Marketers and email go together like Tony Soprano and cigars. In fact, 68% of companies rate email as the best marketing channel for ROI. But good email marketing is a craft. And success or failure depends on your email subject line.
That’s because all kinds of communications are beamed into our brains for every waking moment. It’s a lot of info, and only so much can stick.
So to make sure your emails get noticed, we spoke to Cognism's email experts Liam Bartholomew and James Sutton. Below, they provide the best email subject lines for different marketing scenarios, along with some killer tips.
Adding value to readers is the core goal of every newsletter. This means you should avoid a blanket approach in your newsletter email subject lines. Instead, focus on how your company updates benefit your readers, and how it can remedy their pain points.
Using “Newsletter” as your email subject line is likely to kill your message stone dead. That’s because it doesn’t indicate the value a reader can gain by clicking through. To write something resonant, home in on what you’re offering and why it matters.
Including names, locations or companies in your email subject line helps to separate you from run of the mill email blasts. Even if your newsletter is going to 5,000 contacts, make sure it’s personalised.
So, if you have multiple buyer personas, use different subject lines to address them. Also try to serve up tailored content. After all, giving marketers sales content is unlikely to strike a chord. Tapping into topical conversations is another fruitful tactic. This helps to emphasise the timeliness, and thereby relevance, of your message.
Successful hooks do enough to pique interest without giving the game away. Attention-grabbing data, special offers, exclusive content and questions will all help achieve this.
Inboxes are full of dry email subject lines. And you want your newsletter to stand out. Humour and emojis are great ways to cut through the noise and may even make your readers look forward to your newsletter.
There’s a fine line to be struck in product email subject lines. On the one hand, you want to include technical detail. On the other hand, you don’t want to turn your readers off with complex jargon. To achieve this feat, all you need is a sprinkling of context...
Whether it’s a product update or a product launch, your subject line has to grab attention. And “Say hello to [insert product] 2.0” is unlikely to cut the mustard. Instead, choose the headline benefit of the product and hint at how it could benefit your readers.
Personalised email subject lines land. Generic email subject lines don’t. So when you’re covering products, try segmenting your data. This will allow you to address different customer bases effectively. You can also try calling out your audience in the subject line. Including job titles like “Sales Leader!” or “CEOs!” will leave no illusions about who you’re addressing and why.
We explored the value of hooks and humour in our newsletter section above, and product emails are no different. Provocative questions and eye-catching stats are your secret weapon.
Email is a great way to guide leads through the sales funnel. And blending a number of email subject line tactics should help get your personas from A to B.
Moving beyond first name data is a nice trick to have up your sleeve. Especially if you’re selling a product, you’re likely to be liaising with key decision makers. And they're responsible for whole departments, not just themselves. In these cases, focusing on company names can help make your subject line more resonant.
Don’t beat around the bush. Let your reader know what you’re talking about in the first couple of words. This will help them identify value as they scan through their emails. Also try and keep your subject lines around 40 characters.
Email subject lines that ask questions get results. In fact, when James sent a nurture email to around 500 cold leads, the results were frightening. “[First name], who’s buying right now?” returned a whopping 52% open rate and a 24% click through rate.
The email shared a new trial for Cognism’s prospecting tools, focusing on how to identify active leads through the platform during COVID. It was successful because it used personalisation and tapped into a huge issue facing salespeople and marketers.
Data is the most valuable resource in the world. Don’t be scared to use it. If you can draw on a recent study that highlights the value of your product, amazing. If you can illustrate that statistic with real life examples or case studies, even better. This helps the reader visualise how your product could work for them.
Different email subject lines will work better for different audiences. Using A/B testing will help you hone your approach and guarantee high open rates.
Particularly in cases of cold outreach, credibility is key. If the reader of the email doesn’t know you, they might know your company. They may also know people in your professional network. By using your subject line to name-drop, you’ll be setting yourself up for success against your anonymous competition.
You may only get one chance to make a connection with a high-value prospect, so strike the iron while it’s hot. If an event or development makes your product attractive to an audience group, be sure to reference it. It could be the spark you need to turn them into loyal customers.
