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5 Types of Email Subject Lines that Get Opened vs. Ignored

Posted on Dec 6, 2016 11:30:00 AM by Michael Kiel

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While kids are taught “not to judge a book by its cover,” most grown-ups have long since abandoned this wise advice, and as such determine if an email is worth their time based on its subject line. To help you boost engagement and avoid the dreaded trash or spam folders, here are 5 types of email subject lines that get opened vs. ignored: 

Subject Lines that Get Opened #1: Short & Sweet

While it can be a challenge, it’s important to keep subject lines short; especially since a growing number of people are glancing at emails from their smartphone. The folks at MailChimp suggest keeping subject lines 50 characters or less.

Subject Lines that Get Opened #2: Ask a Question

Curiosity is compelling! Asking a relevant and timely question that will be answered in (or through) the email can significantly boost open rates. It can also create a sense of engagement and interest that improves interactions (i.e. what recipients do after they open and read the email).

Subject Lines that Get Opened #3: Offer Advice

Who doesn’t want useful and relevant advice from an expert? Conveying this promise in a subject line (“5 ways to save big on your next Vegas vacation”) can help the email stand out and apart, and get clicked on vs. ignored.

Subject Lines that Get Opened #4: Get Personal

Using a recipient’s first name in the email subject line can send open rates through the roof. If this isn’t possible or desirable for some reason, then it’s still a good idea to engage recipients directly. As advised by Yahoo for Small Business: “We are all battling information overload. One of the fastest ways we filter out marketing messages is by discarding communications that feel generic and canned. Personalizing your subject line is an effective method for increasing your open rates, and it can be as simple as using the word "you".

Subject Lines that Get Opened #5: Make it Urgent

Even if recipients are interested in reading an email, they may put if off until later – and then forget about it entirely. An effective way to mitigate this risk is by conveying a sense of urgency in the subject line. This can be about a promotion (“Last chance to save”), an issue (“Don’t get back into your car without doing this first”), etc.

A Warning About Spam Filters

Spam filters are a love-hate thing. We all love them because it means we aren’t drilled on a daily basis by dubious pharmaceutical ads, and bizarre claims of prizes and money "You've just won $5000!"  (or some variation thereof).

However, spam filters aren’t rocket scientists. Sometimes they grab legitimate emails. To avoid this from happening, it’s generally a good idea to avoid words like: free, buy, opportunity, money, and so on. Even if there is a valid and logical reason to use these words, avoiding them is usually a good idea (as you can see, it’s fine for articles and other content!).

Learn More

At Leap Clixx, we develop and manage email marketing campaigns for customers across the country, and regularly generate well above-market/industry open rates. To learn more and schedule your free consultation, contact us today.

Also, check out our FREE eBook "A Guide to Inbound Marketing Best Practices" for more helpful information and tips!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing