10 Tips for Subject Lines that Get Emails Opened

What’s the big secret to getting print buyers to open your emails?

Attention-grabbing headlines.

Because your print buyers are busier than ever before, a lot of business emails end up going straight into the trash. But this doesn’t have to happen to you with strategic subject lines that can get your emails noticed and read.

Emails that have a high success rate begin with a subject line that immediately grabs your print buyers’ attention and pulls them into the body of the email. The most effective subject lines have a personal appeal, piquing your audience’s curiosity and encouraging them to dive into the additional email content.

With the all-new Email Marketing For Printers solution available now, here are some of top tips for writing subject lines that get your emails opened:

1. Keep it personal

Personalization using merge tags can help you customize email subject lines to include the print buyer’s name, company, or specific geographical location.

Personalized subject lines yield an excellent response when it comes to open rates. These types of customized subject lines are particularly effective if used alongside marketing initiatives such as birthday offers, post-purchase feedback requests, or even your monthly direct mail newsletter.

2. Use description

In today’s email marketing efforts, catchphrases are overutilized and have lost much of their effectiveness. If you want your reader to click to learn more, you need to put your superpowers of description to work.

Use words that are clear and direct in your subject lines. Know what you want your print buyer to do and convey that with action-oriented, descriptive language.

3. Consider the timing of your email

The right email sent at the right time is far more likely to be opened, read, and responded to.

An email sent out at 5:00 p.m. on December 22nd titled “Where to Get the Perfect Christmas Gift for Your Wife Right Now” is an email that is going to hit its mark with Christmas Eve only two days away.

Another excellent example of a well-timed email is towards the end of a promotion. For example, “Don’t miss out on this week’s deals” when the deadline is looming only a few days away. A targeted email with a subject line that reminds the reader of an impending deadline often yields an immediate response.

4. Be concise

Messages that are short and sweet yield the best response when it comes to open rates.

Since the majority of today’s consumers read most of their emails on a mobile device, you want to keep your subject lines to 9 to 60 characters for ease of reading.

5. Stick to minimal punctuation

Punctuation marks can be off-putting, and too many of them can cause a reader to lose interest in your message.

Three punctuation marks is the maximum number to use in a subject line. Using more than three punctuation marks may trigger an email client to identify your message as spam.

Most often, avoid all punctuation except for the occasional comma.

Special characters, in particular, may cause your message to be filtered into a junk folder and are best avoided.

6. Restrict emoji use

The “rules” regarding emojis in subject lines are similar to those for punctuation marks.

While emojis are cute and, when used effectively, can bring a smile, they are largely not professional enough for use in business communications.

If you feel an emoji perfectly complements your subject line, it is best to keep it to only one. Emojis should be selectively used to help intensify an idea rather than in place of actual text.

If you plan to use an emoji in your subject line, you will first want to test it across several email platforms, as the emoji will appear differently depending on the email client your customer uses. Try a resource like Emojipedia that will display how your emoji will look on different platforms.

7. Ask a question

When a question is posed in a subject line, there is an irresistible appeal to find the answer. This technique is particularly effective in email campaigns.

For best results, it is a good idea to formulate a question that piques the reader’s interest level. It could be as simple as “Could this one simple change save you money?” or “Is this one direct mail marketing mistake holding your company back?”

Keep your questions relevant to your print buyers’ field of experience and buying preferences to maximize impact.

8. Ensure a familiar sender name

People are far more likely to open an email if they recognize the sender.

By using a familiar sender name, you can draw on any existing knowledge of your brand, which can be built upon for the future.

You become human to the reader by using a first name in conjunction with your company name, such as Steven@AcmePrintingUSA.com. Instead of a cold, impersonal company, you are a living, breathing person.

If your email is a follow-up to subsequent messages, you can simply use your name instead of an address. This allows your readers to feel like they have a working relationship specifically with you instead of being a nameless, faceless number to a big box company.

9. Use puns

People love to laugh, and as silly as a pun can be, most people get a chuckle out of them.

Punny subject lines can brighten someone’s day, generating the goodwill you need to translate into an opened email.

Puns have become a part of our daily conversation, and people tend to respond favorably to them. Put puns to work for you by crafting a clever subject line around one. The more your pun sounds like a corny joke, the better.

10. Test your subject lines

One of the most important things you can do, courtesy of today’s technology, is test your subject lines in advance.

A/B testing can be an invaluable asset to you in crafting subject lines that yield the desired result.

A/B testing allows you to see where your email subject line attempts are falling short and can provide helpful suggestions as to what you can change for better open rates.

Struggling to improve the open rates to your emails? Consider our top tips for creating compelling subject lines.


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