How To Craft a Compelling Subject Line

By Kath Pay

Subject lines are always a challenge to most email marketers. Here are a few key do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you write your next one.

Do craft your subject line immediately after writing your objective. The simple act of writing your subject line first will help you to stay focused on the objective of the email, helping to achieve better results.

Over the years I’ve trained hundreds of email marketers, 90% of whom have admitted that they save writing the subject line until a few minutes before they push “send,” which often results in a hurried and potentially ineffective line.

By writing the subject before you do anything else, you are not only allowing yourself the time to craft a persuasive and effective one, but you are also using the subject line to prepare the framework of a persuasive email designed to get the reader to take the next action.

Don’t create a subject line that grabs attention but doesn’t fulfill the promise that it made. Many of you have probably read emails and blogs that have catchy click-bait subject lines or titles that lure you into reading the email/blog — yet leave you feeling disillusioned. It’s better not to gain their attention than to disappoint. This can have a long-lasting effect, as trust is a hard thing to earn in the first place, and even harder to regain.

Do ensure there’s no disconnect between the subject line and content or landing page, and everything flows as one. The subject line works together with other elements of the email in order to convince subscribers to read the email.  If there’s a disconnect,even though the subject line may have spiked their interest, the email may not result in conversions.

Remember: Subject lines offer a promise and set expectations, which the email and landing page need to deliver on.

Do measure the correct metric for success. All too often we get lured into thinking the objective of the email is to gain as many opens as possible. In most cases, this is not so. More likely than not, it will be event registration,  downloads, product purchase, etc. Review your past campaigns and don’t be surprised if you find that the emails with the highest subject lines don’t always equate to the emails with the highest conversion.

So by keeping focused on the objective of the email (i.e. conversions) you’ll be more likely to craft subject lines that attract the audience that is most likely to convert, rather than simply attracting a larger audience that convert at a lower rate.

Do A/B split test your subject lines, or use some of the new technology that’s out there such as Touchstone, Phrasee or Persado. Test for more than just immediate wins. Think of the goal of a test as being not just to get a lift, but to get a learning as well.

A small change in your mindset may be required, but I recommend every email sent needs to be seen as being a customer survey of your target market — because in essence, that’s what you are doing. When you grasp this concept, you’ll see how you can ensure that every email sent contains a test of some kind to provide key insights that you can leverage.

Originally posted on MediaPost