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Boost Your Email Opens with a Better Subject Line
Kate Gingold
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Boost Your Email Opens with a Better Subject Line

The Sprocket Report

Regardless of what social media platform is the current darling, email marketing is still the best digital tool for lead generation and lead nurturing. But if your open rates are making you depressed, it’s time to shake things up a little by tweaking your subject line.

Since you certainly see your own share of email subject lines, you already know there are tons of variations. If you think about it, you can probably analyze your own personal response to the subject lines you read and extrapolate from that how your organization’s audience feels.

Some subject lines are straightforward, some coy and teasing. One popular one is “We made a mistake!” If you haven’t seen that one before, you’ll start noticing it a lot now that you’re aware. It’s amazing how many competent business folks make “mistakes.”

A MailChimp study found that the top five email subject lines were actually some version of "[COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter." It doesn’t seem you can get any more boring than that, but a subscriber who signed up because they REALLY want to hear from this company doesn't need any kind of hook to induce them to open these emails.

But if you don't have fans hanging on your every word, a subject line that’s informative and interesting can entice the casual reader to open your email.

Keep in mind that if you send an email newsletter, the headline of your top article shouldn’t by default be the subject line. Your headline may be perfectly crafted to include search terms so that your post does well in search engines, but it doesn’t serve the same function in an email inbox. Analyze your headline from both points of view.

We wish we could say “this is the formula for the best-performing headline,” but there really isn’t one. What we can tell you is that very smart people have crunched lots of numbers and you can see what has worked well in the past.

One easy way to take advantage of all that analysis is to use a tool like Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule. This tool is free, but they will ask you for a little info about your business. We have not seen an influx of spam after signing in with them.

On the tool, you type in the headline you’d like to use and they give it a numerical score. Some of the qualities that they score you on include:

  • The number of words used
  • Whether emotions are evoked
  • Uncommon word choices
  • The first and last three words
  • How it looks in a mailbox

You can tweak your headline and re-score it. They keep a history so you can compare what changes improved your score and what didn’t.

For instance, the title of this article started as “Choose the Right Email Subject Line” with a score of 64. They suggested this “generic” headline needed more emotion and more “uncommon” words.  

“Boost Email Opens by Super-Charging Your Subject” got a 68, but it was too long.  “Boost Your Email Opens with a Better Subject Line” scored a 72 and a further few minutes of tweaking didn’t make a difference, so we went with that one.

Of course your actual blog post is important, but few people will see it if the subject line doesn’t pique their interest, so it makes sense to spend some time crafting a good headline. Try it for yourself and check your open rate. Even better would be to try an A-B test!

Sprocket Websites provides these tips because we want to help businesses and organizations prosper. With growth comes new website needs and we want to be your website partner so we can both grow together. Need some web advice or service? Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you grow.

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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.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

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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