Email has a terrific conversion rate. One of the best of all the marketing tactics out there. But to get your message read, you need them to first open your emails and this is the job of the subject line.

The email subject line is one of those marketing pieces where the best solution is unique to your business. Email lists are the result of followers (or finders) who are interested in what you offer or what you say and want to hear more from you about that topic. Knowing why they resonate with your message is the key to your success. Do they love your straight-to-the-point delivery? Are they drawn to your quirky personal stories? Do your highly detailed ‘how-tos’ both educate and amuse?

The core of their attraction is what you can draw upon in the subject line to remind them about their affection for your content.

How can you learn about your followers?

You’ve got a few options on how to learn about your followers. Depending upon the size of your list, you have three options:

1. Watch & Learn
Taking stock of what has worked in the past is a great start. If you are just starting to try things out then just start keeping track of your open rates as you go.

2. Test
You can do an A/B test with a larger email list. But you can also just test out two different subject line styles or concepts by splitting your list and sending. However you test things out, keep track of your results.

3. Ask
It can sometimes be easier to do a quick poll. This won’t work for every brand but it might for yours. You can make it casual and friendly with asking a question like: Do you like the posts that get to the point with how-tos? Or do you prefer stories and satisfying your curiosity? Asking this may help cross a few contenders off your list and help you to focus on the subject lines that align better to your audience feedback.

How do you apply this knowledge to your emails?

Once you gain a little insight into your audience preferences you can play up to that using different subject line styles. The key here is that the get the best outcome you should also be employing a subject line concept.

A few to test out (there are several more):

  • List style
  • Question
  • Teaser
  • Personalization (by topic, not just name)
  • Short (1-3 words)
  • Announcement style

Whatever style you choose, you should be looking at using one of the following concepts (this isn’t an exhaustive list):

  • Scarcity/urgency (FOMO)
  • Curiosity (aaaalmost click-bait)
  • Recent news
  • Social proof
  • Free offer

By combining these two pieces you can craft some click-worthy subject lines! Try a few out and see what works for your brand/voice.

TIP: Adding an emoji or punctuation can add a nice visual and make your email stand out from the list.

Some examples to give you an idea of what the combination could lead you to:

  • She made $41K in just 4 weeks… without launching! [teaser + social proof + punctuation]
  • Never fail again, Carolyn [personalization + curiosity]
  • Brain science 🧠 Milli Vanilli and YOU [list + curiosity + emoji]

Subject line Cautions

Be careful of spam filters. Subject lines that come across as ‘spammy’ may be blocked entirely. Helpful tips would be to get a double opt-in and/or have them ‘whitelist’ your email so that it’s a recognized sender. This means they should add you to their contact list.

It’s a formula that works only because you’re finding the tools and combination that resonates with the people on your list. Once that email is opened … then it’s up to your content.

But that’s another story. ☺