7 Email Headline Hacks to Increase Email open rate

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Imagine that you have a great product or service in the market. But you is not getting any sales. The reason for this could be that your email to potential customers are ending up in their spam folder.

Following the best email marketing service is a must to build trust among a wider set of customers, especially if you own a B2B business. In case you do not know already, the average open rate of emails campaigns is between 15-25% depending on your business, your audience preferences, and business activities.

If your campaign has an open rate below those numbers, it might mean that your campaign is not able to capture the attention it should. But how do you ensure a high open rate on your email campaigns?

To answer this question, let’s first understand the psychology behind email open rate.

What Makes People Click an Email?

What makes people click an email? Many factors influence this; however, there is one thing that stands out as the most influential. It is your subject line, and it can make all of the difference between a successful campaign and failure.

33% of email recipients click to open an email based on the subject line, and 69% of email recipients will report an email as spam based just looking on the subject line.

Why should a recipient open your email?

The subject line is one of the main reasons, right after the sender name, that makes people click to open an email.

A great headline can help you get more clicks and more conversions, helping you make the most of your email marketing cost.

But if you go wrong with the subject line, chances are it won’t even make a single click.

Think about how you would feel if you received an email with the subject line “A special surprise awaits inside”.

Excited, right? That high-emotion reaction sets up a strong expectation for what will be found in the body of the email. It must be intriguing enough for the reader, so they want to read the rest of it.

This can be done by using strong words or phrases at the beginning. Another example could be, “You won’t believe what happened today!

Email subject lines with high emotional value capture attention and hook the user into clicking it to know more. However, if email marketers are not careful, they can make mistakes that will leave them open to spam complaints.

So, there’s a fine line of balance between spam emails and engaging emails that will help you hit the right nail with delivering an impact on your email subscriber.

This post uncovers some of the best ways you can use to power your email headlines for better open rates.

Let’s get started!

1. Make it Personal

Based on studies, email personalization increases the open rate by as much as 35%.

At a glance, an email might seem like it’s just a quick message that you send to someone. But a personalized subject line can make all the difference when it comes to engaging your audience and persuading them into reading what’s inside.

Imagine if you were in charge of promoting a new business venture, writing “Hey! [FirstName], You should come by!” instead of “Come on down for our amazing promotion!” could make a lot of difference.

Don’t just use “Hi” or “Hey” as your email subject lines. Instead, craft a more personal message to catch the recipient’s attention and get them excited about opening it.

Personalizing an email by adding the recipient’s name is an excellent way to Increase Email Open Rates but it should not be overused to save it from losing its power.

Based on a study adding the recipient name to the subject line will:

  • Increase open by 20%
  • Boost sales lead by 31%
  • Reduce unsubscription rates by 17%

But how do you creatively embed personalization in your emails? Here are some tips:

  • Make your email relevant to what the recipient wants to know
  • Use perfect timing to schedule your emails to arrive when the recipient is more likely to see it
  • Use a name of a person as the sender name, not the company name only
  • Segment your list to make your email tailored to a specific audience. You can also use any of the CRM software tools available online to help you organize your email list and provide personalized emails based on different sets of audiences.
  • Use email automation to trigger email campaigns to people who react in a particular way.
  • Include their birthdays
  • Mention their interest
  • Include their purchase history
  • Use relationships data
  • Use emojis: The use of emojis in email subject lines increases open rates by 56%

The above image illustrates how often email marketers use these specific emojis in their subject lines to build a connection with the recipient.

A good practice would be to vary the personalization with each email campaign and not overuse a specific method too much. Otherwise, the audience will start feeling they are receiving the same email and stop opening them.

Even some of the best email services including ConvertKit and MailChimp offer an option to look at a preview of how your email’s subject line will look in the recipient’s inbox. These services also enable you to personalize every email you send using their up-to-date targeting options.

You can also use a free tool to generate personalized email subject lines based on your emails’ content so that every time you send an email, it has the best chance of being opened by anyone who receives it. 

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

The best email subject lines are short and sweet. It should be no more than ten words long, but it should also have a creative hook, as well as an easy-to-read sentence structure that flows quickly off the tongue.

Here are some stats backing it up.

6 to 10-word subject lines would give the highest open rate, email subject lines with five or fewer words generated a 16% opening rate. On the other hand, the open rate drops as the number of words in the subject line increases.

Don’t waste your time crafting the perfect email subject line. It’s better to get right to the point and send off a one-liner that will grab their attention.

Additionally, the use of mobile devices to read emails and navigate online is becoming more prominent. When a subject line is too long, there are chances that a prominent part of it will not be visible on the screen.

If your subject line is too long, users will not know what the email is about and end up ignoring it or deleting it. 

Using short email subject headlines contributes to a better user experience for the part of your audience using mobile phones. 81% of all emails are opened and read on mobile devices. Depending on your business, this number might be more or less.

But it’s always better to keep a short and crisp subject line that captures attention and looks good on all devices.

