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3.5 Tips to Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines That Really Get Noticed in Gmail
Kate Gingold
/ Categories: The Sprocket Report

3.5 Tips to Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines That Really Get Noticed in Gmail

The Sprocket Report

So were you more inclined to click through than usual? Attractive subject lines can be, well, subjective, but there are some statistically-based recommendations you can use.

 

The subject line of your email newsletter is all important since more than half of all recipients delete an email based on what it says. But almost half will open an email if they are intrigued by the subject line, so it is worth your time to put effort into crafting a good one. Here are three tips to get you started: (and a case study for you to consider as the .5!)

 

Tip #1: Tap into the Greed/Fear Emotions

Using the word “free” might be a spam trigger, but folks still love to score free stuff. They’re also afraid of losing what they already have. Those are the most powerful emotions to tap into for sales, marketing and of course, subject lines. 

 

Information to help people is actually one form of the “greed” appeal – you’re providing them something useful for nothing. But sharing information can also be a “fear” appeal – when you imply that your reader is missing out on something important. 

 

Tip #2: Research High-Performing Attributes

Lots of email providers and marketing companies keep statistics on open rates and click-through rates and analyze the content of email subject lines. They report back their analysis on what resonates best with recipients. You can read up on the optimal sentence structure, emotional feeling, word choice and word count so you can incorporate those techniques.

 

Several headline analyzer tools such as CoSchedule and Sharethrough will rate your subject line, comparing it to their statistics. We use tools like these for improvement suggestions. For fun, let’s take a look at how Sharethrough helped us craft today’s subject line:

 

Email Subscribers Really Notice These Subject Lines

Overall: 62 • Engagement: 58 • Impression: 41

 

This was our first draft. “Email subscribers,” “really” and “notice” are words that supposedly get attention. The overall rating, however, was “meh.” 

 

Subject Lines to Really Catch the Eye of Email Subscribers

Overall: 73 • Engagement: 77 • Impression: 40 

 

Mentioning a “body part” is supposed to help, so we added the “eye” which really boosted the rating. 

 

Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines To Really Get Noticed

Overall: 77 • Engagement: 85 • Impression: 38 

 

But the sentence feels awkward, so we switched the structure around and tried dropping off “email subscribers,” even though that phrase was supposed to be highly attractive. Engagement went up again, but Impression went down and we were curious how to get above average on Impression. 

 

Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines To Really Get Noticed in Gmail

Overall: 78 • Engagement: 85 • Impression: 42 

 

Using a brand name or an influencer is a particularly successful tactic, so we added “Gmail,” even though the kind of email service doesn’t matter. Engagement stayed good and Impression did improve, although still not above average. 

 

3 Tips to Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines That Really Get Noticed in Gmail

Overall: 81 • Engagement: 85 • Impression: 55

 

Numbers also get good open rates, a technique you have no doubt noticed in your inbox. Adding “3 Tips” to the sentence actually popped the Impression rate up over average, although it didn’t change the Engagement rate.

 

3.5 Tips to Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines That Really Get Noticed in Gmail

Overall: 81 • Engagement: 85 • Impression: 57

 

Since the case study isn’t technically one of the 3 tips, we made it “3.5 Tips” to see if the novelty helped. Humor and controversy can be very attractive, but you have to use it carefully. We got a couple more Impression points, but the Overall score didn’t change much. 

 

Many experts suggest using short (but not TOO short) subject lines because folks read email on their phones and the whole sentence may not appear in that format. 6-10 words seem to be optimal, but surprisingly, we didn’t get penalized on this long sentence. Also, even if it does get cut short, the first few words already ranked pretty well. 

 

Tip #3: Test Your Own Results

So now that you know the secret sauce, all you have to do is follow the recipe and reap the rewards of a greater open rate, right? While best practices are a great step in the right direction, the only real measure is to, well, measure. Fortunately, email services provide all kinds of statistics that can guide you to improving your opens and click-throughs. 

 

Yes, this takes some work and progress doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does your email subject line live in a vacuum – it’s only one small cog in your marketing machine. But as you continue to put effort into each one of those little cogs, that marketing machine really starts to hum, so it’s worth it. 

 

If you want to learn more about email marketing and email service providers, give us a call. We’re happy to help talk you through the pros and cons and get you set up properly. And watch for the next Sprocket Report – we’ll let you know if our open rate improved any!

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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