Hey friends! Today we are talking about emails—not what’s inside the email; what’s outside the email—the subject line.
It’s like the frosting on the cake or the the decorations on the cake— the part of the cake that makes you want to eat the cake. That’s the subject line of the email and that’s today’s video.
So let’s get into it. When you’re crafting email subject lines, the whole purpose of the subject line is to interest someone enough to open the email.
That is its job. It has one job. You know, that joke that we all used to say, “You had one job”? That’s it for subject lines.
Now, today, we’re talking tactics on what types of email subject lines give you better chances of opens. You know, is it alliteration? Puns? Numbers? Emojis? That’s what we’re going to get into today.
So we’re going to begin with what’s on everybody’s mind: emojis.
A couple of years ago, when things were still fresh and we got to use emojis in email subject lines for the first time, every brand in the world was throwing emojis into their subject lines.
So you would think, “Hey, this works, right? Emojis are a great idea.” Possibly not.
We’ve read through a lot of metrics and studies about emojis and subject lines, and the conclusion seems to be “eh.”
Sometimes it gets worse opens, and sometimes it gets better opens. It’s not super conclusive.
I would say if you’re the type of person who has the type of audience who is receptive to that kind of fun element, give it a shot, but don’t base your entire subject line strategy around it.
As always, audience is the main thing, right?
So, you know, if you’re sending a client a birthday greeting, throw in a little balloon emoji. 🎈 That’s great.
If you are sending an email to widowers about estate planning, probably keep that element out of things.
Read the room is what I’m saying.
Tip number 2 is to use questions.
Evoke some curiosity.
If you ask a question somebody doesn’t know the answer to, that can grab their attention and pull them in and get them to open the email and see what you have to say.
The big thing about questions is if you use them, you want them to be posed naturally. And of course, you want them to be succinct.
Just a couple of words to make sure that you don’t have this really long question that runs on and someone can’t read the entire thing when that email drops into their inbox.
I’ll also say, don’t limit yourself just to question marks. Try exclamation points!
Try all sorts of different punctuation. With emails today, people get so many that you’ve got to go outside the norms and be willing to take a few risks here and there.
Trying different forms of punctuation and different ideas is all part of the experimentation process.
Next idea, use some numbers.
Now, this works if you’ve got a list of something in your email, but numbers can be a great way to evoke curiosity, right? They stand out.
We process them a little bit differently than just words.
If you’ve got an inbox full of just words and you get an email that comes in with a number that looks different, it catches your attention.
But here’s the thing about numbers: They can’t do all the work on their own.
They can capture attention, but then we need to take the attention and ratchet it up to create some intrigue and create enough interest for someone to actually take the next step, which is to click on the email and open it and read what’s inside.
So, “7 estate planning tips” uses a number, but it’s not very compelling.
“7 estate planning tips you haven’t heard before.” Now we’ve got something for somebody to take a look at.
Nobody likes to be left out. Nobody wants to be the one person who hasn’t heard of these techniques. So now we’ve got a reason for them to click in and read that email.
Just a simple, basic example there.
There is another thing that you can try, and that is more personalization.
Emails shouldn’t just be sent out to a mass audience of people and be super general.
One way you can get past the general nature of an email is personalization.
If your email marketing platform has the capability, put the first name tag inside of that subject line and now you’ve personalized it to the person receiving that email.
Hopefully you’ve collected people’s names so you can do that type of thing.
There was a study by Experian, and they found that when they threw in some personalization, open rates went up 29%. Not a foolproof tactic, but it can be a good way to just add a little bit of differentiation. You want to stand out from what else is in your inbox.
So, if that can make you look different, try it out.
The last thing I’m going to say is use A/B testing for your subject lines.
What’s an A/B test? You write one subject line in the A field and another subject line in the B field.
You want to make them very different from each other.
You know, do a question and one, and do a number listing the other to see which one wins.
If your email platform allows you to do this, it will send out both to a small segment of your list first and you’ll see which one wins, which one gets more opens, and then they’ll deliver that to everybody else.
Now, you can do this manually, but you would have to do a lot of work. You can switch it up week to week and try it out that way, but if you can automate it, automate it.
We use ConvertKit for our emails, and it makes A/B testing on the subject lines super easy.
The last thing to think about with your emails is that it makes a difference whether you’re saying to a cold audience or warm audience.
A cold audience is when you’re sending a first email to people who have never heard of you before. That’s a cold list.
A warm list is people who sign up for your newsletter and already stated that they want to hear from you.
Now, just because you’ve got a warm list of people who have signed up doesn’t mean you should just be focused on growing that list ever larger.
You want to maintain it.
This is one thing that people don’t always understand about email marketing. You don’t have to just wait for people to unsubscribe.
I think of unsubscribes as a good thing because it’s someone self-pruning themselves out of the out of your list. You don’t need to be talking to them.
You can also take it in your own hands and get rid of cold contacts.
If someone hasn’t read an email from you in a year, you can just remove them from the list.
Open rates are contextual, right? So, if you’ve got a huge list and you have bad open rates, maybe you need to do some cleaning on that list and just direct yourself to people who are actually interested and really want to be hearing from you.
Focus your attention not on all the people who aren’t listening, but focus your attention on the people who are listening instead.
Again, everything comes back to audience and talking to the right people.
That’s where your attention needs to be. That’s today’s video on subject lines.
See you next week.
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