Especially for small businesses, picking the most relevant and successful digital marketing channel is a crucial step to achieving sustainable success. Limited budgets and time means not being able to accomplish a ‘blanket approach’; instead, you have to find the channels that work best for your needs.

A number of potential opportunities away. But in most cases, growing your small business is still most effective through email marketing. That is only true, of course, if you get the subject line right.

Maximizing Your Open Rates

What makes your audience decide to actually open your email? Given that the average consumer now receives more than 100 emails every single day, that question is central to determine your email marketing success.

The answer is obvious: your subject line. While other factors, such as the ‘From’ name and email, also play into the equation, the subject gives your recipients a distinct idea of what the email is about, and whether they will derive any value from reading it. If the answer is no, your message never even stands a chance.

Conveying Value

Given the importance of your subject line on audience attention and open rates, your subject line has to convey the tangible value that your recipients get from actually opening it. In other words, you need to explain exactly what the email is about, and why your audience will not regret the read.

One way to convey value without getting into too many specifics is to personalize your email. If you can give your audience the idea that they’re being spoken with rather than marketed to, your open rates will increase drastically. In fact, personalized subject lines provide a significant lift in open rates regardless of industry.

Technical Best Practices

The above tip sounds obvious – until you realize your restrictions. Especially as more of your readers will view your emails on mobile devices, you absolutely need to keep your subject lines short. Research shows that on average, subject lines between 61 and 70 characters in length receive the highest open rates.

Avoiding Spam Filters

Your subject line can also make a crucial difference in whether or not your email message lands in your recipients’ spam folders. Email clients keep a list of so-called trigger words, which tell them that a message is too promotional and probably not relevant or honest. Avoid these trigger words at all costs.

But don’t forget about manual spam filters, either. if your subject line seems overly promotional, or the body of your email does not follow up on the promise your subject makes, your audience could report the message as spam. Make sure that both your subjects and the actual messages are consistent and relevant to your audience.

Testing to Achieve Success

Finally, email subject lines offer a perfect opportunity for A/B testing. All of the above best practices apply to most industries – but who’s to say that your audience behaves exactly the same way? The only way to find out is to try two variations, and send them to two random segments of your intended audience. Depending on which of these audiences opens more emails, you know which subject line worked, and can use it (or learn from it) in future messages.

How much weight are you putting on finding the right subject line to make your email successful? You may think that the actual body copy is most important. But if few members of your audience actually see it because of an ineffective subject, little will be gained.

When you are looking to grow your business with email marketing, never forget about the importance of subject lines. To learn more about effective email marketing, and how you can integrate it into your marketing strategy, contact us.

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