5 Steps to Create Killer Subject Lines


It’s not easy to get your email noticed considering the amount of emails that land in an inbox in a given day. The average person gets 81 emails a day, according to market research conducted by The Radicati Group. To stand out in the crowd, we’ve created a 5-step list to help you create killer subject lines.

Know your audience
Are you using email marketing to market to teens, business professionals, or soccer moms? Whoever you’re sending emails to, you need to know your audience so you can write appropriate subject lines. You need to talk the talk.For instance, if you’re marketing to college students, these subject lines will work:
• Win an Outfit for You and Your BFF
• Hit Tunes to Rock Out to on Campus
• Five Laptops That Will Make You Say OMGCan you imagine using these subject lines to market the same products to business professionals? Absolutely not. Your subject line should reflect the voice of your audience.

Get to the point
Once you have a good handle on your audience, you’ll want to brainstorm a few subject lines that are short and to the point. Aim for a subject line that’s around 40 characters.Kari DePhillips, owner of The Content Factory, an online PR firm, creates subject lines for the company’s newsletter. Each subject line tells readers exactly what they’re about to read.For example, take a look at this recent newsletter from the company.

The Content Factory Newsletter Example

For the email above, DePhillips created this subject line: Are You Tired of Wasting Time and Money at Trade Shows? It’s short, intriguing, and to the point. So far this snappy subject line has an open rate of 21 percent.

Create a sense of urgency
Once your email hits inboxes, you want customers to act quickly. This is especially true if you’re trying to sell a certain product. To create a sense of urgency, use active language and tell customers why they need to act fast. Here are three examples of urgent subject lines pulled right from an inbox.

Subject Line Examples

One of the easiest ways to create a sense of urgency is to put a timeframe on the deal.

Don’t overuse urgent phrases
While you want to create a sense of urgency, you don’t want to overdo it. If you send four emails in a row that have words like “Buy Now” your email could end up in the spam filter. Make sure you vary the wording.

Test your subject lines
To make sure that your subject lines are resonating with your recipients, you’ll want to test them, Anna Hutson, director of account services for marketing agency, Anvil Media, says.

One of the most common ways to check your subject line success is to run an A/B split test. With this test, you split your email list. Each half gets the same email content, but different subject lines. Then, you can compare metrics and see if one subject line gets more open and click through rates than the other.

If you don’t want to get into A/B split testing, DePhillips suggests testing different subject lines on Twitter. Try tweeting out the same link, but with varied tweets. If one tweet gets more traction, use that wording in your subject line.

Have another tip to create killer subject lines? Tell us in the comment section below.

Lisa Furgison

About the Author:
Lisa Furgison is a freelance journalist and co-owner of a media company, McEwen’s Media. Find her on Twitter @lfurgison.