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🚀 SKYROCKET your open rates by reading THIS BLOG! 🚀
Did you cringe? Same here.
We’re all a little sick of over-the-top sales messages in our inbox.
But salespeople have to grab their prospect’s attention somehow – and data tells us the subject line is crucial. It’s the lynchpin of any email outreach campaign.
There’s a way to write effective subject lines without relying on tired clichés and sounding like an over-excited robot.
This blog will show you…
Your subject line is the first thing your prospect sees. Let’s make sure it isn’t the last.
<a href="#subject-lines-crucial" class="anchor-link">Why email subject lines are crucial to sales</a>
<a href="#what-you-might-be-doing-wrong" class="anchor-link">What you might be doing wrong</a>
<a href="#important-questions-to-ask" class="anchor-link">Important questions to ask about your sales email subject lines</a>
<a href="#6-ways-to-write-the-best-email" class="anchor-link">6 ways to write the best email subject lines to increase your open rate</a>
<a href="#how-to-make-sure-your-email" class="anchor-link">How to make sure your email subject lines work</a>
So, you think you can write email subject lines for high email open rates?
Are you sure? Because 47% of recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. And 69% of recipients report an email as spam based solely on the subject line.
So it might be worth going back to the drawing board and finding a way to optimize your subject lines if you want your sales outreach or cold emails to have impact.
Let’s take a look at:
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Your email subject line is crucial because it’s your first impression. A bad subject line is essentially a really awkward handshake.
Are you going to sell your product or even get a chance to pitch your product after an introduction like that?
Let’s hammer home how important a high open rate email subject line is:
One. Percent. Only one percent of your emails are absorbed and replied to.
Since subject lines have a major influence on open rates, the success of your email marketing strategy often boils down to the effectiveness of your subject lines.
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Many of our email subject lines end up being too pushy and, well…sales-y. We forget that we're humans writing for humans, not some sales machine writing for an abstract persona in our customer journey.
Lines like: “Want to improve revenue, Dan? Only one click to a better annual profit!” make most people groan.
It doesn’t sound natural and it doesn’t sound enticing. Sounding relatable and human is always the way to go.
Even if your email newsletters are carefully crafted and well written, there are still a few common (yet crucial) technical mistakes that could be hurting your open rates.
Where could you have gone wrong…?
This sort of template error can be avoided with a mail merge tool.
Mail merge allows you to include variables like your recipient’s first name, their business name, or the product or service that would best fit their needs.
A good mail merge tool will point out any errors before you hit ‘Send’, allowing you to avoid embarrassing mistakes.
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Before hammering out a subject line in a few seconds and diving right into the body of your email – stop and think.
Try to think from the email recipient’s point of view and what they might like to click on.
Ask yourself these 4 important questions:
Pausing to answer these questions can help you recognize what to focus on when crafting your email subject lines.
But if you have the time, consider 4 more helpful questions to take you even further:
Sometimes it’s hard to remember your customers are real humans when you’re sending messages from the comfort of your desk. But they’re people, just like you.
Give your subject line a quick gut-check to see how you would respond before hitting send.
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So, now you know what not to do. You’ve asked yourself some key questions and you’re in the right mindset.
“Okay,” you say, “But really, which subject lines get the most opens from leads?”
Writing email subject lines that resonate with your recipients requires experimentation and fine-tuning. The best way to increase your open rates is to try different tactics and measure your results.
There's no one-sized-fits-all answer or magic equation to writing a great subject line, but a few tips and tactics have been proven to help your email get more views.
After reviewing data and advice from some experts in the field, we identified the top 6 tips for the next time you’re writing catchy email subject lines for sales:
Research shows that people are more likely to open an email with their name or their company’s name in the subject line.
Personalization piques almost everyone’s interest and is useful across all industries, from large eCommerce brands to individual salespeople.
It can also take many forms, which presents a great opportunity to get creative and try out a few different tactics. You could try including your prospect's:
The most common form is the prospect’s name or their company’s name. However, people are becoming more used to seeing their name in a subject line, which may affect open rates as behavior changes. If you’re willing to put in the extra effort, try personalizing with the prospect’s goal or pain point in mind.
For example: “Social media schedule”
This gets right to the challenge of consistently scheduling social media posts and is directly referencing their issues and pain points.
81% of people prefer to open emails on their smartphones, and yet optimizing for mobile can be an afterthought for many sales reps and email marketers.
With more and more web and email behavior shifting to mobile devices, it makes sense to format your sales emails for mobile devices. That doesn’t just apply to the body of an email – the subject line has to look good on mobile, too.
