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Email marketing: keys for improving email subject lines

9 May 2016

The first and most basic objective of any email marketing campaign is to get the recipient to open the mail. This would seem to be both obvious and simple, but statistics show that an open rate above 30% is a big achievement (the average is 20%). Commercial emails are not very well received, so it is fundamental to try to improve these results.

There are many factors involved in open rates; it is obviously very important to send emails to clients who are already registered in your database, so the mails are not intrusive, and segment them so that the emails are as relevant as possible (by age, sex, location, specific interests, etc.).

But here we focus on the subject of the email, which in the end is your “letter of introduction” and the first filter to overcome. There are 5 keys that will help to improve it:

  1. Be brief: The software that manages emails sets a limit of 80 characters, any more than that and the text will be cut. What is more, smartphones only display the first five or six words. Beyond these ‘technical’ impositions, it is important to be concise and direct. Experts recommend summarizing in some 40-50 characters (about 10 words) and, of course, putting the most important word at the beginning.
  2. Be appealing: It is essential to stand out from the very many emails in your client’s inbox. The email must be original and arouse curiosity. A good tactic is to try to communicate a feeling of urgency as a “prompt to action”. For example, “Last day to…”, “Only today…”. Apparently, the open rate increases with the use of numbers: “5000 people think like you”, for example. However overuse of exclamation marks, using too many special characters, or words like “free”, can prejudice your efforts, resulting in your message ending up in the Spam folder.
  3. Vary every mailing: Using the same or very similar subject lines for each email is an error; it becomes routine and your recipients will lose interest. Varying enables “communication” with recipients.
  4. “Personalise it”: We shy away from mails which are too ‘businessy’ or commercial, so it is a good idea to use tactics such as including the name of the recipient or addressing the customer in first person.
  5. Do not lie or create false expectations: It is one thing to make your message attractive and quite another to rely on a false claim.

The key lies in testing and experimenting with email subject lines until finding what improves results.

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