Bop Discusses How To Make the Subject Line Work for Email Marketing

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Recent email studies show subject line plays critical role in open rates and reader engagement.

In the world of digital marketing, the words chosen for an email subject line are critically important. According to a recent survey conducted by the Boston-based customer market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, 64 percent of people report that they will open an email because of the subject line.

Business principal of Bop Design, a San Diego marketing firm, Jeremy Durant says, "Whether you send a marketing email, a company newsletter or a special product promotion, the goal is to entice the recipient to open your message. And the only way that will happen is if the email subject line compels them to take that crucial next step."

Here are tips for compelling a target audience to open an email marketing message:

Keep the subject line short. A long subject line can be easily ignored or even get cut off if the recipient is checking emails via a mobile device. Keep the subject line to four to eight words and no more than 50 characters (something like a mini-headline).

Hone in on the hot topics. In every industry, certain trends and hot topics prevail at any given time. Stay current with whatever customers are talking about and turn that buzz to your advantage in the subject line.

Avoid "spam" headlines. Don’t include language that email inbox filters could mistake email as spam, such as "Free", "Percent Off", and "Help". In addition, while urgent sounding words such as "Reminder" or "Act Now" won’t end up in spam, it lowers open rates.

Include numbers in the subject line. Adding a number offers a clear idea of what the reader can expect. For example, "5 Tips to Better Branding" or "A 6-Step Plan to Boost Sales" gives the reader a "quantifiable" sense of the benefits they’ll get from opening the message.

Don’t go generic. Email recipients react badly to the feeling that they’re part of a mass mailing. As much as possible, try personalizing the subject line so they don’t think they’re receiving a generic message. For example, when sending an email to a specific organization or group of buyers, include their name in the subject line. "B2B Sales Teams – How to Shorten the Sales Cycle" greatly increases the chances B2B salespeople will click on your message.

Write the subject line as if you are the recipient. "There’s probably no better way to craft a compelling subject line than by testing it on yourself," Durant says. "What messages are likely to attract your interest? Which ones would likely confuse or annoy you? You want to share helpful information with your target audience, but they’ll only comply if your subject line accurately reflects their interests and concerns."

One last tip: Wait to craft the email subject line until the message itself has been drafted. Often, the best "headline" will present itself during the composition phrase. Then you have an irresistible subject line that readers can’t help but click on, in order to learn more.

Bop Design is a San Diego web design agency with offices also in Orange County, CA and the New York metro area. Specializing in B2B marketing, Bop Design creates holistic marketing plans geared toward lead generation and business development. Bop Design offers services in branding, logo design, website design and development, responsive web design, SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing.

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Jeremy Durant
Bop Design
since: 10/2009
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