What makes the best email subject lines?

Oct 29, 2019 | Event Marketing, Expertise

Getting the subject line right for event marketing emails

Your company is running an event, everything is in order, and planned to perfection. The time, place, equipment, invitee list and the fiddly details in between – all done and dusted. There’s a lot of buzz, everyone’s excited, and all the work is done, including the content of the email that you’ll be sending out to the prospected guests. Now, before you hit ‘send’ on that bad boy, have you written a subject line to entice your emailing list? ‘I think so’, is not an appropriate answer. A subject line can take literally 3 seconds to write, but that supposedly minor detail is preposterously vital – you really shouldn’t underestimate it. Writing a subject line can be a pretty heavy gig, and I’ll explain why with some key do’s and don’ts for what makes the best email subject lines.


Do value the importance of a subject line
If you believe these internet stats, over 30% of people decide whether to open the email or not based on the content of the subject line itself. That’s a lot of people you are losing if you are not writing an intriguing subject line that’ll attract attention. On top of that, if your email equates to spam, there’s another chunk of your list that won’t be checking their junk to see the invitation. A mailing list of 1,000 people can quickly be depleted if you don’t take the subject serious enough.

Do keep it short
We’re all busy people, in office, out of office, at home, walking the dog or whatever. No, I’m not suggesting that we don’t have time to read the subject line, but instead saying that our behavioural patterns are shifting considerably. Emails are not appearing on a huge computer screen for the majority of us, as many are now checking through emails on their mobile phone – almost 60% in fact – instead of the conventional way. Therefore, you’ll want to minimize the length of your subject line to less than 50 characters so these huge audiences can see it in full.

Do a command over question?
‘Come and Join Us?’ or ‘Come and Join Us!’. Okay, that choice of words may not work on you either way, but when writing a subject line, please don’t be afraid to tell instead of ask. Huge brands have played around with question marks for years and only a negative open-rate has been reported. Whereas your friend the exclamation mark is a useful technique to generate further excitement and inquisitiveness from the reader. You wouldn’t believe it!

Do personalisation
In an unfeeling and robotic world of email, where it feels unlikely that there are two people communicating, personalisation can go a long way. As a reader, when you see your own name being invited to some trendy event, we actually feel chosen, and that we have earned our way on to an exclusive list. Personalised data can easily be pre-populated into the subject line, and will make an encouraging impact.

Do testing
Lots of ESP’s now have lots of reporting pages so you can analyse your data, from click-through rates, to open rates, and even what devices the email is being opened on. In addition to that, you can now do split testing (or A/B testing), on emails, meaning you can send 50 people an email with one subject line, and another 50 people a different subject line at the same time. Whichever version has the better open rate, would then be sent to the remainder of the list, giving you the best chance of maximising your success rate.

Finally, some Don’ts

Don’t use ‘free’, ‘promotion’, ‘discount’ etc.
As I alluded to earlier, the last thing you want is for the email client to pop your initiation email into someone’s spam/junk folder, denying them the opportunity of your ‘once in a lifetime’ event. There are many words and symbols (£), that could raise a flag whilst being sent. Not only could these words cause a problem with the deliverability of the email, but also may deter the customer who may switch off when they see ‘discount’, ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ for example.

Don’t make any grammatical/spelling errors
Basic spelling and grammetical errors is not good. Working in email marketing, I cannot keep count of the amount of emails I have seen which had such rudimentary spelling errors. Once an email has been sent – it’s gone, and no chance of retrieving it. From the receivers’ perspective, they’ll now think that you look unprofessional and lack clarity. Don’t forget to check.

Many marketers out there try to draw a correlation between capital letters and drawing attention to something, whether its advertisements, branding, or even the small details like a subject line. There is a time and place for it, and sadly, a subject line is not one. It will prompt the spam filters, looks negligent, and seems like you are desperately shouting for people to attend. I’d advise avoiding this technique.

Oh, we should probably mention that if you’re organising an event we offer email marketing that is powered by your event registration data.

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