3. Use a Question or Curiosity-Piquing Subject Line to Get People’s Attention

With so many emails hitting inboxes every second, most people hardly give subject lines more than a glance before deciding whether to read or delete them. So you want your subject line to be something that will make them pause and think, “Hmmm…I wonder what this is about?”

A perfect way to create curiosity and inspire recipient participation is to use the principle of interactive content. That means you are trying to involve the audience to participate or respond, utilizing the email subject line to create curiosity and trigger them to engage.

Using interactive content in an email subject line can get 70% higher conversion rates.

What type of interactive content can you include in your subject lines? You may be wondering.

Here are some examples:

  • Your nail care routine is missing something…
  • It’s Arrived.
  • Have You Seen Sheep Dance?

You want to grab attention, but you also need to make sure that you have a good excuse for asking something out of the blue. Don’t forget to keep it professional!

4. Avoid Using All Caps or Exclamation Marks

It can be tempting to use all caps or exclamation marks to get the point across. But that’s not a good idea because it might come off as aggressive or rude and put people on edge before reading what you have written.

Avoiding the use of all caps or exclamation marks can be an effective way to avoid coming across as too demanding, overly aggressive, and unprofessional.

Instead, the tone should be informative, helpful, and advice-focused.

Another way to use caps without killing the open rate is to capitalize only one word in the subject line, which you want to accentuate the most.

Using too many exclamation marks and special characters like %, &, and # can trigger spam filters and might push your email to the spam folder. Remember that the subject line gets a better open rate when using 6 to 10 words, don’t try too hard to make it complex.

5. Choose Your Words Wisely

Avoid any spammy words like “free” or “sale” and use an appropriate word instead, such as “discounted.” 

Here some examples of spam trigger words to avoid in an email subject line:

  • $$$
  • 100% free
  • Act Now
  • Ad
  • Affordable
  • Apply now
  • Billion
  • Cash bonus
  • Cheap
  • Compare rates
  • Compete for your business
  • Credit
  • Credit bureaus
  • Double your income
  • Earn $
  • Get extra cash
  • Remove debt
  • Email marketing
  • Boost your business
  • Extra income

Avoiding these and similar words is an excellent way to prevent having your emails flagged as junk mail by Gmail and other providers and may even help you avoid the annoyance of unsubscribes and recipients’ complaints. 

There are many ways to avoid these problems when crafting an email subject line, such as:

Use plain language, don’t try too hard with puns or clever wordplay, be specific about what the content will entail, include keywords that would help recipients find it later on (e.g., “Dinner recipes” instead of just “Recipes”).

6. Use a Strong Call to Action

A call to action is a link or a button that asks readers to click on it. When used on a subject line, they are specific words that prompt action. The call to action needs to be clear, sticking, actionable, and should incentivize readers to click. Simply put, it needs to grab attention.

The best type of call-to-actions in the subject line are:

  • Clear
  • Short
  • Create urgency
  • Actionable ( start my trial, register now, etc.)
  • Stand out

You must avoid the following mistakes: 

  • Writing vague subjects, such as “Hello” or “Check this out!” These don’t entice readers enough. You can try something like: “How much money can you save with our coupon?”. The reason being: There’s no question there!
  • Being too serious: You want people to get excited about opening your emails, so try not to sound boring or dull when writing them. Use words like “Limited time offer!” or maybe even say what it is specifically that people get if they open up the link included in the email.

Use a strong call to action in your email subject lines, and you’ll be more likely to get the response you need!

7. Use Numbers to Draw Attention to Your Email Content

A study analyzed 115 million email subject lines and found that numbers in subject lines drastically improve the click-through rates. For example: “10 ways to increase website traffic” is more attractive to a reader than “How to increase website traffic.” Even though both headlines are similar and both sound interesting, readers would most likely click first on the headline with the number.

Numbers are a great way to make your emails more engaging. Email subject lines should always be short and informative, but adding numbers can add relevance and give the email content more structure.

There are right ways and wrong ways to use numbers in your email subject lines. The first step is deciding what you want the recipient of the email to do. If you just want them to read it, then skip this tip.

But if you want them to take action on something in your message, put an order number or deadline at the top of the email. This will make it more likely for them to scan right through and find everything meaningful.

Takeaway

Crafting a catchy subject line with an exciting and strong call to action will considerably improve the open rate of your email marketing campaign.

There are many considerations to take into account when creating a subject line: What is known to work as a result of marketing studies, what your audience needs and wants,  and how can you capture attention at a single glance. Most email marketing services give you insights of your email campaigns, so it’s quite easy to measure the average email open rate and overall performance of your email campaigns.

What to do in crafting an engaging subject line is not always obvious, and it may require testing and practice to get near perfection. A/B testing is essential to test various combinations of subject lines to see what is working and what doesn’t work for a specific audience.

Having higher open rates alone can’t make your email marketing successful. Your email content and its significance are as important as your campaign, make sure your email generates enough leads you aimed for and the trust you hoped for.

These proven and tested guidelines can save you precious time and put you on the right path. Try them and find out for yourself!

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