Printworx Blog

Email Subject Lines: A One-Trick Pony You Can Ride to the Winner’s Circle

Kathy Dickinson - Saturday, October 13, 2012
Email marketing continues to be one of today’s most economical and cost-effective marketing tactics. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that the ROI on email marketing remains far above that of search or other marketing channels. But before readers dive into any email message, they must deem it time-worthy, typically with a cursory (and highly critical) glance at the email subject line. The subject line has one job and one job only: to get your email opened. If it fails, your cleverly crafted content is off to the glue factory. If it works, you’re in the run for the roses, perhaps on the fast track to higher open rates, more sales and increased retention. Use these tips get out of the gate quickly and increase your odds of finishing strong:
  1. Choose clarity over cleverness. Email service provider AWeber says that clear beats clever every time. One study conducted on thousands of their own emails showed that straightforward email subject lines generated, on average, 541% higher open rates across multiple social and online channels that their more (intentionally) creative counterparts.
  2. Be brief and get to the point. The email subject line should succinctly tell readers what your email is about. Keep it to no more than 50 or 60 characters. Put your most important information first so it doesn’t get overlooked.
  3. Avoid these three words. Most integrated marketers already work from a “words to avoid” list. However, if “Help,” “Reminder,” and “Percent Off” aren’t on the list, they should be. According to studies by MailChimp, another well-known email company, these words have a measurable chilling effect on email open rates.
  4. Include your company or brand name. Obvious but often overlooked, this tactic adds credibility by showing readers that you’re not a no-name spammer who hides behind subject line hype and hoopla.
Regardless of campaign size or complexity, email subject lines have the same job: to convince readers they need the information contained therein. Use the tips above (and others posted here) to make your emails the favorite to win customer attention, not the long shot.
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