A close mate outside of the marketing world gave me a sharp reminder recently. He was a bit riled up, complaining about the number of companies that were “spamming” him. From his perspective, he thought people didn’t really use email anymore and he didn’t understand why companies were overloading his inbox.
I briefly tried to explain it from a marketing perspective, but I also felt like he was right, to a point.
Email is certainly still relevant; millions of people use it. But we don’t get excited about email like we used to. When companies heavily rely on email blasts, it creates fatigue with the audience. That only produces more experiences like my mate had, and they’ll eventually tune out and delete messages they perceive as spam.
If you want to avoid creating emails that suck (and keep the open rates up), you have to use subject lines that drive the message home and help you stand out amid the clutter in your subscribers’ inboxes.
Part psychological, part emotional
Before diving into some nifty headline ideas, it’s important to point out that you’re not trying to manipulate your audience. Instead, you want to create email subjects that will entice them. The most effective subject lines will speak directly to the interests of the audience, using triggers that immediately grab their attention.
What are those triggers exactly?
Well, that depends on your target audience. This is why major brands and those with extensive subscriber lists will segment their lists into more than one audience. Each segment might have different needs, wants, issues, interests, and psychological and emotional triggers among other things.
Knowing your audience can help you better connect with them on a psychological or emotional level. With that connection, it’ll be much easier to come up with the right subject line so your list doesn’t lose their cool like my mate.
At the end of the day, your email subject lines should follow a simple and straightforward formula:
Interest = Benefit + Curiosity
Your subscriber should be able to glance at the email subject and be able to discern what, if anything, they might get by opening it. It should also make them curious about what they’ll find if they click through and open it.
Now that I’ve laid out the foundational formula for email subjects, here are 7 types of headlines you can use to catch your audience’s eyes.
1. Ask a targeted question