5 Ways To Craft Killer Email Subject Lines That Boost Your Open Rates!

  • By Andy Fox

For any Marketer, one thing that's more painful than not having enough people on your email list, is having a huge list, with very few people actually opening your emails! 

And most of the time it largely depends on the ‘Email Subject Lines’ to captivate your subscribers and intrigue them enough to go ahead and open your emails to read the content. 

An average person is destined to receive 147 messages in the inbox each day, and they're only going to take notice and open the ones with the subject line that gets them excited and fuels their curiosity. 

When 69% of email recipients report email as ‘spam’ and 35% of them open email based on the subject line alone, it pays to put in the time and effort to craft ‘killer’ subject lines that are irresistible to simply pass over.  

Let’s look into some nifty ways we can craft our email subject lines to increase your email open rates:

1.  Personalisation wins every time!

Now who doesn't love the sound of their own name? Personalising subject lines with the recipient’s name or other location identities immediately prompts people to read their emails. As per Science of Email, emails having subject lines with names of the recipient’s name has higher click-through rate than ones that don’t.  

Rather than going with the line, ‘Conversion Rate Optimisation Techniques’, it's always much better to say, “Karen, we’d like to share this new technique….” This adds a bit more feeling of rapport and closeness with the message. 

Another trick would be to use the subscriber’s info to bring about a more personal touch and care. For instance, ‘Happy Birthday Matt – Have we got a surprise for you!”. Using both the name and matching the birthday timing, will definitely bring about a feeling of ‘being valued’ and ‘being special’ to your subscriber, who will happily clickthrough to read the email. 

Besides referring to names, another good practice is to use ‘you’ or ‘your’ in the subject line to mimic the essence of addressing the recipients directly and to give a sense that you know them more than just their email addresses.

2.  Addressing prospects’ ‘challenge’ or ‘pain points’

An immediate ‘trigger’ for opening emails is to point to a challenge your prospect/buyer is facing and relate with a value you can provide. 

For instance, if your buyer is a Sales Manager managing over 100 sales reps in a company, your email subject line could be: “Brian, here’s how to train your Reps to funnel more Qualified Leads”. 

Such lines would instantly align with your prospect’s pain points, and when Brian clicks through to read the mail, you can give him more value by linking him to an eBook, a Blog post, a Webinar, etc. that provides the solution to the challenge. 

Most buyer’s pain points and challenges can be determined from their previous interactions with your brand, for example; the eBooks they downloaded, blogposts they visited or comments they posted, etc. 

If the subscriber/lead is new with little ‘inbound foot prints’, it's always safe to address other challenges which resonates with your typical ‘buyer personas’

3.  ‘Sender Line’ matters too!

Would you open up an email from an unfamiliar sender? Well, no one likes to entertain someone you hardly know of, even though the ‘subject line’ is good enough, because we're already skeptical given the number of spam mails and ‘bait’ mails from robotic senders, which bombard our inboxes. 

For instance, even generic email addresses from reputed brands such as Hub Spot with sender lines like ‘Hub Spot’ were found to have lower click-through rates, than the ones that mentioned a marketing personnel’s name, such as "Maggie Georgieva, Hub Spot". 

Another sender name to avoid is the noreply@company.com format, as it makes the mail less personable and refrains prospects from adding your mail to their address book.

In time, when you consistently send valuable information to the subscribers and build credibility via your name and your brand, people will open the emails because they recognise and value YOU, regardless of the content you put in the subject line.

4.  Playing the ‘Urgency’ Card – The clock is ticking…

Subject lines that give a sense of urgency and exclusivity are said to give 22% higher open rate. Lines that say, “in the next 24 hours” or, “last chance to claim your discount…” will encourage the recipients to act immediately, if they intend to avail the offer anytime soon. 

It's one of the psychological triggers that enable buyers to take action, in fear of ‘missing out’ on the offer. Similar subject lines like,  “Are you still interested in (solving X Challenge)?” with an alert explaining that this is the last time you’ll hear from them before closing open accounts, will nudge the ones who are genuinely interested in your products/services, and will motivate them to take action or send a response. 

The other psychological principles are ‘scarcity’ and ‘social proof’, both equally good in increasing your email open rates.

5.  Make it about them – Hyper relevant!

This is about taking the ‘personalising’ game into the next level. Say you like going to the ‘karaoke’ bar once in a while to wind down with friends, and to your surprise one day in your inbox you find an email with the subject line, “Catherine, let me know if you’re up for a chat over a karaoke, sometime?” 

Would that not make you jump to your feet and immediately read the email? Yes, that’s the power of making your subject line ‘hyper relevant’. However, you need to do a bit more research on your leads/buyers to make this a success. 

A good place to check out, would be personal sites or ‘about me’ pages of the leads, where they’ve mused about their personal interests and hobbies. A good example is from HubSpot’s growth marketer, David Ly Khim, when he instantaneously opened an email titled ‘Bourbon?’ 

Turns out, David had mentioned about his preference of coffee and bourbon in his ‘about me’ page, and the sales person was smart enough to do the research and weave the info to make the subject line hyper relevant! 

However, if you go for too personal or sensitive issues, this practice could backfire and you could present yourself as a ‘creepy’ character, rather than friendly one.

So there you have it. Let's know how these tips work for you in increasing your email clickthrough and open rates. The idea is to cultivate a consistent practice of writing a benefit-rich, curiosity-provoking subject lines and constantly testing to learn what works with your audience and user personas. 

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is element7digital.com.au

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au