Why Email Subject Lines are Important (And How to Write a Good One)

Why Email Subject Lines are Important (And How to Write a Good One)

Whether you are a small company just starting out or an established business, you probably have heard how vital it is to have an email list. But what happens after you start growing your list is the most important ingredient to your successful email marketing strategy.

The Secret Sauce: Email Subject Lines

We all do it — skim through our email inbox, pick our favorite senders or an intriguing subject line to save, and the rest go straight to the trash (or get completely ignored).

In all honesty, brands are hardly ever someone’s favorite sender, so the best bet to have your audience read and engage with your email is to write a great subject line.

You can spend hours crafting the perfect email for your list, but all of your hard work goes to waste if your email ends up in the trash before your audience even opens it.

So what makes your email subject line stand out?  

Key Components to Highly Converting Email Subject Lines

The reason email marketing can be so successful is due to the relationship it builds with your audience. Rather than a social media post that speaks to the masses, an email has more of a “letter from your friend” type of effect. These four things can help build that relationship.

#1 Emotion

What triggers your subscribers’ feelings? What tugs on their heart strings? Choose something that makes them want to take action.

#2 Curiosity

No one wants the fear of missing out – so give them a little bite of what’s to come. Make them so curious that they cannot stop themselves from clicking that email.

When creating curiosity in your email subject lines, focus on the five dimensions of curiosity:

  1. Deprivation sensitivity – a knowledge gap that needs to be filled
  2. Joyous exploration – fascination with a subject or concept
  3. Social curiosity – a desire to learn more about other people
  4. Stress tolerance – the willingness to embrace confusion, doubt, and other forms of distress
  5. Thrill-seeking – a desire for adventure

#3 Flattery

Everyone likes to feel special. Pay subscribers a direct compliment about themselves or their business. Giving them a little ego boost can almost guarantee an email click. 

#4 Self Interest 

Believe it or not, people tend to care more about themselves than you or what you are offering. (I know, shocking.) What does your audience have to gain personally from your email?

If you can find the problem they are facing and give them the solution in your email subject line, they are much more likely to take action and open the email.

How Do You Know Your Email Subject Lines are Working?

There is no one size fits all for email marketing, so it’s important to test things out. And thanks to updates like Apple’s iOS 15 update, we can’t rely on simply one metric to determine the success of an email. 

All email platforms provide statistics showing how many emails were delivered and opened. We recommend keeping a spreadsheet to show which type of email subject lines provide the best open rate. Once you have your data compiled, use what you have gathered to further build your relationship with your subscribers.

Here are three additional email metrics to track when analyzing your email performance to help you determine the success of your emails.

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): the amount of people who clicked on your call to action (or links) in your email
  • Average Session Duration: average amount of time people spent engaging with your content
  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of emails that could not be delivered to the recipients    

Get Customized Email Subject Lines

How do you know if your email subject lines stack up against the competition? You can check out our Email Marketing Grader tool and compare your analytics to others in your industry.

There’s a lot of pressure crafting the perfect email subject lines. And the truth is, the difference between your email going to the inbox vs. going to the spam folder isn’t based solely on your subject line. It’s based on your email engagement — of which the subject line is only one piece of the puzzle.

If you are still feeling stuck with your email marketing, let us help you stand out.

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