When you send out your next email campaign, you have no way to know the state of the inboxes it will be landing in. It may be one of only a few messages some people receive. But it may be one of hundreds, too. Either way, you want your message to be opened and read, and the first tool to make this happen is a well-crafted subject line.

The subject line is the first impression your email makes on the recipient, and we all know how important first impressions are. If you write a great subject line, your email has a much better chance of getting opened than if your subject is flat and uninteresting. This is especially true if it is one of a sea of unopened emails greeting the recipient when they first open their email for the day. Since subject lines are so important, here are some tips for writing great ones.

Get Specific

Generic information doesn’t get much attention, especially when it is crowded in with a pile of other email subjects all trying to get attention too. “We’re having a sale!” may be completely accurate, and maybe it’s even a phenomenal sale, but it is still generic and bland. It doesn’t give a busy reader enough reason to open the email and take a closer look.

Specific information is much more likely to catch your readers’ attention. Instead of advertising a sale, make your subject line about the biggest deal you are offering right now, especially if it’s for a product that doesn’t usually go on sale. Offer your readers a compelling reason to open up your email and read more. Show them the benefit right up front, and you will be much more likely to catch their attention.

Personalization and Localization

Personalizing an email is a good tool to get attention. It’s another way to be specific, but about your reader rather than about your business. Using personal names is one way you can connect with your readers, as it can catch their eye and make them click to read more.

Localization is a related tool which is starting to see more use. Instead of sending emails which are completely personalized to an individual, some businesses are starting to send location-based emails to groups of people, advertising deals or openings in their local stores. The use of familiar town or store names is another way to grab some attention, especially because people are used to thinking somewhat geographically about how they do their errands.

Testing is Your Friend

Don’t rely on guessing alone to craft good subject lines. To find out what really works, test your subject lines. Try running A/B tests with different subjects to discover which one gets more attention. Make small wording choices to see if some words get a better response than others. As marketing trends come and go, people get accustomed to seeing familiar words and types of offers, and as a result they may stop paying attention to them. To stay at the front of what works, keep testing different subjects to discover what your customers or fans respond to.

Good Content Gets Attention

The right content can get more clicks. If you have the option of producing videos, they can be a great way to get more responses to your email campaign. Contests are also a way to get more attention, especially if they offer a fun way to receive something of value. Try to think outside the box in producing something of value for your audience, especially if you can produce something and offer it for free. It will get some extra attention to your email campaign, and that can result in extra attention for your products and services.

Get to the Point

Finally, remember your subject line is only an introduction to your email, not the main event. Keep it short and to the point. This is especially important with the number of people who check email on their mobile devices today. A long subject line will not be seen, and if you take too long to get to the point, it will scroll off a small screen and not be seen. Try keeping your email subject lines under 50 characters. You can also test subjects of different lengths to see what gets the best response.

There’s an art to making a great subject line. Pay attention to the ones that grab your own attention, and analyze them to see what makes them tick. Then apply those lessons to your own email campaigns. With testing and creativity, you can write email subjects that sing and get more attention for your campaigns.

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