Subject Line Science

There is an abundance of research on the Internet discussing the importance of Subject Line etiquette, covering a cornucopia of what you must do to what you shouldn’t do when composing your newsletter Subject Line. You can find studies on Subject Line structure, the use of capital letters, character set utilization, informal or formal wording, long or short Subject Lines and whatever else is deemed to have an impact on the open rate statistics. With all this time and emphasis placed on Subject Line Science, you can only conclude it is important enough to write it correctly; after all you probably based your email reading decisions on it too.

Your decision to open email when it’s delivered to you is based on the Subject Line. Let’s say you receive an email with the Subject You Won the Russian Lottery; you may think, more SPAM, and in the trash it goes. Or you may have a SPAM filter that automatically tosses any email in the trash with the word Lottery in the Subject Line, so you never see the message. On the other hand if you had subscribed to a Russian Lottery newsletter, it might not be SPAM, in fact you were probably expecting such an email so the subject causes you to open the email instead of deleting it. You can then conclude from your own experience, one factor leading to reading or deleting email is the Subject Line.

There’s more to the Subject Line than most people imagine and crafting the perfect one takes time, and thought, and testing. Subject Lines are a major part of your delivery rates, opens and click-throughs. A good Subject Line should be an integral part of your email campaign strategy driving your subscriber to take action whether your goal is to distribute coupons or share a written article. The bottom line, a Subject Line should describe the subject of the newsletter or promotion, nothing different from the expectations you set by your Welcome or Hello letter when your subscribers first opted-in. Consider these points regardless of your campaign intent:

Compose your Subject Line with a goal in mind: you want your subscribers to open your email message and take some action.

Tell them something significant, or valuable, or timely, so your subscriber feels your email is something they don’t want to delete or skip.

Don’t underestimate the competition. Set your email apart from the other newsletters and junk mail your subscriber may be receiving by composing a subject that will prompt them to open your email immediately.

Do not mislead your subscribers. People signed up for your newsletter because they want to hear what you have to say, you don’t have to exaggerate or over promise. They know who you are, and being honest builds your brand loyalty.

Compose with the individual reader in mind. No matter how many subscribers you have remember your newsletter is distributed to individual mailboxes, take advantage of this intimacy and write to the person not the group.

Use the trust you have with your subscribers. Your subscribers should know the From Address of your company or organization. Use this recognition, together with a consistent themed Subject Line so subscribers will quickly identify the source of the newsletter as being someone they want to hear from.

Writing a terrific Subject Line, every time you mail out a campaign can be fun. It may require a bit of creativity and experimentation to get it right each time, but its well worth the time and energy. Easy tips to overcome any Subject Line challenged writer will be the subject of my next Blog.

Thanks for reading!