6 steps for great email subject lines in small business marketing

Posted by frank harris on Thu, Aug 02,2012

email-in-small-business-marketingAre you a B2B online marketer?  Or would you like to be one? Whatever your rationale for reading this article, here are 6 steps to help your lead nurturing campaigns by getting the most appealing subject lines.

  1. Check for deliverability. There are two kinds of filters you need to get past: actual SPAM filters, and your readers. Readers have a BS detector up when checking their inboxes,. Avoid spammy words like "free," "act now," and "limited time." Don't shout at the reader by using all caps, like "REMINDER," which is another spammy word that should be avoided. Also, steer clear of excessive use of punctuation marks such as pound signs and exclamation points at the end of sentences.

  2. Make it actionable. To have an actionable subject line, ask yourself one thing: does the reader know what he or she can do in the email? An email subject line is similar to writing a call-to-action; using verbs helps create the sense of urgency and excitement you want them to feel when reading your subject line. For example, a well written email subject line reads, "Meet the Legendary Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger," versus the less actionable "Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger." With the first subject line, I know I could do something in this email to help me meet Ming Tsai, as opposed to the second, where for all I know, Ming Tsai just went to Blue Ginger last night.

  3. Personalise. The only way you can provide value to your email recipients is by knowing them. And if you've segmented your subscriber list, you do know something about your recipients! Your email subject line should reflect that you're sending something that they want. For example, an estate agent may have segmentation just for renters looking for an flat by post code. Reflecting this knowledge in your subject line, such as "View a 2 Bedroom Flat in Cambridge" will drive up the value of that email for the recipient.

  4. Scrub for clarity. You know what your recipient will get if they open the email, but try to step out of your own shoes for a moment. Is it clear to an outsider? If your subject line is too broad, it won't resonate. This often happens when email marketers try to be witty with subject lines. Try and find a way to be clever and straightforward, but never at the expense of clarity. Can you further help recipients identify what the email is about by putting identifying keywords in the beginning of the subject line, alerting someone that their favourite item is in a sale? Include it at the beginning of the subject line.

  5. Edit for brevity. It's to your benefit to keep the subject line as short as possible. A good rule of thumb is 50 characters or fewer. Not only do you want as much of it as possible to display in the email pane (especially on mobile devices), but people are quickly scanning their inboxes to decide what to read, and what to delete. The shorter your subject line, the less likely you are to get glossed over.

  6. Ensure consistency. What the subject line promises should correspond with what is delivered in the email. Think about getting an email with a subject line that promises 75% off men's clothing, only to find out that it only applies to socks. This leads to lower open rates, lower click through-rates, and higher unsubscribe rates.

As with any recipe, testing is required for best results. Experiment with different verbs, reorder your words, and try different offers to see which ones resonate the most with your recipients.

Subject lines are just part of good email practice.  And email is an essential part of Lead Nurturing. To find out why you need lead nurturing campaigns and how to construct them why not have a look at our latest eBook by clicking below.

Download our eBook  On Lead Nurturing

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, leads

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