Subject lines can make or break an email campaign in today’s overcrowded mailboxes. All marketers know this by now – yet often little time is spent crafting them. Here’s eight tips to think about when crafting your next email campaign.

Basic Tips for Writing Subject Lines

  1. Invoke Curiosity: Tease content without giving everything away. That’s an obvious tip, unlike this next one… (See what we did there?)
  2. Use Humor: True cleverness can catch a customer’s eyes. And when you share a smile with someone, you create a more personal connection.
  3. Create Urgency: Implying scarcity or time sensitivity can compel readers to act quickly, because let’s face it: FOMO is real!
  4. Personalize: If you can add your customer’s name – or any other compelling data point – do it. Just remember to make that point relevant to avoid sounding like a bot.
  5. Be Authentic: Sometimes, buzzwords can go viral. Strive to choose words that are authentic to you. Originality will make you stand out, not blend in with the choir.
  6. Leverage Pop Culture: You know whether or not your customers love Star Wars. Connect with them about it. Today’s customers expect that more than ever from brands.
  7. Use Emojis Carefully: Emojis can draw the eye, but they should be used sparingly. Be sure they match your brand’s tone and actually make sense to the message. ⚠️
  8. Look to the Future: Don’t let yourself be constrained by rules that used to apply but have evolved in today’s new world. The goal is to make a connection, first and foremost.

Basic Rules of Punctuation in Subject Lines

Punctuation and the use of symbols or numbers can also be powerful tools for your subject lines, but they must be used wisely as well.

  1. Exclamation Points: Use these to convey excitement or urgency, but also use them sparingly. Too many can feel spammy or worse: desperate.
  2. Question Marks: Question marks can be fantastically effective. Just strive to make sure the answer to your question is always “yes.” So. Are daring enough to try?
  3. Commas, Colons, and Dashes: These can help separate thoughts, allowing you to pack two or more messages in one easy-to-digest line. But again: these should be used sparingly to help clarify, not confuse.
  4. Numbers: Numbers can make a subject line more specific and actionable. Remember to consider the noun that follows after. Are they 8 reasons…or 8 must-haves? Choose the word that will be most impactful to your audience.
  5. ALL CAPS: A light touch of CAPS can be effective, but they are to be used the most sparingly of all. We all know how aggressive and scream-y they feel. No need for us to illustrate. Plus, they can hurt deliverability – YIKES!

Testing A/B, Testing A/B!

Every brand is unique. And in today’s hyper-connected world, customers are making more and more personalized connections with them. A/B testing can help you hone your messaging to nurture that relationship to its fullest. Because after all, how can you know whether or not your customers are secret emoji lovers if you don’t give them a try?

Just remember to keep your test as clean as possible, above all else. If you are indeed testing emojis, keep the rest of your subject line exactly the same. Be as careful as possible to test only one element at once to truly help inform your next campaign.

Here are 5 easy and effective test ideas:

  1. Include a number vs. no number
  2. Add punctuation vs. no punctuation
  3. Use <firstname> personalization vs. no <firstname>
  4. Test including an emoji at the end of your subject line vs. no emoji
  5. Test the length of your subject line – we suggest 5 words versus long enough to cause the reader to see … on most mobile devices

Need someone to help craft that perfect subject line for your next email campaign? We’d love to chat.