You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect marketing message, and it’s finally ready to go out to your followers’ inboxes. You hit “send,” and away it goes. The only catch is, no one opens it.
Crafting the perfect B2B email subject line to boost open rates is a never-ending battle. With upwards of one hundred emails hitting the average user’s inbox daily, setting yourself apart is challenging. And if no one opens your email, you won’t get the ROI you hoped for. It’s more important than ever to be mindful and strategic about your email subject lines – after all, the subject line is the first thing users see when your email lands in their inbox.
What’s a good open rate for emails? Studies show the average open rate for emails falls between 17 and 21%, while click-through rates (the number of readers who open your email and click on a link inside) average slightly more than 10%. If you raise your open rate above 21%, that’s great. But even reaching the typical email open rate should be cause for celebration for most.
So, how do you get your B2B email open rates up to par? Based on our experience, we’ve identified several subject-line ideas to help improve your numbers and maximize your results:
1. Create a Sense of Urgency
No one wants to miss out on a great deal or promotion. If you have a sale that ends today or a survey that closes tomorrow, integrate a sense of urgency into your subject line. For instance, you might insinuate that if readers don’t click on your email immediately, they may miss out on something special.
Language options that convey urgency include:
- …ends today
- This week only…
- Don’t miss out
- 3 days left…
Whenever possible, be specific and incorporate details unique to your audience to draw their attention and make your message more relevant.
2. Include Numbers and Lists
Readers, no matter the industry, love numbers. Some studies have found that headlines with numbers generate 73% more engagement than those without them.
Using lists, data points and numerals in your content makes it more compelling, to the point and easier to scan. As a bonus, integrating numbers and lists (like in this blog) makes writing and organizing points easier for your writers. Make sure your email’s content matches the subject line you’ve chosen.
Here are a few examples of how to integrate numbers into your email subject line:
- 5 Reasons to Buy XYZ Book
- 3 Ways to Maximize ROI from CRM
- 10 Reasons Companies Fail at XYZ
3. Ask Readers a Question
Try asking readers a compelling question to pique their interest and get them thinking. Ideas for email subject lines with questions are:
- Why Should You Attend XYZ Event?
- What’s On Your Schedule This Weekend?
- Is Your Inside Sales Team Making These Mistakes?
Remember to ask questions that are relevant to your audience. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to ask HVAC customers what their favorite Mariah Carey song is. It’s also important to avoid using a question and exclamation in the same line, as these tactics are often flagged as spam by email providers.
4. Incorporate Relevant or Hot Topics
Your readers want to know what’s going on in their industry. If something is new or trending, such as a new product, service or news item, include it in your email subject line. For example, if a supplier merging with another supplier affects your customer base, tell them about it.
Remember not to exaggerate or lie about content to get someone to open it. Tell readers what they need to know, and keep the text from going overboard. Incorporating hot topics into your email subject line will keep customers in the loop while building up your brand’s reputation as timely and knowledgeable.
5. Include an Offer
Including an offer in the subject line is a great way to grab a reader’s interest. Offer your customers a special discount or promotion and combine it with a deadline to spur action. For instance, try saying something like:
- This Week Only, Get 50% Off
- Get a Free X When You Buy Y
- Receive 20% Off Your Next Order For a Limited Time
When you include an offer in your B2B subject line, be sure to follow through with your promise. There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than to click on an email only to realize they had been tricked into opening it.
6. Keep It Short and Sweet
Keep email subject lines short and sweet. More than half of users prefer to read emails on their mobile devices. Keeping subject lines below 43 characters will prevent your message from being cut off prematurely.
In addition to limiting your character count, be mindful of how many words you include in your subject line. In a recent study, Retention Science discovered that email subject lines with 6-10 words had a 21% open rate. On the other hand, lines containing five or fewer words had a 16% open rate, while those with 11-15 words dropped to 14%. Another study by Marketo found that the highest average click-through rate (arguably the more important KPI) was from subject lines with seven words.
If you don’t have enough room to get your point across, utilize the email’s preheader to pull your reader in further.
7. Avoid “Spammy” Tactics
Although CAPITALIZATION, lots of exclamation marks (!!!!) and emojis were once par for the course for email marketers, these tactics are now widely considered spammy and (if we’re honest with ourselves) kind of tacky. Your readers don’t want to receive over-the-top, flamboyant emails – they want to be spoken to authentically.
Can you still use other “strategies” like the ones we mentioned above? Of course. But relying on seedy tactics will get you nowhere but the spam folder.
8. Utilize Testimonials and Peer Reviews
The testimonial or “what’s in it for me” approach works wonders when you have customer-centric content. Readers want to know how opening your email would help them and how similar companies benefit from your product or service. People also want to feel like they are part of a club – especially if it seems like membership is valuable.
One way to accomplish this is withB2B testimonials and peer reviews. Try incorporating language such as:
- Why Other ___s Use XYZ
- Testimonials From Our Top Clients
- How XYZ Saved ABC Company $5 Million
Remember, your message shouldn’t be about the features of your products or services. Instead, it should be about how those products or services can make your customers’ lives easier, help them do their jobs better, enable them to save money or deliver bottom-line results.
Bonus: Don’t Be Afraid to Be Creative
B2B customers are humans. Don’t be afraid to shake things up and incorporate creative email subjects like puns, jokes and stories. Keep them relevant to your target audience, but don’t be afraid to get creative and add a little spark to your email subject lines. Your customers will appreciate the change of pace.
Tying it All Together
Finding great subject ideas for emails in B2B can be tricky, but following these best practices can boost your email open rates, encourage higher click-through rates and enhance your ROI.
As you incorporate these tactics into your email marketing strategy, consider using A/B testing to gauge your efforts’ effectiveness. Instead of running with one idea, pick two interesting email subject lines and test them to see what works best. It is also worth noting that different times and days can impact your open rates.
Now that you have your B2B email content and subject line figured out, you’re ready to hit send! If you want to learn more about writing great subject lines, or if you’re interested in hiring an agency to do the heavy lifting for you, send us a message at [email protected].