Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

10 Tips for Writing an Awesome Email Subject Line

Here’s a marketing pop quiz: if you’re launching an email campaign for your practice and want to get maximum results, how long should your subject line be?

Answer: roughly 35 characters. Most recipients will view the message on their phones, which display only 30 to 40 characters in portrait mode.

How about this one: IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO PUT YOUR SUBJECT LINE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS?

Answer: NO! It’s annoying and won’t increase click-throughs. Besides, nobody likes being yelled at.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage current clients and attract new ones. But without a good subject line, your email is likely to be relegated to the spam folder or trash bin.

“People do judge emails by their subject lines,” writes Olivia Allen for HubSpot. “While they may seem like a small part of your message, they’re one of the very first impressions you have on your email recipients. That’s why it’s so important to craft subject lines that are compelling enough to get people to click through.”

10 Tips for a Great Subject Line

If you’re not already doing email marketing, consider giving it a try. The potential reach is massive. Up to 3 billion people – or almost half the world’s population – use email, according to Constant Contact, and more than 200 billion emails are sent every day.

And the return on investment is impressive. This study found that every dollar spent on email marketing generates $38 in ROI.

Want to make your email stand out? Try these pointers for writing a strong subject line.

  1. Write your subject line with a mobile audience in mind. More than half of all emails are viewed on a mobile device, and a whopping 88 percent of smartphone users regularly check email on their phones, says Constant Contact. This makes it more popular than any other app for iPhones and Androids.
  2. Keep it short and sweet. Since most viewers will be looking at a small screen, adhere to these specs, per Emily Heaslip for CO: (1) iPhone: 35-38 characters in portrait mode, 80 characters in landscape; (2) Galaxy S4: 33 characters in portrait mode, 72 in landscape; (3) Desktop: 65-78 characters.
  3. Convey a sense of urgency. Act Now! Limited Time Offer! Your Last Chance! But don’t cry wolf: if time is not a factor, don’t pretend it is.
  4. Offer something free. “At the end of the day, people love new things and experiences, especially when they come free, or at least discounted,” says Allen. “Open with that by including it in your subject line.”
  5. Test different subject lines. Professional marketers almost always do A-B-C testing to optimize performance before deciding on the final verbiage.
  6. Use numbers and statistics. It will convey credibility and help set expectations. Examples: Join 500 other new homeowners at this free event. Nine out of 10 people don’t know this money-saving secret about auto insurance.
  7. Make them curious. Asking a question in the subject line is a good way to do this. What’s the first thing to do if you’re in an auto accident? Do you really need uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage? What are the most dangerous intersections in North Carolina?
  8. Avoid a “no-reply” sender name. “Never use this,” says HubSpot. “Not only does it make it look less personable, but it also stops people from adding your email to their address book.” Send the email from a real person.
  9. Don’t put both an exclamation point and a question mark in the subject line. It will almost guarantee that your email will be flagged.
  10. Tell the recipient what’s inside. Make it sound special and exciting. Some HubSpot suggestions: For our awesome customers only; An exclusive offer for you; Our gift to you; Here’s your private invitation; You’ve been selected!

What subject lines get your attention?

About the Author

Jay Reeves

jay.reeves@ymail.com | 919-619-2441

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.

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