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5 Subject Line Tips that Truly Work

Make no mistake, your subject line is the most important element in your email campaigns. It has to be compelling yet also very brief, which is not an easy combo, even for the most battle-hardened email marketer. To make things easier, we've taken our 5 favorite subject line tips and listed them below. They've worked for us, they'll work for you too:

Keep It Under 55 Characters

We'll admit it – 55 characters is not a lot of space. It's a tiny amount of text. However, you absolutely must cut your subject line down to 55 characters. Why? Because many email clients – Yahoo for one – truncate anything bigger than 55. You want your subject line to be seen in all its glory. Cut your subject lines back and every customer will see your open pitch in total.

Ask a Question

Asking a question is a subject line technique that works well because it gives the customer something to think about. Your question should be something on almost every customer's mind. And by opening your email, they're answering that question through their interest. You can even answer the question in your subject line. Here are a few examples of question-type subject lines:

Running through too much toner? We can help
Need a cool backpack for Fall? We've got 'em
Need a better bod for summer? This workout works

All of the subject lines above ask a question, give an answer, and all come in under 55 characters. Ask a question and you'll see your open rates improve.

Insert a Popular Brand for Mega-Targeting

Make no mistake, brand names in subject lines work. The best part? You can create ultra-targeted email campaigns based on what your recipients bought in the past. For instance, if you're having a sale on shoes and you have three different brands on sale, you can segment your email list based on which customers have bought what. If one part of your list has purchased Kenneth Cole shoes in the past, your subject line for this group should feature the words "Kenneth Cole". This gives your customer the opportunity to stick with the brand they like best.

Use the Phrase "Customer Fave(s)" to Sate Curiosity

Most human beings are at least curious over what other people are buying. If a product has a huge audience and gets tons of good marks from customers, most likely your recipient will be more inclined to buy it. For this reason, we believe that a "customer favorite" product, featured in a subject line, is an easy sell. To make this tactic even more effective, use this phrase in a list subject line (see below).

Make It a List

A list is an easy way to offer something of value, sell a product or service, and not seem too obvious about it. A list gives a customer a subconscious message that your email is organized in a way that makes it an easy read. They'll be more compelled to open your email if they know ahead of time that they'll not be facing a wall of text. Add products or services to this list and you'll not only get them interested in opening your email, but you can showcase various products at the same time. Here are some good examples:

Top 5 customer faves for Spring
10 products you can't live without
3 ways to save money on toner

Use your subject line list as a covert way to push your product or service and you'll see a nice up-tick in open rates. Once you've got customers inside your email, send them to dynamic landing pages where a purchase can be made on the spot.

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