Sometimes, wacky works. If you’ve chased and chased again on an outreach email, take your foot off the breaks and get creative. You can even crack wise or point fun at the situation. But be sure to run more daring email subject lines by your peers to check you’re not going overboard.
Everyone knows how to write good internal emails, right? Well, you’d be surprised. Even though your co-workers have a vested interest to help you out, they’re busy with client work. Just as you would with a client or a cold lead, you need to grab their attention.
Make your email subject line as easy as possible for your co-workers to understand. This will allow them to quickly action your request. Including keywords at the beginning of your subject line will help.
You know these guys. That means there’s room for a casual tone and humour as long as it doesn’t detract from your key message.
Don’t let your co-workers stick your request on the laterbase. Because as soon as that happens, it’s never getting done. By introducing a time deadline, you’ll get your teammates to jump to attention. And you won’t have to add that red exclamation mark that everyone hates.
Your email is important, so don’t send it at a random time. This will make your request feel like an afterthought, making replies and actions less likely. You can always use scheduling tools to ensure your email arrives at an appropriate time. Sending between 6am - 7am will ensure your mail is the first thing your reader sees.
Now your readers are opening your emails, you can use them as a marketing channel. Learn more
Good first impressions are the foundation of strong relationships. Bad ones ... well … they’re best not talking about.
And with virtual email introductions, the stakes are high. While you can squirm out of awkward situations in person, there’s no hiding from a bland subject line. Or a typo in your first sentence.
That connection you wanted to establish with a high-value prospect vanishes before your very eyes, and you’re back to square one.
But fear not: there is a formula for email introduction success, no matter who your audience is.
Let’s dive in.
Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. Your email introduction is no different. In this piece, we’ll explore each part of your email, including examples, to help you on your way.
Professional email addresses are jam-packed with filler content. So whoever your audience is, you need to grab their attention. That means including a punchy subject line that gets to the point.
In warm emails, you can leverage information from previous interactions with your reader. In cold emails, you need to go the extra mile for them to notice your message. In both cases though, it must be clear that you’re adding value.
The reader knows what the purpose of the email is because of the keywords at the beginning of the subject line. They’re also hooked by a clear call to action (CTA).
Again, we have clear keywords at the beginning of the subject line. By including the company name too, we add authority to our message.
This cold email targets the specific pain points of the reader. “Three tips” also indicates the message will be easily digestible. As a result, the reader can quickly extract value.
Waffling is a sure-fire route to the recycle bin. Since this subject line includes keywords at the end rather than the beginning, that’s where it’s likely to end up.
This feels like a phishing email. “Randomly” prevents the sender from establishing a connection with the reader, while “free gift” is included at the end of the subject line.
If you already know your target audience wants to scale their startup, asking them a question about it is pointless. Also, an extensive list of instructions is likely to overwhelm your reader. Leave the detail for the link in your CTA.
Your greeting is small but significant. On the one hand, you don’t want to sound like a 17th century aristocrat. On the other, you don’t want to come across like David Brent.
In formal industries like law and finance, play things safe with “Dear” or “Good morning/afternoon”. In informal industries like marketing, choose from “Hello,” “Hi” or “Hey”.
Can you remember replying to a cut and paste template sent out to 5,000 contacts? Of course you don’t. That’s what makes email personalisation so crucial.
Particularly when you introduce yourself in an email, you have to make the reader feel like they matter. And it should be the first thing you focus on after your greeting.
To do that:
“An item in your basket is selling out fast. We thought we’d let you know so you don’t miss out.”
“We’ve noticed you’re enjoying our blogs about email. And there’s plenty more where that came from.”
“I loved your LinkedIn piece about key challenges facing startup CEOs in 2020. I found the section about scaling your remote teams really interesting.”
It might feel jarring not to introduce yourself at the beginning of the email. But stay strong. By showing an interest in your reader, they’re more likely to reciprocate.
Always try to choose CTAs that match your subject line. This ensures that the reader finds what they’re looking for.
