By Ester Solsona, on 8 September 2020
Year after year, email marketing continues to be one of the most powerful tools in the digital marketer's arsenal. It is ideal for communicating with customers directly, it comes at a low cost, and has a spectacular ROI.
But, like any other marketing tool, email will work best for savvy marketers who know the secrets of copywriting. So let's look at the keys to creating the best email marketing subject lines.
Before You Write the Subject Line...
A good copywriter knows that their work begins long before they sit down to write. In order to get the title of your emails right, you will first have to do your homework.
- Research your buyer person: The most important question you have to answer is who your email marketing is aimed at. You need to understand what your ideal customer profile is and what needs you can help them resolve.
- Think about benefits, not features: Why should they open your email and not send it to the spam folder? Give them a reason with the title of your email.
- Look for the most relevant keywords: Although email marketing does not use SEO techniques, it is still useful to understand how to formulate the user's needs in their own words. Take a look at Google Trends or another keyword tool to find out which terms fit best.
- Plan A/B tests: To write better email titles, you can plan a campaign with two different variations, send each to a sample section of your database, and compare the results. Little by little you will have data on which formulas work best.
- Brainstorm: They say that to find a good headline you have to write at least 10. Don't hesitate to spend as much time as necessary on this task. After all, the subject is probably the most important factor in the success of an email.
- Write the text first: In some cases, especially if you're a bit blocked, it's worth turning the tables and starting by writing the body of the email. When you're done, you'll be much clearer about which headlines go best with it.
20 Copywriting Techniques for Email Subject Lines
The title of an email should not exceed about 40 characters or 7 words in total.
Don't abuse capital letters or exclamations, as they give the impression that you are shouting at the recipient, and email filters could also interpret this as spam.
Use headlines that arouse the reader's curiosity, for example "What bosses don't know about...", "The secret formula for...", "Discover...".
With few exceptions (e.g. certain B2B sectors), it is best to avoid excessive formality. Informal language helps you connect with the recipient.
Triple-check the subject line several times to make sure you don't have any typos!
Add emojis. Emojis make your message stand out visually inside the inbox and generate goodwill, but don't abuse them: one or two are enough.
Use a sense of urgency. If it's an offer with limited time or stock, make it very clear.
Ask questions in the headline to encourage the curiosity of the recipient. They will surely want to open up to know the answer.
Remember the news headlines. Sometimes, the best trick is not to use tricks: if the user is really interested in the content of the email, including a summary of the content in the headline can be the most effective.
Include data and statistics. They will give you credibility and help you gain the user's trust before you even start reading.
Quote experts. In the end, the authority argument works, so don't hesitate to use formulas such as "What SEO experts say about..." or "Elon Musk's trick for...".
Use negative headlines. Our sense of survival leads us to look early at the possible mistakes we may be making, so headlines like "The biggest mistake in digital marketers" can help us get attention. But don't overdo it, and test the effectiveness of this technique with A/B tests to see if it resonates with your audience.
Be helpful. In the end, all marketing is about solving a need of the target audience. Explain the benefit in the subject line and you'll get it done.
Include action verbs in the present tense. They create a sense of dynamism and help us connect quickly with the reader. For example, learn, win, increase, solve, save...
Use power words... but in moderation. Power words or magic words are said to drive conversions. Some of the most frequent ones are free, now, new, updated… It is true that they can be effective, but abusing them tires the reader and can land you in the spam folder, so always be careful.
Customize the title of your emails. Something as simple as including the user's name can make you get many more openings.
Arouse the curiosity of your readers. No one likes to be left in doubt about something promising, so titles like "Did you know that..." or "This is what you were looking for" can be the key to multiplying the success of your emails.
Use the social test. Reviews are another key to copywriting to attract users, so mention them in the title of your emails.
Make a promise in the title... and then keep it in the email.
Be creative and have fun. In the end, no copywriting formula can replace our creativity. Try different options, combine them and always try to give them a twist to achieve an unexpected effect.