If you spend hours crafting the perfect marketing message, but no one opens it, you won’t get the ROI you are looking for.
Based on our experience, here are some subject-line ideas to help you maximize your open rate. And remember, if you’re sending multiple emails on the same topic to the same list over, say, a month, mix it up. Try different subject lines, and track their success so that you know what is working – and what isn’t.
If you have a sale that ends today, or a survey that closes tomorrow, integrate urgency into your subject line.
Some language options that convey urgency include:
- Offer ends today
- Early-bird pricing
- 50% off this week only
- Don’t miss out
- 3-day limited offer (see the example below)
Integrate language like the above into your subject line. Don’t forget to add details unique to your audience and product offer. For example: Offer ends today: 25% off ABC Brand widgets
- Numbers (Lists)
Mequoda Group, a consulting firm and tech provider for publishing businesses, uses this approach a lot, and for good reason: It works. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s review of research conducted by Outbrain, headlines with numbers perform better than those without.
Readers, no matter the industry, love numbers. They love lists (they work well in blog form, too – see the blog post you’re currently reading). Lists make it easy to scan an email, and as an added bonus, easier for you to organize and write the content, as well.
Here are a few examples:
- 5 Reasons to Buy XYZ Book
- 3 Ways to Maximize ROI from CRM
- 10 Reasons Companies Fail at XYZ
Just make sure your email content matches the subject line you’ve chosen.
Questions work as long as your reader wants to know or provide the answer. Retailers like to use this approach:
- Why should you attend XYZ Event?
- What do you think of our widget?
- What’s on your schedule this weekend?
The testimonial or “what’s in it for me” approach can work well. But you must have customer-centric content. It’s not about the features of the products or services – it’s about how those products or services can help your customers do their jobs better. Or about how those products or services can deliver bottom-line results or save them money.
Readers also like to hear from their peers. I have spent a lot of time on Amazon reading reviews for everything from diapers to socks after my daughter was born last year. Who knew? But it matters. If other parents say something has worked for them, I’m much more likely to give it a try.
The same is true in B2B markets. They want to know what’s in it for them and how similar companies are benefiting from your product or service. What’s more, most people want to be part of the club – if it looks like that club is beneficial.
Some language to this effect:
- Why your peers use xyz product
- Why you should attend xyz event
- Testimonials from other distributors on xyz
- How your peers use xyz product
- How xyz product saved ABC company $5 million
- Hot Topics
If something is new – a new product, a new service, an actual news item (a supplier has merged with another supplier and you want to tell your email list about the impact) – that should be in your email subject line. If it’s something your readers will care about (and it should be if you’re emailing them about it), put it in the subject line.
Distribution industry publication Modern Distribution Management does a good job of this by focusing on what they know will grab their readers’ attention. In this case: one of the largest competitors in the space – Grainger.
Take care not to exaggerate or lie about the content just to get someone to open it, of course.
Bonus Tip: In some cases, boring is better. In some studies, they’ve found that for a monthly newsletter, sometimes it’s best to just use: “September newsletter.”
Really! That’s because it’s not salesy – and not threatening in any way. Someone knows that when they open that email from an already-trusted sender (that’s the important piece), they’ll see their September newsletter. But I wouldn’t necessarily use that if you’re emailing someone for the first time.
And don’t forget about the preheader (that line that’s under the Subject line – “Send better survey invitations” above). It’s a bonus area that will pull the reader in further.
Now that you have your email content and subject line figured out, you’re ready to send! Read Email Timing “Best Practices”: Fact or Fiction? for guidance on the best time to send email to your unique subscriber group.