Email subject lines are so short, and yet so important to your sales strategy. After all, if a client doesn’t open an email, your efforts to turn that person into a customer will end right there, before they’ve even begun.
When reaching out to your email list, you are seeking to get as many potential customers to open your emails as possible. This will increase the visitors to your site and therefore your sales. But if your subject lines are bad, those emails are just ending up in junk folders.
Fortunately, good subject lines aren’t rocket science — you just have to implement a few best practices first. This guide will break down the fundamentals of good subject lines and how to create ones that will get a response from your readers.
What makes a catchy email subject line for sales?
Creating catchy subject lines is an important part of email marketing best practices. Here are three characteristics of a good one.
A good email subject line should utilize language in a clever or novel way. It should capture the imagination of users, perhaps by featuring a creative play on words. The subject line shouldn’t be predictable — it should catch the reader off-guard and make them think in a new and unique way.
A solid subject line is persuasive — it engages the attention of users and forces them to consider your proposal. It compels the user to take action in some fashion, and makes the reader want to find out more about what you’re offering. It should not raise red flags that drive the reader away.
The reader should get a strong sense from the subject line of what kind of content they’ll get if they venture further into your email or to your website. It doesn’t waste time or mislead, and it demonstrates potential value to the reader. Avoid the bait-and-switch approach, which will turn off potential customers.
7 tips for crafting the best email subject lines for sales
So how do you create that perfect email subject line that is sure to get potential customers to open and read your email? Here are seven tips that are sure to boost your open rate.
1. Be authentic
Always convey authenticity in your email. Be honest about what your value proposition is for the user and don’t try to trick them into opening it. Express your humanity and seek to build a relationship with your customer that is mutually beneficial. Deemphasize selling and focus more on relationship building, which leads to trust and therefore sales down the road.
2. Less is more
Long subject lines leading to dense content is certain to turn off readers. Be brief in your subject lines, striving for four words or fewer. Provide only the most essential information, and don’t waste the reader’s time. A customer will appreciate this approach and will be more likely to reward you with a click.
3. Connect on a human level
Remember, there is a human at the other end of your message, not a number. Think about how your subject line would come across if you were in their shoes. Would you click, or skim over it to the next email — or, worse, would you mark it as junk? Provide value that will make the customer’s life easier, and avoid treating people as a commodity. They will sense a lack of interest in them as a person, and be turned off as a result.
4. Customize it
Whenever possible, customize your message for the individual customer. Seek a human connection and see if you can slip the actual name of the customer into the subject line — like "Tom, X product is now in stock." This cuts through the noise of all the spammy emails in your customer’s inbox. Most email marketing software options are capable of this level of customization.
5. Demonstrate value
Demonstrate the value of your product or service clearly so that a customer can easily distinguish why they should click through to your email. Avoid cliches and refrain from a hard sale approach. The subject line should clearly indicate what the customer is going to get from you by clicking and that it is in their best interest, not yours.
6. Don’t pressure
While urgency is important, avoid pressuring your customer to click through. This gives a spammy feel to the message and makes it more likely the email will be ignored or marked as junk. Simply focus on demonstrating value and avoid panicky, breathless appeals to "immediately click through — or else."
7. Prioritize integrity
Avoid using "click-bait" approaches and tricking customers with a saucy subject line that isn’t backed up by the content of your email. You may temporarily boost your open rate this way, but your conversion rate will suffer and you’ll have wasted a lot of valuable marketing time and money on this approach. Focus on honesty and building relationships rather than on approaches that value shoving as many visitors in the door as possible.
3 examples of click-worthy email subject lines for sales
The best way to come up with your own subject lines is to look at some great email marketing examples. These examples incorporate the tips above and should demonstrate what it takes to get readers’ attention.
1. Cold approaches
In these situations, you have no previous relationship with the customer and they generally don’t know who you are. Here are some examples of subject lines that work best when starting from scratch with a potential customer:
- Referral from (name of shared contact)
- (Name of shared contact) suggested we connect
- X steps to add value
- X ways to achieve (stated goal of client)
2. Follow-up approaches
In this approach, you’ve made an initial pitch or had a consultation with the potential client, so they know who you are. Now, you’re trying to reconnect with that potential customer and deepen that relationship. Here are some examples of good subject lines in this scenario:
- (Name), here is the requested information
- Next steps
- Checking in on progress
- Reaching out to help
3. Thank-you messages
A thank-you message is used to express gratitude and to further develop the relationship you have with the customer. It could be sent after a purchase, or after the client has listened to your proposal. Either way, the goal is to remind them you exist and ensure they keep you in mind the next time they want to make a purchase. Here are some good subject lines in this scenario:
- It’s been a pleasure
- Look forward to continuing our relationship
- Thank you for (your business, our meeting, etc.)
- Enjoyed our conversation
Use software to enhance your email marketing campaign
Fortunately, today’s email software tools are more advanced than ever, allowing you to easily customize email campaigns, test different approaches, and generally improve your email list management.
If you don’t have any specialized software, or aren’t happy with what you have, now’s the time to explore different software options to see if you like what they have to offer. Try out a few options first before settling on one. Once you find the right fit, it could revolutionize your email marketing efforts.