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4 email subject line tricks to increase your open rate

Tomer Garzberg
Entrepreneur

Tomer Garzberg is the Managing Director of StrongmanDigital.com.au and Growth Hacker at TomerGarzberg.com, with over 12 years content and digital marketing experience

Tomer Garzberg
Entrepreneur

Tomer Garzberg is the Managing Director of StrongmanDigital.com.au and Growth Hacker at TomerGarzberg.com, with over 12 years content and digital marketing experience

With email, there’s a fine line between ‘read’ and ‘delete’. How can you make sure you’re getting cut-through?

Out of all the forms of marketing your business, email is still one of the most effective methods of getting the word out and driving sales. That effectiveness is determined by two things: your audience, and your subject lines.

woman typing on laptop in cafe

Your audience

Understanding why your customers open your emails, or hit delete, is critical to the ongoing success of your campaigns, and the overall health of your database. Most of the time, you’re competing with other emails sitting in their inbox, so if you’re sending too frequently, or your audience is having a busy day, your email may become part of the bulk select-and-delete casualties. For times where this is not the case, it’s important to understand how to segment your database and target your communication. 

These types of segmentations may include:

  • Products or services already purchased
  • Products or services interested
  • Geography
  • Demography
  • Loyalty and Repeat Purchases
  • Social and Web Visits

Once you’ve worked out exactly who you’re talking to and what you want to say, it’s time to get them to open your email. The best way to create a more captive audience over email is to think carefully about the psychology and mechanics of your subject line.

Your subject line

  1. Catchiness
    An email subject line that catches the eye of the receiver is a great way to differentiate you from the rest of the emails wanting your customer’s attention. Try experimenting with humour, alliteration, tone and mystery to see what cuts through and resonates with your customers
  2. Personalisation
    Personalising your subject line is a no-brainer, as it creates the illusion you’re talking to your customer directly. While CRM and email tools that allow you to personalise each email can be an investment, their effectiveness can be significant. Customers who read “John, here’s how to save 50% more”, are far more likely to open than if you say “50% off socks”
  3. Think of mobiles
    With almost half of emails being opened and read on mobiles, it’s critical to understand what your subject lines look like on Apple and Android devices. On Apple devices, your subject line will be cut off at around 35 characters. On Android, it’ll continue to wrap around to the next line
  4. Test variations
    Email A/B Testing, or Email Split Tests, involve crafting two or more variations of your email subject lines, and sending them off to portions of your database to gauge open rates and click-throughs. If your email campaign software has the capacity to do this (MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Active Campaign all do this), you could craft two different subject lines, and send them each off to 50 per cent of your audience to gauge the most effective version that will get more opens in the future:

    Test 1: John, here’s how to save 50% more
    Test 2: You’re a rockstar, John. Here’s a further 50% off

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