Best Email Marketing Practices

by Susan Mullin

Mastering email subject lines is an art. In today’s fast-paced digital world, where attention spans are short, nailing your subject line is vital for higher open rates, clicks, and conversions. Open rates pave the way for engagement, leading to success in email marketing. Crafting captivating subject lines is a must-have skill for marketers. While no universal formula guarantees success, following proven best practices greatly boosts audience resonance.

gmail on laptop showing email subject line

Short, Snappy, and Effective 

In a world where emails are frequently accessed on mobile devices, brevity reigns supreme. If your subject line exceeds 40 characters, it risks getting cut off in the email preview, potentially obscuring your message and diminishing its impact. By mastering the art of concise communication, you ensure that your subject line not only fits neatly within mobile screens but also captures attention swiftly. Reduce “fluff” where possible, prioritizing only the most important parts in the subject line to ensure that all of it shows up.

Command Action with Calls to Action

As a marketer, you’re well-versed in the persuasive power of calls to action (CTAs). Integrating a CTA into your subject line clarifies the desired action and heightens the sense of purpose. Transform mundane statements like “Reserve Now” into compelling directives like “Reserve Before Friday!” that irresistibly prompt engagement.

Urgency in Limited-Time Offers

To create a sense of urgency and stimulate immediate action, incorporate deadlines into your subject lines. By explicitly stating the offer’s expiration date, you underscore the fleeting nature of the opportunity. This nudges recipients to prioritize your email and engage promptly before the window of opportunity closes

Steer Clear of Spam Triggers

Avoiding spam triggers is crucial. Most email platforms such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, Hubspot, etc. have features that allow you to “spam test” and can even provide recommendations that improve deliverability. Refrain from using buzzwords like “Congratulations,” “free,” and “no obligation” to maximize your email’s deliverability and ensure it reaches its intended destination.  Using quotation marks, dollar signs and too many exclamation points in subject lines frequently trigger mail filters so use them cautiously.

Honesty Breeds Trust

While clickbait subject lines might yield short-term gains, the lasting effects can be detrimental. For example, saying “Congratulations! You’ve Won a Luxury Vacation!” when really, you’re just offering some discounted travel packages is pretty misleading. Integrity and transparency are invaluable assets in fostering a strong relationship with your audience. Clearly and accurately reflect the email’s content within the subject line to establish trust and build credibility over time. Clickbait titles often see a high open rate with a significantly lower click-through rate, which is something we want to avoid. 

Inject Personality with Emojis

Embracing emojis in subject lines, though unconventional, engages audiences. They add playfulness, emotion, and context in B2C emails. Experiment with emojis to find resonant ones, avoiding excessive use as it can trigger spam filters. When it comes to B2B emails proceed with caution and use the context of the email to decide if it’s appropriate or not. This will depend on your audience – what industry they are in and whether the emojis will detract from the seriousness of the email.

Personalize when possible

Include the [first name] field where you can in an email. According to Campaign Monitor, personalized email messages have an open rate that’s 29% higher and a click-through rate that’s 41% higher than non-personalized messages.

Exclusivity Creates Excitement

People love feeling special, and leveraging exclusivity can be a potent tool in your email marketing arsenal. Subject lines like “For our best customers only,” “An exclusive deal just for you,” or “Private invitation” give recipients a sense of distinction, driving curiosity and encouraging them to explore further.

Don’t Neglect the Preview Text

Preview text refers to the text displayed beside or beneath the email subject. It serves as a concise summary of your email’s contents, complementing the subject line to entice recipients into opening your email.

The red outlines below are circling the “preview text”:

Putting our knowledge into practice

Creating an effective subject line is easier said than done, so let’s put into practice some of the pointers from above. 

Example #1: B2C subject line

Let’s work with a B2C example – suppose you are a swimwear company having a sale for a limited time only. Here’s a mediocre subject line:

Subject line: “Get Your Swimsuits Now – Limited Time Sale!”

Why it’s mediocre: This subject line is straightforward but lacks intrigue and urgency. It informs recipients about the sale but doesn’t provide any incentive or reason for them to open the email. The use of common phrases and lack of personalization might lead to it being overlooked.

Now let’s incorporate some of the best practices from above:

Subject line: “🌊 Dive into Savings! Up to 50% Off Swimsuits – Ends Friday! 🏄”

Why it’s effective: The subject line is concise and well under 40 characters. It emphasizes the limited-time nature of the sale and encourages recipients to take action quickly. The phrase “dive into savings!” serves as a clear call to action. The “50% off” portion offers more details to recipients.

Example #2: B2B subject line

Now let’s work with a B2B example. Let’s say you are conducting a webinar on key disruptors in the marketing landscape. Here’s a mediocre subject line:

Subject line: Webinar Announcement: Marketing Disruptors

Why it’s mediocre: While this subject line provides basic information, it lacks excitement and doesn’t emphasize the time-sensitive nature of the upcoming webinar.

Let’s tweak it and make it more enticing:

Subject line: Join Our Disruptors Webinar Next Thursday: Mastering Marketing’s Future 

Why it’s effective: The mention of “Next Thursday” adds a clear time element, creating urgency for recipients to register and attend. “Join Our Disruptors Webinar” provides a clear call to action, while “Mastering Marketing’s Future” emphasizes the practical knowledge attendees will gain. 

Make sure you analyze the performance metrics on the emails and adjust your strategy according to what is working and what isn’t. A low open rate means you want to make tweaks to your subject line, a low CTR might mean you need to adapt the body of the email. A/B tests are also very important to determine what is working with your particular audience. 

In the realm of email marketing, crafting subject lines is both science and art. A blend of data-driven insights and creativity can lead to subject lines that not only grab attention but also inspire action. By adhering to these subject line best practices, you’re poised to elevate your email marketing campaigns, foster meaningful connections with your audience, and drive the results that every marketer strives for.

Looking for experienced marketing recruiters to meet your search, staffing and job search needs? We’re here to help!

  • Contact us about your marketing search & staffing needs
  • Search marketing, communications, and creative jobs
TorchLight flame logo

Posted in , Digital Marketing