Author: Darcy Raven
In this day and age, writing emails is common practice. Whether you are sending a professional email, a friendly email, or a casual email to say hello, you should always take the time to come up with a worthy subject line. Email subject lines are usually the only thing email recipients can see in their inbox, therefore a subject line could be the deciding factor in whether someone opens or ignores an email. So if you are going to take the time to write an email, also take the time to come up with a subject line that will grab the recipient's attention.
Here at The Job Shop we worked and continue to work hard creating emails that our subscribers will enjoy, however we noticed that, even when providing great content, we don’t always get the clicks we expected or wanted–and that could be due to the subject line.
It can be hard to come up with a good subject line. There are an infinite amount of word combinations, email subjects, and ideas, which can be overwhelming and sometimes too much to think about, especially after perfecting the body of the email. So to make things easier, I have a list to help you and your subject line choices.
When you are looking for the right subject line, remember to use S.U.B.J.E.C.T.L.I.N.E.S. as an easy how-to guide.
S. Snappy – Your subject line should be readable at a glance, so keep all subject lines short and sweet. Around 6 words and 40 characters is the optimal length. Sometimes subject lines that use only a word or two can get the most engagement because they stand out and can easily be identified through the hundreds of emails in someone’s inbox.
U. Urgency – If there is a deadline or a time constraint, put it in your subject line and use urgent language. By having your prompt in your subject line, you’ve set expectations, and readers are more likely to act in the way you want them to. Either way, make sure your audience feels as though they must open your email immediately, or else they’ll miss out.
B. Bold – Use strong, creative, impactful statements to grab attention, and consider alliteration and rhyming. Alliteration is alluring and rhyming is riveting. Subject lines like these tend to stick out amongst a sea of subject lines because we’re attracted to rhythmic sounds, words, and letters.
J. Joke – Make your readers laugh by coming up with a funny subject line. But be careful! Humor is different for everyone, and it can be a touchy thing, especially if you’re trying to appeal to the masses. But if you have targeted emails to an audience you know, then a well-placed joke can get your email opened and can earn major reputation points with folks on your email list.
E. Emotional – If you have a sensitive issue, like a cause you are fighting for or a nonprofit, then make sure that is clear. Use a subject line that plays with one's emotions, pulling on heartstrings or creating a sense of fear of missing out.
C. Celebratory – Announce something new and exciting. If you have something new and exciting to share about your business or organization, channel that enthusiasm into your subject line. Don't over do it on the announcements though, not every subject line is going to offer breaking news. Announcements should be saved for when you really have something important to talk about.
T. Tease – Pique interest and intrigue in your subject line. Teasing your reader with a hint of what's to come without giving all the answers away creates a curiosity gap. A ‘Curiosity Gap’ is a void in knowledge that can only be filled by opening the email and reading it.
L. Localize and Personalize - One way to improve your email open rates and target a specific audience is with localization. Localization is when you personalize an email message for each specific recipient. So no mass emails. Take the time to write out each person's name and come up with specific details personalized to the recipient.
I. Inquisitive – Ask them a question. Questions open an instant dialogue with readers. Asking a question, as opposed to a standard statement, immediately engages them and encourages your reader to open the email.
N. No Negativity – No one wants to be brought down or receive bad or unhappy news, so never use negative language. All negativity should be turned into a positive.
E. Emojis – Adding emojis is an easy way to add some visual pizazz to your subject lines, but having emojis in your subject line comes with some do’s and don’ts. Don’t use more than a couple emojis. Don’t use emojis to replace words. Do use emojis to complement your text. Do research on what emojis look like on different operating systems. You would be surprised as to how different the same emoji can look on other devices and systems.
S. Sincere – No need to lie. Be honest and do not add or use ‘RE:’ or ‘FWD:’ to make your email look like it is part of a reply or forwarded email thread. These tactics could deliver your email to the spam folder, and not to mention it crosses a line of deceit that can be hard to come back from. Honesty is the way to go with almost anything, and you will get a better reaction from being genuine.
Hopefully, this simple subject line mnemonic will make your subject line writing less stressful. In the end, the best subject line is simple and straight to the point, so don’t overthink it, and good luck.