Email Subject Lines for Better Open Rates

You've spent months or years building up a database of fans ready and waiting to receive your emails each week or month, but are you getting the open rate your campaigns deserve?

If you use email marketing software (and you should!) such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor, you'll see your open rate in your reports. This is usually shown as a percentage of people who received your email and is often affected by many factors such as the timing of your email, the quality and age of your list, seasonality and how enticing your subject line is.

This is what we'll focus on here, with a few tips to encourage recipients to open and read your email.

When an email lands in your inbox, you'll no doubt scan the "From" label and subject line to make a split second decision as to whether this email deserves your attention or whether you'll just hit the delete key or file it away in an Outlook folder to read at some other time (which you know will never come).

So this makes the subject line one of the most important elements of our email campaign with 35% of people opening emails based on the subject line alone. Without a solid, enticing subject line, your recipients may never open your email to read the amazing content you have delivered to their inbox. So here's 4 top tips to optimise your subject lines:

1. Keep it short

Get your message across in the first few words and remove filler words that don't add any value. Think about mobile screen sizes - there isn't a lot of space to display your subject line, so if you haven't grabbed the recipient's attention in the few words, they're less likely to open your email.

2. Ask a question

Asking a question in your email subject line can increase open rate as it gets people thinking about the answer and engages their attention, prompting them to open and read the email.

3. Make it personal

Personalising your subject line with the recipients first name is a great way to make your email look more personal and less like a bulk email sent to lots of people. This personalisation encourages people to open the email as it's addressing them personally and there's a fear of missing out if they don't open it.

4. Don't give the game away

Your subject should create enough intrigue to get the recipient to open the email, but leave enough unanswered to get them interested to read more.

An example of a subject line that uses these principles (and has worked well for us in the past):

[First Name], can you help us?

Short, personalised, asks a question and doesn't explain what we need help with so they have to open the email to find out more. Great for emails where you're asking something of your audience; perhaps to complete a survey or donate to a charitable cause.

Bonus tip!

Make sure your subject line clearly relates to your email content. There's nothing worse to annoy your audience than to promise something in the subject line and fail to deliver in the email itself.

In conclusion, your email subject line is a crucial part of your campaign and can make the difference between getting a mediocre open rate or a fantastic open rate. So with that in mind, keep it brief, ask a question, make it personal and spark some curiosity in your audience!