Don’t believe us?
Let’s see how this template translates to a standard iPhone screen.
Maybe not what you were going for.
The takeaway here is – subject lines look different from computer to smartphone. How the subject line looks can even differ based on the brand and model of smartphone that your prospect is using.
Try testing out your email draft and subject line on a free marketing tool like Zurb’s Test Subject. This allows you to test your subject line on different mobile screens before hitting send.
Getting email subject lines right is so much more than convincing people to open the email.
Let’s face it, if we only cared about open rates and nothing else, we’d just tell you to use “[First Name] - you’ve WON!” and be done with it.
But if your actual email starts with: “You’ve won a free appointment and product pitch with our Account Executive," you’ll lose prospects faster than you can say ‘cheap clickbait’.
Having an epic subject line will get eyes on your email, but you need to be able to keep your promise and offer real value – quickly.
Instead, you can use email subject lines like:
Both add intrigue and entice interest, and at the same time, they’re promises you can easily keep.
If the prospect is already familiar with you or your company, sliding your name right in the subject line will help them identify you and can do wonders for your open rates.
Your company’s name will be noticeable among all the promises for “74% off” and “Only 2 days left”.
Adding your company name in the beginning of your email subject to help it stand out as your prospect sorts through their 121 daily emails.
A few examples are:
After you’ve actually broken through the nigh-impenetrable “cold” portion of outreach, it would be a shame to get lost in a sea of Twitter notifications and antivirus offers.
“Derek, love to chat about marketing automation”
What vibe do you get from this subject line?
It’s friendly, warm, and sounds like an actual person that you’re talking to in real life. It's the first step of making a real connection.
Let’s look at the contrast:
“Boost ROI to the moon with our strategic marketing automation solution!”
See the difference?
Successful subject lines sound more like humble friends or trusted colleagues and less like a hacky guru slinging NFTs and offering unsolicited business advice.
Avoid rattling off lists of percentages and cringe-y buzzwords like “strategic”, “unique”, and “guaranteed”.
Here are a few quick pointers to help you sound more human and approachable in your email subject lines:
Unsurprisingly, we tend to skip over emails that look like they're trying to sell something.
The idea is that your subject line is so straightforward, so not sales-y, that it looks like it could be from a team member internally.
What? No emphatic words like ‘skyrocket’ or ‘killer’ or ‘ultimate’?
After all, when’s the last time you received an email like that from your co-worker?
The "Internal camo" strategy isn't meant to trick your email recipient into thinking you're actually their co-worker, but it makes sure they aren't turned off by a gimmicky subject line so your email has a chance for success in their inbox.
If you make a mistake in your email subject line right after hitting send (we've all been there...), you can correct the problem before it’s too late.
Check out these 6 Gmail tricks to learn how to undo sending an email and other quick tips to save yourself time and a few headaches.
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So you’ve created a few catchy subject lines – how do you know what's working so you can continue to increase your open rates?
A few methods and tools can help you measure open rate success:
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a data-driven way to increase your open rates.
A/B testing compares two or more variations of something. You can run A/B tests for subject lines, a call to action, the format of your email, images, colors, or anything else you want to optimize in your email.
To A/B test a subject line, craft two different subject lines and send them to similar groups of people by splitting your audience in half. After a set period of time, compare your open and response rates. A mail merge tool or email marketing tool can help you do this.
Once you’ve run your A/B test, you can use the most effective subject line in your emails to increase your open rates.
You can check out the tutorial for mail merge here.
There are email tools out there that rank email for tone, clarity, and mobile responsiveness. Comparing them against millions of successful emails and then suggesting ways to make them more impactful.
Remember how we mentioned Lavender earlier? Yup, they’re one of those tools.
It features Subject Line Analysis, Spelling & Grammar Check, Mobile Preview, and more. You can start using it now for free to see how your current subject lines are stacking up.
It’s simple: when you get a positive response, ask them what caught their attention/what they liked about the email.
Your prospects and leads are hidden resources just waiting to be tapped into. No one can provide you with more useful feedback and marketing tips than the people you’re marketing to.
It’s invaluable to you and can make you seem more relatable to your prospect. You can be super professional and serious about it. Or you can make it lighthearted like:
“Sooo…remember when you first replied to us? What made our email stand out from the others?”
You’ll probably get some pretty useful feedback.
Writing catchy email subject lines for sales doesn’t have to be a headache.
Adapting tips like personalization, mobile formatting, and internal camouflage into your next outreach session is simple, effective, and definitely worth your time to practice.
When in doubt, give it a gut check to see if it's something you'd open in your own inbox.