The subject line of your email is your entry (or quick exit) to someone’s time and attention. After the list, it’s the most important part of the email. A good subject line will get your email opened. A poor one will send it straight to the trash bin (or worse, the spam folder).
Marketing Sherpa conducted a study (released 11/25/08) of their own email subject lines, and found that the beginning of the subject was critical.
Top email subject lines
First, show benefits in the first two words. Stay away from hard sales pitches, and include something that invites action or curiosity:
- Simple Email Change Boosts Sales 55%
- Text or HTML: Which Gets More Clicks?
- Your Copy of Email Open Rate Study Enclosed
Use Trigger Words
- Hot-button issues, like CAN-SPAM
- Or, brand names, such as Google or Twitter
Keep it Short (Generally)
- Top Sherpa performers were between 31 and 40 characters in length
- Longer subject lines worked better when used with a download (such as an ebook or a report)
- Look at your data, your opens and your click-throughs (how many people went through to your landing page) and see which emails and subject lines got the best results
- Try a small sample of your list (if it’s large) and then mail the best-performing line to the rest of the list
Worst Performing Subject Lines
Anything that sounds too pushy, talks about the sender (rather than the recipient), or asks for an action before gaining trust
- I thought this was interesting
- Forward this to your friends
- Big Riches, Small Investment (too spammy)