How to Increase Email Open Rates With a Strong Subject Line

email marketing

The subject line of an email can be seen as a door to your business. A good email subject line gets the recipient itching to open your email, thus opening the door for business, whereas a bad subject line can quickly send your email to the trash folder. We have tips to help you know how to write an effective subject line, so your emails can combat the spam filter and win over busy email recipients.

Make It Short

Write short, intriguing, and straight to the point email subject lines. The majority of email providers only display 50 characters for subject lines, so anything after the 50th character goes unseen. These characters include letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation, so it’s important to make the most of them. Ensure they pack a powerful enough punch to get the recipient to open your email to see what the body of the message contains.

Choose Words Carefully

Some words trigger the spam filter, which sends your email straight to the junk folder, where it is usually left unseen. Know what words trigger the spam filter so you can avoid using them in your subject lines so you make sure your email makes it to inboxes. According to Forbes, some of the top words that trigger the spam filter include the following:

  • Shipping!
  • Today!
  • Here!
  • Available
  • Online!

As you’ll notice, each of these have exclamation points next to them, which Forbes explains comes from spammers. Symantec’s Mathew Nisbet correlates this with sending a sense of urgency along with your email. We don’t suggest using any of these words. Instead, look for words that carry the same meaning to portray what you want to.

Learn From What Works

Go through your own email account and look at the emails you have saved in your various folders. Review your trash folder; identify emails you read and ones you deleted without even opening. Take note of the word choices, length of subject lines, or other characteristics that made you take the action you did. Use your own behaviors as guidelines for writing effective email subject lines.

State the Benefits

Write subject lines that show readers how they’ll benefit from opening the email. We are all busy and all get bombarded with hundreds of emails and notifications wanting our attention, so it’s common to wonder “What’s in it for me?” when you get an email. Readers want to know upfront what they get out of opening and reading your email. You can also use the email subject line to tell them what you want them to do after reading your email. An example is “Shop now for big savings.” You want them to shop now, and they benefit from doing so by saving money.

Run A/B Email Testing

Test your subject lines by splitting the email list in half. Create one subject line for the first half of the list (group A) and write a different subject line for the second half of the list (group B). The body of the email is the same for both groups. Monitor the open rates of the two different groups to see if one subject line receives a higher open rate than the other. If you do have a higher open rate with one group, try to mimic the characteristics of that subject line when writing subject lines for future campaigns.

When you write effective subjects lines, you can increase the open rates of your email marketing campaigns and use this tool to help boost your sales. Sticking to the rules on the length, choosing the right words, and avoiding words that set off the spam filters help ensure your subject lines are more effective and your content gets in front of more eyes.

Aaron Gunderson

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