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Here’s how to write a great email subject line

Want to know how to hook your customers with your subject line? Email campaigns are one of the best marketing tools out there, but they will only work if your customers take the time to read what you send them.

It might be tempting to place all your energy into the copy of your email, but your subject line is as -if not more- important. After all, if your customers are not interested enough to open your emails, then what you write inside them won’t matter.

With that in mind, here are four ways to write effective subject lines which grab customer attention.

1. Get active

Use actionable, active language in your subject lines. Incorporate verbs whenever you like, such as become, begin, choose, find, save, buy.

Hook your customers in with the promise that this email will in some way empower them. Your goal is to let your customer know what they can do if they open the email. Are you selling a limited-edition item? Are you offering a free guide, or a product update?

Instead of passively writing ‘Tickets on sale’, actively write ‘Get your limit edition tickets now!’, or ‘Don’t miss out on tickets.

Let customers know exactly what they can gain by opening your email.

2. Be relevant!

Customize your emails to suit the people you’re sending them to. This doesn’t just mean inserting ‘Dear x’ at the beginning of what you write, but segmenting your emails to suit your customer’s needs.

For example, imagine you own a landscaping company. You won’t have only one kind of person on your email list! Some will have small yards, some will have large yards, some will have already bought services from you before and some might be waiting for the perfect moment to buy.

It simply would not make sense to send a diverse group of customers an identical email.

Someone looking to buy some garden plants will not be interested in opening an email about your $5,000 Christmas package. Split your customers into groups and make sure your email subject lines are relevant to what they’re looking for!

3. Be clear!

It can be tempting to focus on humour above all else. Maybe you have a great idea for a pun, or a wordplay.

But jokes only work when they make sense.

When it comes to writing your email subject lines, clarity is essential above all else. Write something that is clear and concise, and then -if it still makes sense- infuse some catchiness.

Your customers should know exactly what they’ll get when they open the email. It is nice to make them laugh or look twice, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of comprehension and relevance.

4. Avoid exaggeration!

Have you heard of clickbait? Don’t do it!

An email subject line is only effective if what you promise is followed up on in the email. Otherwise, customers will open an email from you once or twice, and then lose interest.

If you are hooking them in with a news story about a cat, write about the cat in your email! Don’t deceive people or force them to jump through hoops. If your email subject line promises an exclusive 20% discount, give them the 20% off.

Avoid phrases such as ‘the most incredible…’, ‘you’ve never seen anything like this’, and ‘absolutely amazing’. They might look good, but chances are you’re not actually writing about the most incredible thing ever in your email. Consumers see these phrases so often that they have lost all meaning.

Instead, stay short, snappy, and honest.

Carefully think about your work choices. Be clear and concise, don’t exaggerate, and follow through on any promises you make. A great subject line could be what secures you your next sale.

- Lena Klein

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