The initial objective of a marketing campaign is to attract attention.

The attention span of a consumer is very short. You only have a few seconds to gain his/her interest. This task is even more difficult to accomplish with an email.

If your recipient’s inbox is constantly packed with emails, yours may end up lost among the other messages. A good way to get your recipient’s attention is to use an interesting and compelling email subject line.

Let’s say you decided to go to the local supermarket to buy toothpaste. Upon entering the supermarket, you are greeted by a large standee on your right side. The standee had the following message:

“70% Off On All Bakery Items! Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, Donuts, Cupcakes, and Muffins! Today Only! Special Anniversary Sale! We Bake ‘Em, You Buy ‘Em!”

What would you do? Chances are you would take a look at what the sale is about. You would want to check if the baked goods are indeed fresh or if they are near expiration. If everything checks out, you may have to schedule a second visit for the toothbrush.

Regardless of the outcome, a catchy subject line attracts attention. You will gain a measure of interest. It will compel the reader to initiate some form of action. In our example, you could visit the bakeshop and just investigate. Or you could blow out your grocery budget for the entire week on cakes and donuts.

A compelling subject line for an email is a much trickier proposition. Unlike the bakeshop, the recipient will not know what your content is about until he/she clicks it open. There is no incentive for the recipient to click on it except your email subject line.

  • 8 Statistics That Prove The Importance Of An Effective Email Subject Line

In 2016, Invesp conducted a study on the importance of an effective email subject line. The results of the study put the email marketing industry on notice.

Here are 8 statistics from the study that shows why you need to come up with an effective email subject line:

  1. 69% of recipients reported emails with poor subject lines as “Spam”.
  2. 47% of recipients opened an email based on the quality of the subject line alone.
  3. Email subject lines which included the word “Newsletter” had an 18.7% decrease in open rate.
  4. Personalized subject lines were 22.2% more likely to be opened.
  5. Subject lines that create a sense of urgency received a higher open rate of 22%.
  6. Subject lines with the word “FW:” had a 17% fewer chance of being opened.
  7. Email subject lines that had a word count in the 6 to 10 range had a 21% chance of being opened.
  8. In contrast, email subject lines that had a word count in the 21 to 25 word range had the lowest open rate at 9%.

Would you like to see all of the hard work you put into your email content end up in the Spam folder? Of course not! This is why you should take the time to come up with the best email subject line.

How would you know that your email subject line will be effective? You have to run tests on your email subject lines.

  • How To Test Your Email Subject Lines

Before you proceed with your email marketing campaign, you choose a reliable email campaign services provider to manage your list. There are many good ones to choose from:

  • MailChimp
  • Infusionsoft
  • HubSpot
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Constant Contact
  • Emma
  • Pardot

These email campaign services providers are highly-respected, reputable, and popular with many businesses. The programs are easy to use and they all have great customer support. Some can even arrange for free online instruction.

Regardless of which email service you decide to use, these programs will make it very easy to create effective subject lines.

The next step would be to conduct A/B testing on the subject lines. Here are a few simple steps on how to test which email subject line will be the best for your content:

  1. The first thing you have to do before writing your email subject line is to create your content. This is quite basic, yet there are people who won’t write the content without coming up with the subject line first.

Why should you create content before coming up with an email subject line? It allows you to have a better understanding of what you are writing about.

We hope you use an outline before tapping away on your word processor. You will notice that as soon as you gain more clarity on the topic, the outline itself begins to undergo changes.

At the conclusion of your article, the context itself would have changed from your original idea. The writing process often creates a “cascading effect” that changes your overall thought and feel about the article.

When you have a better idea on the content, you will be able to come up with a compelling email subject line.

  1. Create two email subject lines. You can draw up a list of the best email subject lines you have come up with. From there, through a process of elimination, you should pick the best two examples. If you want, you can ask for opinions from trusted minds within your network.

Try to differentiate email subject line “A” from email subject line “B”. The usual approach would be to phrase email subject line as a question and email subject line “B” as a statement.

Another approach would be to phrase the email subject lines into two different types of emotions.

For example, you could use a humorous email subject line for “A” and something more serious or thought- provoking for email subject line “B”.

  1. “Subject” the email subject lines to the test. Your email service provider should have the option of allowing you to segment your contacts list.

You can set up the email service provider to send email subject line “A” to a percentage of your contacts. Then, send email subject line “B” to the same number of contacts.

Your email service provider will tabulate the results of the A/B test for you. However, it would be a good idea to notify them when you need the results.

  1. Once you have received the result from your email service provider, run one more test. This time, send the winning email subject line to the group that received the losing email subject line. Wait for the results to be tabulated again.

If the switch shows a similar result then it would more or less, validate the effectiveness of the winning email subject line. If the results are different, then the variable in question could be the demographics of the people you sent the emails to.

  • Conclusion – Analyzing the Results of the Email Subject Line Test

The second test that we described above is not necessary. The initial tabulation of the email service provider should be reliable enough. The second test would be another form of validation.

However, there is nothing wrong with finding ways to firm up your test results. When analyzing data, you have to take a look at the variables that could affect or influence the results of the test:

  • Take note of the variables in the email subject line. Does one email subject line include numbers or statistics? If it results in better open rates, then perhaps your subscribers are more confident reading content that provides data.
  • Keep a record of the times and days that the tests were conducted. It could also possibly be that your subscribers are more active working through their inboxes during certain hours or days of the week.
  • Try to categorize your subscribers into personas. People react to content quite differently. If you come across content that did very well with one group of people, it may not do well with another.

Finally, a great email subject line will be worthless unless it leads to great content. Even in email marketing, Bill Gates was prove     n right, “Content is King.” If you don’t have a history of posting great content, you will not have a good open rate no matter how good your email subject line is.