I was at a client’s office just the other day, talking about a blog project he wanted to launch. He was showing me something on his computer and I couldn’t help noticing the email icon at the bottom of his screen, indicating 49 unread emails.
My meeting with him was at 9:00 in the morning. I’m sure he had checked his email and responded to many important emails already, being the busy company owner he is.
So, that gives you a picture of what it’s like in the inbox of a typical business buyer.
They’re inundated with emails from colleagues, from suppliers, and from companies that want to do business with them.
And that includes the email marketing campaigns that you as a B2B copywriter write for your clients.
So, the competition in that inbox for attention is fierce. It’s like a huge classroom full of people and everybody’s got their hand up because they want you to pick them next.
The number one determinant of an email getting attention and getting opened by a recipient is the subject line.
Now, there are other factors that come into play. The “From” line is also very important. The preview pane, where you can see the first few words or sentences of an email, plays a role in whether the email gets opened or not.
But by far, the most influential factor in whether an email gets opened and read in that crowded inbox is the subject line.
So, I want to give you some ideas and practical tips on writing subject lines for the email campaigns so your email gets opened and read.
Subject lines are a lot like headlines.
They have to gain attention. They have to be crisp. They have to communicate a benefit.
But, there are differences as well.
One major difference is that there’s a restriction in length.
Subject lines need to be short or they’ll get cut off. The cutoff point is different for every email program and depends on a user’s settings. But it’s generally around 60 characters, including spaces.
When an email subject line goes beyond 60 characters, including spaces, then the open rates drop off rapidly.
That doesn’t mean that a subject line can’t be over 60 characters and still work. Sure it can.
But, you’re tickling the dragon’s tail at that point. You’re risking your subject line being too long, and not being opened.
So, try to keep your subject lines no longer than 60 characters. That gives you about five to 10 words to work with.
Four Characteristics of Effective Subject Lines
There are four characteristics of an effective subject line. Keep these in mind as you’re brainstorming your subject lines.