Whether you have clients, fans, members, a tribe, or just plain 'ol subscribers, anyone who has an email list has had the experience of drafting what they thought was an awesome message, only to find out that less than a quarter of the recipients never even got to see the email because they didn't open it.
The truth is, across all industries, the typical open rate for email campaigns is a dismal 25%. And while some industries naturally skew upward or downward of that number, there are things you can do to help boost your email open rate for your list and get more eyes on your oh-so-important marketing messages.
While there is immense value in fancy tools like list segmentation and automation, when it comes down to it, its the subject line that your subscribers will encounter first, and its what makes the biggest difference in whether your email has a chance of making an impact or a sale.
The subject line is arguably the MOST important part of any email communication, but its usually the part that's composed last or as an afterthought.
The worst email subject lines ...
Subject lines like "Project Update #3" or "January Sales" are ripe candidates for the trash folder.
...with one exception that I'll explain below, this goes without saying. Grammatical and typographical errors look bad, but in an email subject line where there's but a few words and an extremely short window of time to catch your recipient's attention, errors make a more negative impact.
USE ALL CAPS
This is unnecessary ... and doesn't work. Especially if you couple the caps with words like URGENT or ACT NOW. Save that level of drama for when you actually need to communicate something that dire.
Have the same title as the last email you sent
Seriously, you can't just keep sending emails with the same subject. That's an instant invitation for your recipients to ignore you a best and unsubscribe at worst.
The best kinds of subject lines ...
Questions create intrigue and make us want to answer or to know the answer. As subscribers fun stuff like "Are you coming?" or "What's this all about?" and watch the opens soar.
Using the recipient's first name
Try not to use this one too often but personalizing your already interesting subject line with the recipient's name makes most people just have to open that email.
Use emoji ... (but not too many)
Emoji are fun and can make your emails stand out and look intriguing amid the sea of emails your subscriber receives every day.
Use humor where appropriate
And finally ... my secret weapon for getting emails opened:
Yup! That's it. If it aligns with your business or brand, it can be really helpful to spice it up and use a subject line that's written in lowercase. It's super stealthy, but it gets the job done -- and if the messaging on the inside aligns with the subject line, your subscribers won't mind that you hacked their brain and got them to open it.
As an exercise, before you ever start writing your next subject line, go through your own inbox and see what you feel compelled to open. Sure there are brands and senders that you open regardless, but for the others, pay attention to what grabs you and why.