To achieve success with email marketing, there is one aspect you must nail. In fact, without this one aspect, your campaign is guaranteed to flop.
It’s your email subject line.
If your subject line doesn’t compel people to open your email, it doesn’t matter how good your copy or offer is.
Therefore, it’s essential to invest time into learning how to write killer email subject lines.
What’s a smart subject line for sales emails?
While there is no right or wrong way to write a subject line, there are some tips you can use to boost your current open rates.
Here’s what you need to know.
Make them descriptive emails
A study by Backlinko showed that the optimal email subject line is between 36 and 50 characters. In fact, this length outperformed short subject lines (1-15 characters) by 32.7%.
However, watch out for subject lines more than 70 characters, as open rates begin to diminish above that length.
If your subject line is too short, your audience likely won’t open the email because it’s hard to be specific in under 15 characters. Given that you’re writing an email subject line for sales, you can’t afford to be vague.
For example, imagine receiving these subject lines in your inbox:
- Content Strategy
- Quick Question
- Marketing Lesson
Those brief descriptions don’t give you a compelling reason to click, so they likely will perform poorly. On the other hand, short subject lines can be too specific and reveal too much too fast.
For example, you probably wouldn’t open these emails because they’re clearly trying to sell something:
- 15 Minute Call?
- Marketing Course
- Coaching Services
However, these longer subject lines are descriptive but not a dead giveaway that you’re going to sell something:
- How to “buy back your time”
- Sam Smith Referred me …
- I Reduced FB Ad Costs by 30% Instantly — here’s how
The only exception for writing shorter and somewhat vague subject lines is if your audience is already actively engaged with you.
For example, these three email subject lines, written by copywriter Justin Goff, work well because he has a small yet highly active email list:
- Hang with me?
- BIG news
Therefore, because the list is already actively engaged and invested in his content, short subject lines can be effective.
Use proper online etiquette
Using proper etiquette is essential, particularly if you’re pitching prospects cold.
Therefore, avoid writing in all caps and don’t add too many exclamation points.
The only scenario where all caps might be appropriate is if you use them to emphasize a deadline.
Emojis are also becoming increasingly popular in the email marketing space, though they also require appropriate etiquette.
Search Engine Journal published a report after A/B testing emojis in their email subject lines, and it showed that seven out of ten campaigns with emojis received more abuse reports.
This can be devastating for deliverability, so be sure to keep an eye on that metric if you choose to use emojis.
In addition, the open rates for subject lines with emojis were actually lower than those without emojis.
Avoid false promises
Avoid making exaggerated statements unless you can truly justify them.
For example, if you choose to use any of these subject lines, your email must justify the claims:
Nonetheless, case studies and data stories are a great way to hook people. In addition, each of the emails that followed these subject lines was able to justify the value. Incorporate your own versions of them in your email efforts, but don’t exaggerate any claims.