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Creating Strong Subject Lines That Aren’t Click Bait

3 min read

Back to Blog

3 min read

Creating Strong Subject Lines That Aren’t Click Bait

Author: Dani Slater
Posted in Content & Blogging on 30th July 2018 11:24 am

We’ve all been there – you receive an email with a subject line that promises the world.  You click on it, curious to read the rest of the story and the content is on something entirely different.  It is known as click bait and is a common problem in emails, headlines and on social media.  So, how do you write strong subject lines without resorting to (or seeming like) clickbait?

Importance of the subject line

There’s no doubting the power of a good subject line.  47% of email recipients decide whether to open the email on just the subject line alone.  That’s why getting it right and balancing those curiosity-pique factors with solid facts is a skill that is worth cultivating.  The subject line may only be a small amount of the overall message, but it is the foot through the door – the thing that grabs their attention and gets them to open the email in the first place.

Therefore, it is imperative to understand what goes into a good subject line and how to write one, without ending up with something that your reader might categorise as clickbait.

Key parts of a subject line

While a subject line isn’t typically long there are a few essential parts to try and fit in, to make it catch people’s attention.  You might not get every one of them in to every subject line but aim for as many as is sensible.

–    Curiosity

The aim is to pique that natural curiosity, to urge them to open to find out what is inside.  Make people curious and interested in your subject line, and more people will open the whole email.

–    Urgency

This one is particularly important if you have an offer, product or deal involved.  You want to create a bit of urgency into the subject line, so the reader realises it is time sensitive and doesn’t leave it in their ‘read later’ folder.

–    Tell a story

You can use the subject line as the opener to the story you are telling, in the main body of the email. Make it so they want to read the rest, a little like the attention-grabbing headline of a blog post or newspaper story.

–    An offer

If you have a special offer in your email, don’t be afraid to mention it again even if it is in brackets at the end – people like to know if there’s an exclusive deal around and are more people are likely to open it.

Make a clickable subject line

Along with incorporating some of these critical elements, there are some other important considerations to take in to account when creating your subject lines.

–    Keep it short and sweet. Around 67% of email openings take place on mobile, and there’s only so much space on that little screen.  Fewer than 50 characters is ideal.

–    Make sure you have your name in the sender address – because this makes it seem less likely to be spam – in some people’s eyes.

–    Tell them what’s inside – if you are sending them a freebie, an offer, an exclusive deal or something else, let them know in the subject line.

Writing subject lines can be a tricky proposition, but the great thing is you can test, check and learn from each send.  And soon you will be creating brilliant, clickbait-free subject lines that your subscribers will want to open.

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