8 Ways to Drastically Improve Your Email Marketing Subject Lines

The email subject line is arguably the most important element of a marketing email - a large percentage of people decide whether or not to open a message based on the subject line alone. And email marketing is one of the top ways to improve your sales, so you want to get it right.

To encourage more of your already email-deluged customers to open up your campaigns, your subject line has to pack a punch. Here are eight tips for improving email open rates with more powerful subject lines.

1. Find the sweet spot

For the most part, your subject lines should be concise - ideally 30 characters or fewer. However, analysis of over 1 billion emails by Adestra found that longer subject lines (90 characters and more) had the highest response rates.

The argument for brevity? If you want to get your full message across, shorter subject lines display better on mobile devices, and 40 percent of email is now opened on mobile first.

Depending on your message and aim, however, longer email subject lines might serve you better. Some longer email subject line examples pull the reader in with a narrative that gets them to open the email for more information. The Adestra study cautions against mid-length subject lines (those between 30 and 90 characters), as they see the lowest clicks and opens.

2. Segment your list

Segmented and targeted emails generate a high percentage of revenue for marketers. That’s because one subject line message will likely resonate more with a certain segment of your list (like your regulars) than it does with another (people who haven’t been by in a while).
So, tailor your messages appropriately. The best email subject lines keep a target recipient in mind. Repeat customers may be more apt to open a VIP event invitation, and lapsed customers may be more intrigued by a massive promotion.

It’s easy to segment your lists in Square’s email marketing software. In fact, the work is already done for you. Because it’s hooked up to your Square POS, the tool already knows who your regular, casual and lapsed customers are and automatically puts them into the appropriate list buckets. All you have to do is select the group of people you want to target with your email when you’re deploying the campaign.

3. Use action-oriented verbs

Subject lines that start with actionable verbs tend to be more enticing. They also help with creating that sense of urgency. To write good subject lines, keep in mind the action you want the recipient to take and use verbiage to encourage that behaviour. For example, use “Get your free coffee” over “Coffee offer”.

4. Tease what’s inside

Let your customer know exactly what is inside the email. For example, if you’re sending your repeat customers a special deal as a token of appreciation, something like “Your discount awaits” is more attention-grabbing than “Thank you for your loyalty.”

5. Use numbers

Take a page from listicle-heavy sites like Buzzfeed and use numbers in your email subject line. If you’re a boutique promoting your latest piece of content, you could use something like “7 Easy Ways to Update Your Spring Look” rather than “Spring Lookbook”.

6. Create a sense of urgency

People jump on those “act fast” messages, especially for sales and special promotions. Subject lines that create this sense of urgency yield a 22 percent bump in open rates.

Flash sale campaigns, with subject lines like “Today only” or “12-hour giveaway”, are a great way to do this. Remember to be specific about the time window. More vague messages like “Act fast!” don’t perform as well in improving email open rates.

7. Give the VIP treatment

Your regular customers are your bread and butter, so create campaigns that make them feel special. When people feel appreciated and part of a community, they’re more willing to stay loyal to your business. Invite them to private events or offer first access to a coveted product line. Use phrases like “For our VIP customers only” or “Just for you, valued customer”. It’s also a great opportunity to add some personalisation.

8. Pose a question

You need to compel people to click. Asking a question that resonates with your audience is a great way to improve email open rates. For example, if you’re promoting a blog post about pasta-making techniques, try something like “Are you making pasta wrong?”
With any email subject line strategy you use, remember to test, test, test and then tweak, tweak, tweak. It’s easy to do that with Square Email Marketing, which provides robust statistics about which types of campaigns and subject lines performed the best. That way, you can use it in conjunction with your free online store to leverage website data to create the best email subject lines for your customers.