4 Tips How to Increase Open Rate by Using the Right Subject Line

As an e-mail marketer you’re surely wondering what happens with your email after it is sent. Did your subscribers open it? How many people opened your message and clicked on your links? Not only do such metrics help us identify active and inactive subscribers on our lists, they also help us understand whether our email is relevant to the expectations and interests of our recipients. That’s why we collect email tracking metrics – to analyze them and search for ways to improve them.

Me too, I decided to track my email campaign to find out whether my emails are as interesting to my recipients as I think. I used G-Lock Analytics tracking service. Immediately after the email was sent, G-Lock Analytics started calculating email opens and clicks and I was able to see the real time report in my account.

My stats were not bad, but I think the numbers could be higher. This gives me something to think about – how can I make more people open my message?

Two main factors that dive the open rate are: From and Subject. As a good email marketer you already know that the From field must clearly identify the sender. Your name or company name in the From field are preferable. If the sender is hard to recognize, the recipient is less likely to open the message.

The Subject line affects the email open rate significantly. Surely you noticed blatant Subject lines spammers use. And sometimes good email marketers also follow the spammers tactics. This is one of the stupid things email marketers can think of. For example, you probably know that anti-spam filters are often setup to filter such words as “free”, “buy”, “purchase”, “urgent”, “save $” and other words and phrases commonly used by spammers. So, email marketers may misspell such words in order not to trigger filters, for example “Sa.ve big by order.ing now”, or “Fre.e of.fer” or the like.

Yes, such emails may pass through the filters. But with regards to permission-based email marketing, the key is to build relationship with the subscribers based on trust and confidence and have them whitelist you. Misspelling and hard to read Subject lines are only a way to destroy relationship with the readers.

Using pure spammers’ methods is often a “lazy” method to improve deliverability and increase open rate.

So, below I’d like to share with you 4 tips on how you can increase email open rate by using the right Subject line:

1. Tease and Excite Curiosity

Curiosity is one of the main factors that drive open rate. Curiosity pulls people open the email. And the easiest way to excite the recipient’s curiosity is to start a sentence, then put an ellipsis and continue the sentence in the email body.

For example, you start the Subject with “Here is a Method That Helps Marketers…” and continue in the body “…Write Better Subject Lines”. Or, your Subject line may say “Little Known Ways to…” and the body continues “…Improve Your Open Rate” and so on. Got the idea?

These teasers can be very effective. An unfinished Subject line creates a great tension to know the rest and thus, open the message.

However, one small caution. A teaser Subject line should be composed very carefully. If it looks too spammy, not only does it hurt your open rate, it can ruin the recipient’s credibility in you as a reputable marketer.

With all that said, the best way to write a teaser Subject line is to use implication. The Subject line should imply that the answer is in your email and tease the reader to open the message looking for the answer. Examples of such Subject lines are:

  • “What Everybody Needs to Know About Writing Great Headlines”
  • “Little Known Ways to Lose Weight for Heavy Eaters”
  • “How I Lost 10 Pounds by Eating Chocolate”

Along with the “need to know” type of the Subject line, the Subjects which put any time or quantity limitations work very well too.

2. Express Urgency and Scarcity

Such Subject lines deliver something time-sensitive or quantity-limited that readers simply can’t miss.
You can state the urgency or scarcity either directly, for example:

  • “The Offer Expires at Midnight!”
  • “There Are Only 50 Discount Coupons Left!”
  • “How You Grabbed Your Copy Yet?”

or indirectly: “The Discounts are Available during Holiday Season Only!” or “Use Beta Version of Our New Software At NO Cost until the Official Release”.

However, you may not connect your Subject line with a certain date, time, event, etc. You can use various ways to create tension and fear of loss, for example:

  • “Who Else Wants to Get New Version at a Discounted Price?”
  • “Avoid These 5 Email Marketing Mistakes at All Costs!”
  • “Unless You Do This, You are Leaving Money on the Table”

Fear of loss is one of the greatest incentives to open an email. There may not be a direct urgency in these Subject lines but it’s implied – urgency in missing it out or at least know about it.

3. Be Different

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the Subject lines. Let your Subject line express contradiction, excite surprise, confusion, laugh, or even anger. But don’t let your Subject offend the reader in any way.

You may not limit yourself to your market niche only. You can tell about outside topics in your Subject line too if you feel they are relevant to your recipients and justify its use in the email itself. Few examples:

  • Quit Your Job and Make Even More Money!
  • How You Can Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat
  • Stop Setting Goals to Achieve Success!

One of the easiest tactics to be different is to not include the recipient’s name into the Subject line. Just like with everything that is overused, we’re fed up with it. This tactic doesn’t produce great results anymore. However, a personalized email is still beneficial and I would recommend including the reader’s name into the email body.

4. Choose the Subject Length Wisely

The Subject line length does matter too. Some email clients and web mail services cut the Subject off. So, if your Subject is too long, it may become senseless for the readers.  It’s better to focus on the shortest size of the Subject line – 25 characters. However, I think that it’s too little and would prefer 30-40 characters.

When writing the Subject for my email, I often hesitate about the case. No, I don’t even think about writing something like “HAVE YOU GRABBED YOUR COPY YET?”. I just think if I should capitalize only the first letter of the sentence, or the first letter of every word. For the moment I don’t have a definite answer which way works better. In some cases, all words in lower case may outperform the Subjects where the first letters of all words are capitalized. I think it’s all about your relationship and connection with your readers.

A little more originality and creativity will help you write the Subject lines that really work. One important thing you should always keep in mind is relevancy. The Subject line must be relevant to your email content and what is most important, to your readers.

As you see G-Lock Analytics provides you with a great opportunity to test the effectiveness of your email campaigns, conduct split tests to understand what works better for you and at the result improve your email campaign metrics.


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