5 Tips for Writing an Eye-Catching Email Subject Line

How many times did your mother ever tell you, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? 

Arm reaching through pieces of paper reading "SPAM", holding a piece of paper reading "EMAIL"

How many times did your mother ever tell you, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”?  Mother really does know best, because first impressions count.  While she may not have been referring to email marketing, it still holds true and such timeless advice can have timely implications.

The “first impression” that we’re talking about is actually a single line that often gets overlooked in email marketing strategy: the subject line.  And this little one-liner can make a BIG impact on your email marketing effectiveness.

When written well, a good email subject line can beckon your recipient to give your email the attention it deserves.  When written poorly, your email can end up in the trash, or worse- in the spam folder, where it barely stands a chance at being seen.  Here are some tips that will help assure that your emails won’t get deleted in the first crucial moments of being received:

1. Keep it Short and Sweet. For some of us, it is very tempting to include more than necessary.  Try to limit your email subject line to no more than 45 characters to ensure that most of your readers will be able to view your full subject line.

2. Avoid the “essence of SPAM”. Certain keywords will steer your emails away from the eyes of your customer and straight into the dreaded SPAM folder.  Words like “free”, “act now”, “credit”, and “offer” are usually red flags to spam filters.  And whatever you do, DON’T WRITE AN EMAIL SUBJECT LINE IN ALL CAPS.

3. Be Clear. Have you ever purchased a giant bag of chips, and been disappointed when you saw the bag was only half full?  That’s how your readers will feel if you use an email subject line full of promises and expectations that your content doesn’t deliver.  If you have a heart, don’t ever do this to your recipients.

4. Make your Subject “Active”. Bring your email subject line to life with an action line.  Beginning your email subject line with verbs like “Learn”, Download”, or “Sign Up” convey a sense of urgency and necessary interaction with your email.

5. Practice “Headline” Writing. News writers probably make great email writers, because they already know a key skill in subject-line writing: always give the most important fact germane to your content in the “headline”.  Your email recipients don’t have much time, so you want to give them the most clear and to-the-point summary as possible in the subject line.

While there is no magic formula for writing a perfect email subject line, when they are done right, they can turn recipients into loyal email subscribers.  Just remember to put your best face forward, and be sure to register for Infomedia’s upcoming all-about-email workshop, Email Marketing 101, on September 22nd.  (Because subject lines aren’t everything, you know!)

About Jerry

Jerry is not afraid of a good fight. Not with other people mind you, but with your competition. He loves to help our clients get web traffic and high search engine rankings for terms that are usually dominated by big box retailers and Fortune 500 companies. This doesn't happen overnight, but when it does, it will transform your business. He is one of the pioneers (he hates that term) of Web Marketing in Alabama and is scary good in his understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, analytics, and online user behavior. You definitely want him in your corner. See more articles from Jerry Brown

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