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You may not think of them as headlines, but that’s essentially what they are.
Your readers see a list of subject lines in their inbox and based on this they decide what they want to open and read and what goes straight to the trash bin.
When you start to think of email subject lines as yet another type of headline, it will become easier to craft the kind that will get your readers to open your emails.
Why Interesting Email Subject Lines Are Important
The most obvious reason why email subject lines are important is because they are what makes our readers open the email – or not. But it doesn’t stop there.
The subject line also sets the tone for the whole email and gives the reader an idea of what to expect in the body of the mailing.
Subject lines help our readers keep an open mind for what we have to share with them.
They make them curious, they make them think, and they make them anticipate what’s to come.
Those are very good frames of mind that get subscribers ready to read and more importantly take whatever action we want them to take once they are done reading.
Subject lines are one of the most integral parts of email marketing. In case you’re new to this, the money really is in the list.
Crafting Subject Lines That Stand Out From The Crowd
Do me a favor and open your email. Take a quick glance at your inbox.
For most of us, there’s a lot of email in there with dozens more being added to the mix each day. That’s a lot of competition.
Unless these are all work emails that you get paid to read and deal with, chances are that many of them remain unopened.
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Quite a few of them land in the trash without ever being clicked on.
You may have every intention of getting around to reading them eventually, but as they move further and further down the page, they are quickly forgotten.
Only a small percentage of email gets opened anymore these days. This is true even for the emails you send out to readers who after all have explicitly signed up for them in the first place.
We’re bombarded by more email each day than we can process. So we pick and choose.
The way we pick and choose is by who the email is from and the subject line. You don’t have a lot of control over who your emails are from, but you do have a lot of control over the subject line.
If you can convey enough to earn that click, your subject line will have done its job. Everything else you write in the email or the pages you link to in your emails doesn’t matter. That’s why it’s important.
Create A Swipe File
One of the best ways to write great email subject lines that get your emails opened is to get inspiration from other great email marketers.
Pay attention to the marketing emails you get.
Sign up for a few lists in your niche and start collecting good email examples. Save them in a folder of your email program or create a label for them in Gmail.
Once you’ve collected quite a few good examples start using them. Look at a great subject line and then change it around and make it work for your purposes.
Use it as inspiration and study it to learn more about email copywriting. Keep adding to the swipe file and keep coming back to it as needed.
Over time it will make you a better and better email copywriter.
What Gets Your Own Attention?
Pay particular attention to the types of emails that are getting your own attention. What’s making you open a particular promotional email? If you can narrow down what that is, you can learn a lot from it.
The last step of the process is to find a way to translate what’s working for you into something that will work for your target market.
You may have to spend a little time getting to know them and practice putting yourself in their shoes.
Review Your Stats and Open Rates
Another great way to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t is to review your email stats and open rates.
The most important thing when it comes to figuring out what subject lines work well is open rates. The emails with the highest open rates overall will likely have the best subject lines.
Look through the stats and see what you can learn. Maybe there’s a certain type of subject line that your readers respond well to.
Maybe it’s a particular topic or keyword that gets their interest and has them opening those emails. If so, use that word or topic more often.
Learn what you can from the data you’re collecting.
Go back and revisit often to learn more over time.
It won’t take you long to hone your email copywriting skills and come up with more subject lines your subscribers will love to open.
Learning From Testing
Set up some tests. Most good auto-responder services allow you to split test your emails.
If yours doesn’t, send two similar emails with different subject lines to your list and see which one gets the better open rates.
Test as much as possible. You’ll learn a lot in the process.
That being said, it doesn’t work the same for all niches.
It doesn’t work the same for all target markets and audiences.
Most importantly, it may or may not work for your subscribers. The only way to find out and learn more is to test as much as possible.
Save The Pushy Stuff For When It’s Really Worth It
There are some pushy and sensational headlines out there and they will work – if used in moderation.
Chances are good that you have some pretty powerful examples of them in your swipe file already. If you don’t … time to get to get to work on them.
Subject lines like “Do Not Open This Email!” for example will work.
And they will work extremely well the first time you use them.
But if you overuse them, or worse, if you use them in a way that doesn’t serve your readers or makes them annoyed when they open the email only to find a sales pitch for something they’re not interested in right now, those pushy subject lines will do more harm than good.
Use them sparingly and use them when and where it makes sense.
Use pushier and attention-grabbing emails for these types of scenarios when getting a couple hundred more opens on your emails will make a real difference to your bottom line.
Make sure you let plenty of time go by before you try another pushy subject line. It also helps to mix them up and try something new.
Your most successful subject lines will continue to do well for you if you use them no more than once or twice a year. Save them for when it really counts.
Check out these posts for tips on how to write killer headlines:
Leave us a comment, we would love to know what helps you create killer email subject lines!
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