As fellow copywriter Michael Katz likes to say, unless you’re emailing Mom, you’ll need to be more strategic about your subject lines. That is, if you want anyone else to read your emails.
Moms are very forgiving. So long as they know an email is from you, of course they’ll open it.
This point leads to Tip No. 1. Consider your target audience. A target audience is the person you intend to write your email to.
For example, when emailing the CEO of a company, it’s better to not lead with “hey, dude.” The tone is much too casual. It presumes a familiarity that likely doesn’t exist.
You wouldn’t want to write with starched staunchness either. Like “A favor of a reply is urgently needed by the end of next Thursday.” Unless your target audience actually speaks this way regularly.
The sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle. To be effective, though, you have to forget about yourself and, instead, appeal to the interests of your target audience.
Realize that everyone is busy. If your email box is like mine, you have a lot of catching up to do.
Tip No. 2. Get to the point. Let the reader know up front what the email is about.
A subject line like “read my story” is too vague. Why would a reader care?
However, “how I lost 10 stubborn pounds” might be of interest to some. You don’t know what the remedy is, but you know enough to decide if you want to continue reading. I’m assuming you trust the source of the email.
Tip No. 3. Why not ask a question? It can be intriguing. Curious people will want to know.
Want to lose 10 stubborn pounds? Are your leads drying up? Want to help Australia? And so on…
As with anything, too much of a good thing stales quickly. Resist the temptation to always ask a question.
Tip No. 4. Try to keep your subject lines at eight words or less. With so many people viewing emails on their phone screens, getting your message across quickly becomes more important. People get annoyed when they have to futz with their phones to read your message. In this case, the delete button is more inviting.
Try to write the most important words first, in case someone’s phone doesn’t display the entire subject line. Every advantage helps.
Tip No. 5. Use an ellipsis…occasionally.
An ellipsis (…) invites a reader into your email.
For instance, “To lose weight safely…” “Erase pain with this…” “Increase sales by doing what your grandma did…”
Again, use an ellipsis as a tool in your tool kit. Not as a “must do” every time you write an email.
You can use these tips in your next emails to get a better open rate.
Why not try them out this Valentine’s Day? But don’t write “I love you” to a CEO, unless he or she is a very close family member, like your mom.
As always, I will strive to add a dose of realism, while putting some worth in your while.