Most of us are bombarded with dozens if not hundreds of emails every day. As such we have developed a radar and and hit delete when we sense an email is just trying to sell us something.
So how do you make it past the headline defense system and get your marketing emails opened? It’s all in the email subject line.
Mailchimp analyzed more than 40 million emails sent and singled out the ones with the highest and lowest open rates. The highest open rates were between 60-87% while the lowest performers were in the 1-14% range.
Do a quick side-by-side comparison of each pile and you will start to see a pattern emerge.
So, what did you notice?
On the “best” side, the subject lines are pretty straightforward. They are not particularly magical but they are also not salesy or pushy. On the “worst” side, however, you’ll notice how the subject lines are just trying too hard, they want to be flashy. They might look more creative, but their open rates are horrible because they feel like SPAM.
So what is the magic formula to write good email campaign subject lines?
There isn’t a magical formula but there is some solid advice: Keep it simple. Email subject lines that work are the ones that simply describe what’s inside the email.
This does not mean you have to stifle all your creativity or never try to sell, just be sure to deliver what you promise. If users signed up to receive your monthly newsletter, then that is what they want. They do not want to receive a ton of emails that that say, “Open this! 30% off now!!!”
That said, if they asked for special offers then it might be a different story. If your subscribers specifically opt in to receive discounts and promotions from your company, then full steam ahead. They expect a “hard sell” from you and look forward to seeing what deals you have to offer.
It is also important to know your brand and your subscribers. That is why it important to have good buyer personas, so you know what will appeal to your subscribers. For example, we received an email from ThinkGeek last week. The subject line read, “May the fourth be with you” (a not so inside joke for Star Wars fans). ThinkGeek clearly knows its audience and its brand.
The idea is to gain trust, not trick your subscribers. Create a separate opt-in list for those who want to receive promotional emails only. You do not want to lose devoted fans because they no longer trust you.
Writing good email campaign subject lines is easy. Just deliver simple subject lines that accurately reflect what is inside the email. Stay true to your brand and know your audience. It’s just that simple.