Even though recipients have opted in to your e-mail list; they know the name of your company; and they are expecting to hear from you – there is no guarantee that they will receive, open, and act on your e-mails. The “from” and “subject” lines are key to getting them past the first critical points.
Use your brand to become a trusted sender. “Even with subscription-based e-mails, people don’t open them if they don’t recognize you,” says Gail Goodman, ceo, Constant Contact. “Use a consistent e-mail address in the ‘from’ line with your company name in the prefix before the ‘@’ or the domain name – and keep the line short so that the complete address appears.” Incorporating your brand in the subject line can also boost recognition.
Make every word count. “The typical subject line window has room for only five to eight words,” says Gail. She recommends making up for lack of space with solid words that offer value. “Think in terms of your audience and what few words will convey specific benefits,” she says. “The recipient will typically either open or delete your e-mail in three seconds or less. If there isn’t something about the subject line that lets them know why it’s worth their time to see what’s inside, then the choice will be clear.” Gail also stresses the importance of being straightforward and honest. (Use of misleading subject lines is against the law.) She advises people to revisit their subject lines after writing the message, both to make sure they are in sync and that the most compelling aspect is highlighted.
Write subject lines that don’t trigger spam filters. Unless your subject line is a question, avoid punctuations (especially exclamation points), symbols such as multiple $$, and all caps – all of which increase the chances of e-mails being filtered. Other red flags include “Re:” (as if to reply to a previous e-mail) and addressing recipients by name. “The more you can make each person feel that you are speaking directly to them, the more effective your communication will be,” says Gail. “But subject line personalization is a tactic that spammers have adopted – and it’s a waste of valuable space. Better to use the subject line for carefully chosen words that compel someone to open your e-mail and save the personalization for the message.”