So, if your subject line is “20% discount code,” include one for the reader. If your subject line is “Mailtastic’s free email eBook,” include a link to the download page.
“In case you’re struggling to make up your mind about your order, we included a 20% discount code for you.”
“Why not download our comprehensive email eBook? It’s on us.”
“To help you overcome the challenges you laid out, we’ve compiled three tips from our ‘How to scale your startup’ whitepaper below:
All these examples work because the CTA is consistent with the subject line. They also lead naturally from the messages used to establish a connection.
Adding unnecessary information can either confuse your reader or put them off. So, when you’re signing off, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Open the door for your reader to ask for more and thank them. That’s it.
“Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks, [your name]”
“Hope to speak soon. Cheers, [your name]”
“We hope this helps. Thanks, [your name]”
In a short, snappy email, typos are extra noticeable. And so is fluff. To ensure your writing is up to scratch, use a free tool like Hemingway Editor.
Besides making suggestions about your grammar, Hemingway checks that your sentences are easy to read. You should strive for a grade below ten before sending your email. That means every reader will understand your message.
Every email signature should provide key contact information, such as:
But you can also use your email signature creatively. With specialist email signature platforms, you can transform all your emails into targeted marketing campaigns. So if you’re trying to drive traffic to an upcoming webinar, online event, product demo or blog, you can.
After all, if your reader liked what you had to say first time around, they probably want to hear more from you. Email signature marketing is a non-invasive way to do that. And it looks great.
Also, when you want to change your plug, you don’t have to wait weeks for IT to sort it. Marketers centrally manage campaigns in email signature platforms, ensuring quality and consistency. This means different teams within a business can send out tailored messages relevant to their readers.
Because of this, you can build on your connections with your customers.
Find out what our customers say about Mailtastic.
We’ve all been there. You’ve constructed the perfect email, but as soon as you hit send, the formatting goes haywire.
When you introduce yourself in an email, dodgy formatting can detract from your message. It implies that you haven’t taken the time and care to check it over, even if the issue is beyond your control.
That means it’s always best to check how your message sends before it goes to a contact. Try sending it to yourself and to colleagues to make 100% sure your email looks the part.
20% discount code: Claim yours now
An item in your basket is selling out fast. We thought we’d let you know so you don’t miss out.
In case you’re struggling to make up your mind about your order, we included a 20% discount code for you. Just copy and paste CLAIM20 into the promo box when you check out.
Thanks for your support,
Mailtastic’s free email eBook
We noticed you’re enjoying our blogs about email and inbound marketing. And there’s plenty more where that came from.
Why not download our comprehensive email eBook? It’s on us.
3 tips for scaling your startup
I loved your LinkedIn piece about key challenges facing startup CEOs in 2020. I found the section about scaling your remote teams really interesting.
To help you overcome the challenges you laid out, we’ve compiled three tips from our ‘How to scale your startup’ whitepaper below:
1 Hire people that reflect your values
2 Make your vision clear
3 Let your team own tasks
I hope this helps.
As with any email, there’s a chance your reader might not reply. But getting your follow-up etiquette right is tricky.
You don’t want to pester your reader and erode the good will you’ve earned. Equally, if your reader missed your original email because of their busy schedule, you don’t want them to miss out on the value you can add.
So, try returning to them in a natural way, two to three days after your initial email. This could be:
“Hi Kalpesh. Your 20% discount code: CLAIM20 expires tonight at 21:00 BST. We thought you’d like to know.”
“Hey Zara. We also have tonnes of great content on inbound marketing. Check out our definitive 2020 guide.”
1 Catch your reader’s attention with your subject line
2 Greet them and include their name
3 Connect with them by adding value
4 Choose a CTA that matches your subject line
5 Thank your reader for their time
6 Proofread your email
7 Use your email signature as a marketing tool to keep readers in your pipeline
8 Send a test message to yourself and colleagues
9 Follow-up with your reader if they don’t reply
Want to learn more about the power of email? Arrange a Mailtastic demo