The purpose of your email subject line is to get the recipient to open the email. It’s not a space-filler and should never be an afterthought.
You can’t take subject lines for granted.
Mix up your approach to subject lines to keep recipients interested. Break free from dull copy by bucking your usual conventions. Here are six tricks for better subject lines.
1. Make It Personal
Think about your subscribers and readers. Which ones are your strongest prospects? Which are your loyal collectors?
Write directly to these people as you’re crafting your message and your subject line by opting for the words You and Your over Me, My and Mine as much as possible. Write to them in a conversational, authentic tone.
2. Be Specific
Don’t use the same subject line for every email to your list. If we see the subject line News from Diane Jenson’s Studio every month in our inboxes, we begin to think it’s the same message over and over again.
You want readers to know that there is unique content in each message.
3. Add an Identifier
If you send a regular newsletter, create an identifying phrase to use at the beginning of your subject line. For example, notice that I use [ArtBiz] in the subject line for this newsletter. You can use something like [JensonArt] and add the topic after the identifier: [JensonArt] Small work, big ideas.
4. Read and Notice What Works for Others
Notice which subject lines you’re drawn to and which you delete without thought. Read newspapers for ideas and, as numerous copywriters suggest, study the headlines on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.
5. Use Numerals Instead of Written Text — and Use Unexpected Numbers
The number 50 has more of a visual impact than the word fifty.
Speaking of which, fifty characters, including spaces, is a good length for a subject line. Note, however, that I chose to use 49 in the title of this article because 49 is a more interesting number than 50.
6. Ask a question
Questions are powerful! People have opinions about everything and are happy to be asked. If you want to engage your readers in a dialogue, use a question in your subject line. Something like: Will you be at the gallery on Thursday?
Look over your past few email broadcasts. How could you have written the subject line differently in order to get a better open rate?
Share your headlines below and maybe you’ll get some feedback.
Note: This is edited and excerpted for an article I wrote for the December issue of Art Calendar (now Professional Artist).