6 Email Subject Line Best Practices Every Small Business Should Know

People make snap decisions about the types of emails they decide to open.

This means that even if someone is a fan of your business and is interested in what you have to say, they may be less likely to open your message if your subject line fails to make an impression.

Finding the perfect subject line can take some time, but with a little work you could soon be writing subject lines that get more opens and help improve your email marketing results.

Here are 6 tips to help you get started from our friends over at Constant Contact:

1. Use the 2-2-2 principle

The 2-2-2 principle offers a simple structure for writing subject lines.

The first 2 stands for the two seconds you typically have to compel your customer to pay attention. The second 2 represents the first two words of your subject line that determine whether or not your customer will read the rest of the subject line. The third 2 stands for the “to” in today. Why does your email matter today?

2. Be careful not to be misleading

It may not be your intention, but if your subject lines aren’t telling the whole truth or are structured in a way your customers may misunderstand — then you could be putting your reputation at risk.

To avoid any potential mix-ups, consider asking a colleague or staff member to read your subject line and email content before you hit send. Is your email delivering what your subject line promises? Do people know what to expect when clicking to open?

These answers may seem obvious to you, but they should also be clear to the reader.

3. Keep it short and sweet

What good is your subject line if people can’t read it? Make sure your subject line doesn’t get cut short by keeping it under 40 characters or about five to eight words.

Your readers want to scan through their inbox quickly. Sometimes subject lines that use only a word or two can stand out and get the most engagement.

4. Create urgency, just not all the time

Sometimes people will need a little urgency to persuade them to open your email. This is especially important when you’re running a special promotion or if you have any important deadlines coming up.

In these situations, the difference between using a subject line like: “Our annual end of summer sale is next week” or “Only 5 days until our end of summer sale begins” can be huge. One tells people you’re having a sale, and the other provides a countdown that causes people to take notice.

5. Be specific and relevant

If you were in an elevator with a potential employer and you only had a few seconds to sell yourself, I’m guessing you wouldn’t start with some long-winded monologue about where you grew up and how much you loved little league.

Get to the point. The only way you’ll inspire your customers to open your email is if they know exactly what’s inside and they’re intrigued.

6. Questions are good

Why should you use questions in your subject lines? Questions are a great way to focus your readers’ attention and piquetheir curiosity.

Questions also feel incomplete on their own. Using a question will inspire readers to open your email in search of an answer.

Don’t rely on our advice alone.

Take a look at your own inbox and see which emails you’ve been opening.

Putting yourself in your contacts’ shoes is one of the best ways to write a subject line that will get you noticed and boost your business.

This post was written by Tamsin Fox-Davies.

Tamsin has made it her mission to help small business people achieve their dreams and create successful and sustainable organisations. As a Constant Contact’s small business evangelist, she shares her valuable insight in a variety of ways from in-person training, to speaking at events and creating useful resources including blogs, articles, and newsletters. 

FireText provide SMS Marketing for your business.
Add SMS to your marketing mix today – find out more.