a small amount of space to convince them to open. Using as few words as possible to let the reader know why they should open is essential.

Be Honest About What is in the Email

You do not want a subject line that says, “You Won $100 from Amazon” if that is not actually the case. While this type of subject line can increase open rates on that specific email, it also dramatically increases the opt out rates. Even those who do not opt out of your email list entirely will be less likely to open your future emails, so it is not worth it in the end. Your subject line should be honest about what is in the email, so readers are not surprised. If you cannot make an enticing subject line about the content of your email, perhaps the email itself needs to be improved.

Buzzwords are Effective

People in just about every industry make fun of the use of buzzwords because they often become clich√© or even annoying. These words, however, become so popular because they are effective when used properly. If your email is about a subject that has buzzwords associated with it, do not hesitate to use them. In most cases, you will get a better open rate than if you tried to ‘dumb down’ the phrasing to avoid commonly used words from your industry.

Make it Clear Who it is From

Potential readers are only going to see the name you set in the ‘From’ field and the subject line when deciding whether to open an email or delete it. Using both of these sections effectively will give you the best chance at ensuring people open your email. Always make it as clear as possible who the email is from so the person you send it to can make an informed decision and does not feel like you are trying to trick them. If you have to try to deceive the reader, you may want to rethink the email so that it provides real value. If every one of your emails is truly helpful to the reader, they will see who it is from and want to open it every time.

Personalize the Subject Line

While all of the people who signed up to your email list have something in common (your company), they should be looked at as unique individuals. To the extent possible, personalize the subject line to get the best results. For example, the subject line (and possibly the entire email) should be different for someone who has only signed up for your email list compared to someone who has signed up for your list and purchased a product in the past. Those who have purchased from you multiple times should also get a unique experience. Breaking down your list into different groups will allow you to personalize your message and get the best results.

Always Be Testing

As with anything in digital marketing, you want to always be testing different strategies to see which ones work the best. There is really no such thing as the perfect subject line, so never assume you have the exact formula that you need. By constantly implementing the above tips, and tweaking things as you go along, you will be able to improve your open rates and conversion rates over time. Of course, this also means you need to track the statistics of how each email performs so you know exactly what works, and what should not be tried again.

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