Improving Email Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates

Improving Email Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates

Improving Email Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates

First impressions mean everything, don’t let mediocre subject lines send the wrong message.

When it comes to email marketing, the subject line you choose will make or break your open rates. Subject lines need to be direct to get the main message across while still being enticing enough for someone to click into the email. Don’t forget, you’ve got to cover all the basics in a limited amount of characters. 

That’s why the art of the email subject line can be a tough one to master. Many find that writing a witty, eye-catching subject line can be difficult, but then trying to incorporate the most important details as well — it can be the hardest part of a copy writer’s job.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover in this article to help you nail your email subject lines every time for the best results. 

  • A quick look at why email marketing is an important digital marketing tactic
  • The important statistics on why you should spend time developing the best email subject lines you can
  • Best practices to improve your email metrics and continue to see an increase in conversions 

The Facts: Email Marketing Statistics 

Many people think that with all the new technology available, email marketing is losing its appeal. But the fact of the matter is that email is still the most used communication source with over 92% of adults using email and 61% of those using it nearly every day.

Email marketing will provide companies with a higher ROI than any other marketing tactic out there. Nearly doubling the return from SEO and internet display marketing, it’s clear that email is still one of the best investments a company can make. Image courtesy of Business2Community.

In addition to the sheer number of email users, email marketing provides a higher return on investment (ROI) than many other marketing tactics. Emails bring in an ROI of $40 per $1 spent. That’s higher than catalogs, SEO, and mobile — meaning it outperforms print and the other digital options available.  

And just to help let the importance of email marketing set in, here are a few more email statistics to help you justify spending time on perfecting your email subject lines. 

  • There are around 3.8 million email users around the world
  • Email is 40 times more effective for customer acquisition than social media
  • Messages are 5x more likely to be seen through email than on social media 
  • Nearly half of all emails are opened on a mobile device
  • Abandonment emails sent within an hour can increase conversion rates by over 6%
  • Welcome emails have an open rate of 82%
  • 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content via email
Email marketing still outperforms social media as a top-performing marketing tactic. Not only do people prefer to receive content via email, but the content is also more likely to be read when received as an email. Social media channels are a great marketing tactic, but when compared to email it comes in second. Image courtesy of Social Media Today.

Now that we’ve got the importance of email out of the way, let’s take a quick look at the importance of email subject lines. 

Why Email Subject Lines Are Important in Your Email Marketing

The subject line. It’s the first thing that your subscriber sees and is often the deciding factor on whether to read the email, delete it, or even mark it as spam. Done right, you can see increases in conversions and sales. But done wrong, you’ll see higher unsubscriber rates and get marked as spam. 

So keep in mind that if the subject line is boring or too run of the mill, there’s a good chance your open and click-through rates will reflect that. On the other hand, if you put too many promotional words or phrases into the mix it might come off as spam and never make it to the user’s inbox.

Character limits are often a constraint when it comes to email marketing. If the subject line is too long, it might not show the entire message to the user, but if it’s too short you might not be getting the full message through. Follow the industry best practices and get crafty when it comes to content to make the most out of your subject line. Image courtesy of Brandon Gaille.

When done right, your email subject lines can change the outcome of your email marketing strategy. Let’s take a quick look at some of the statistics you’ll likely see when getting your email subject lines right. 

  • 69% of emails are reported as spam based on the subject line
  • 47% of users open emails based on the subject line
  • Personalization improves click-through rates by 14%
  • Using emojis and symbols result in higher open rates for 56% of brands
  • Using statistics in a subject line is likely to result in an open rate that is 2-4% higher than average
  • Preview text is still important, 24% of people will look at preview text when deciding to open an email 
  • Subject lines with 40 characters or less often have the highest open rates
Personalizing your email marketing can improve both click-through and conversion rates. Taking the time to learn what your customers want and personalizing their emails and subject lines to their wants and needs you can expect to see an increase in your email marketing metrics. Image courtesy of Neil Patel.

With stats like this, it’s easy to see why spending a little extra time developing your email subject lines is so important. By understanding your customers and knowing what phrases and words to avoid, you’ll be on your way to increasing conversions and improving your metrics. 

A Few Subject Line Best Practices

Now let’s talk more about how you can improve your email subject lines. While there is no magic wand you can wave over your emails to make them all top performers, there are a few things you can do to improve the chances of users opening them. Let’s take a look at two of the most effective ways to make your subject lines more clickable. 

Short and Simple Subject Lines

As mentioned above, short subject lines tend to outperform. This is likely due to the limit put on subject lines based on the email provider and whether the user is checking their email on a desktop or mobile. 

Consider this example when thinking about how content will appear on a desktop versus a mobile device.

Knowing how your subject lines will look on both mobile and desktop is important to get the most out of your emails. The good news is that the big-ticket item, the 20% off coupon, is promoted at the beginning of the subject line, so customers know what the deal is.

Target sent emails promoting their Black Friday deals. While on a desktop, the user can read the entire message, but on mobile, the very end of the message gets cut off. Luckily, most people can tell that the missing words revolve around Black Friday, and the discount is spelled out right away. 

If you write a long subject line, the user will only see as much as the email provider allows them. Meaning that some of the content of the message could be missing, such as in the example above. If you do choose to write a long subject line, make sure that the most important information is at the beginning of the subject line so the user sees it. 

Content is the Most Important Factor

The content in your subject lines needs to be on point. You’ll want to write catchy content that lets the user know what the benefit of opening the email is. That means putting the most important words and phrases at the beginning of the message and keeping it concise. Taking a second look at the content may help you identify unnecessary content to help cut down the length and get straight to the point. 

Adding emojis and symbols is another way to build interest around your email subject lines. More and more companies are starting to experiment with emojis in their subject lines and it seems to be paying off. Many brands are seeing increased click-through and open rates simply by adding emojis to their subject lines.

Emojis can add an extra touch to email subject lines by giving them a little more personality. They also can help catch a subscriber’s attention as they are scrolling through their long list of emails.

Using emojis, such as these companies did, can help catch a reader’s eye and adds a little extra personality and flair to the emails. The example with Groupon lets you know without even reading the rest of the email it has to do with wine. While the Keds example catches your eye and piques your interest in why there are eyes creeping in the subject line. 

Get Started Improving Your Subject Lines Today

Nailing your subject lines isn’t as hard as it may seem. By spending a little extra time at the drawing board and coming up with a few different options, you’ll find that improving subject lines is possible. Keeping character limits in mind and creating unique content that stands out from the crowd, you’ll quickly start to see an increase in conversion rates.

An email is an important tool in your digital marketing toolbox, take the time to test different options and find the solution that works best for your customer base. We promise you’ll be happy with the results once you’ve gained an understanding of what resonates with your subscriber base.