The Elements of a High Impact Subject Line in a Blast Email

These are the elements of a high-impact subject line in a blast email. I should note that I did not perform any extensive A/B test with evaluated metrics to develop these findings. This is really just from my personal experiences.

Share your experiences with us, or the results of any formalized evaluations you have performed.

The Perspective of the Subject Line: From what perspective should you come from in the subject line? The choices could be something like product type, or statement of a problem, or a topic.

I have found that stating a solution, or approach to a problem, is the most effective. A check you can make that you are doing this properly is if you can put “How to” as the two first words of the subject line. But, I do not recommend putting “How to” in the subject line because that is using up valuable real estate. I will cover this a little more later.

To Capitalize or Not: Write a sentence. Don’t make a title. The speed reader scanning his in-box is looking for engagement, not an advertisement.

Optimum Length: I have no magical number to limit the length of a subject line. But, you do need to get your message across within about 40-some characters. This is about the average number of characters that show up in the in-box view.

Front Load the Message: You need to front load your message in the subject line, since you have a limited number of characters showing in the in-box view. That is why I said earlier that using the words “How to” use up valuable real estate. These words should be implied, not explicit.

Make the Message Timely: Email Blasts, unlike Blog Posts, are here today and gone tomorrow. So the message has got to be timely. That means making the subject relevant to what’s in the news, what’s on the mind of the readers, etc.

Other Techniques: There are other techniques. One is stating a number, like “3 best ways to…”. Another is to put the first name of the recipient of the email in the subject line, like “Mike, Fix your roof in 3 easy steps”. These are also good ideas and I do employ them occasionally. But, their effectiveness seems to have waned over the years. The reader is an evolving animal that adapts through experiences.

However, the reader is a human that craves to find solutions to problems through engagement. I believe, and I am not an expert on this, that these human elements will never change.

So, make an engaging and timely sentence that addresses a problem or need. Get your message across succinctly. Before you write the subject line, think like the person that you want to engage.

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