It’s true: almost half of the 1,006 participants in a Yes Marketing study said email was their preferred channel for brand communications. While text messages and social media are also effective marketing mediums, email is no doubt the dominant one, and the one that yields the best results. How do you make the most of that? Let’s take a closer look at the stats, and then we’ll share some of our best subject line writing tips.
Email them, because they love it
If you had any doubt about starting an email list, or emailing the people who’ve already joined it, you’ll change your mind once you read this article. 47% of the people that participated in this Yes Marketing study said email is the channel they prefer when it comes to communicating with brands.
Display advertising came second, with 17% of people saying they like it, and text messages, with a response of 14%, were ahead of social media (which only got 10%).
People love email so much that even if they don’t always open up your messages, they still keep an eye on what you send. Most of them quickly scan the subject lines and decide whether the content calls their name or not.
Survey report from Yes Marketing: "Surviving the Retail Apocalypse"
Some don’t unsubscribe because they expect a nice birthday gift, while others are just too busy to look for the “Unsubscribe” button. A surprising 15% said they have a hard time finding the button. That’s a poor email marketing practice. No one should be kept in a relationship against their will. Always make sure your “Unsubscribe” button is clearly visible at the end of every email.
Subject lines determine your open rate
Actually, I take that back: what determines your email deliverability – and hence, your open rates – is how clean your list is. If email validation isn’t a part of your email marketing yet, your database may be outdated and risky.
What does that mean? When invalid and fake email addresses get on your list and you don’t do anything to remove them, less people will get your emails. I’m not only talking about the invalid and fake contacts – those are sure to bounce, as there’s no one on the receiving end.
But as your bounce rate increases, your reputation gets tainted, and Internet Service Providers will think of you as an unprofessional sender. What they’ll do next is stop delivering your emails to the valid email addresses in your list. The more you allow your list to be clogged by bots, spam traps, abuse and other types of bad addresses, the greater the risk of getting blacklisted.
But once an email verifier prunes your list, subject lines are crucial to your open rates. Writing a good subject line is like writing a good newspaper headline. People scan it within seconds, and if the headline catches their eye, they buy the newspaper – or, at least, leaf through it in the store.
You may want to read: How to Write A Great Subject Line
Here are five essential aspects to remember when choosing your subject line:
- Deliver on your promises. Let the subject line reflect your content. If anything, surprise people with even better content than they expected, instead of inflating your subject lines and disappointing them on the content side.
- Clarity over everything. Before hitting “Send,” ask your colleagues and friends for some feedback: is the subject line clear? Does it convey the right message? Avoid being vague, your subscribers should know what to expect.
- Yes, shorter is better. Apparently, subject lines between 1 and 20 characters have higher open rates. However, that doesn’t mean you should always stick to this rule. Go for longer versions when you need to.
- Inform and pique curiosity. Just like the newspaper headlines we were talking about earlier, subject lines have two main missions: to inform (“OK, I see what this email is about!”) and to make people curious (“I want to learn more about that!”).
- Triple-check your grammar. Of course you check. Once, maybe twice. But check three times, because even the savviest of copywriters can make a big, fat typo right in the subject line. Ideally, you would test your email with a group of at least five people.