If a marketing email arrives in a customer’s inbox, and they delete it without ever opening it, does it actually do anything to help your business?

It’s not a philosophical question, nor a rhetorical one: The answer is a resounding no. Sending marketing emails that go directly into the trash can isn’t doing you a bit of good. Frankly, you might as well save your time and your money.

Or, you could improve your email open rates. The only way to do that is to improve the subject lines. The subject lines are what ultimately determine whether the email gets opened or not, and if your marketing emails are going unread, it’s because the subject lines aren’t doing their job—plain and simple.

So how can you make your subject lines better? I’ve got four quick tricks to help you develop subject lines that really do their jobs.

1. Do You Have Images in Your Email? Let the Reader Know It.

A lot of folks feel like they just don’t have the time to sit and read emails, but a lot of us are willing to take a quick peak at infographics, pictures, and charts. The thing is, if your email includes these elements, you need to let the reader know it in the subject line. Add words like image, infographic, or even look and show to your subject lines to pique interest and increase opens.

2. Include the Recipient’s Geography in the Subject Line.

Personalize your subject lines by tapping into home-town pride! If you’re sending a batch of emails to folks in Florida, include Florida in the subject line. Same with Charlotte, or the UK, or whatever other geographic locale you’re working with. Of course, this will require you to include a field for geographic location in your email signups, and to sort your list accordingly.

3. Keep the Subject Line Short and Snappy.

Go back to my previous remark about people not having a lot of time to sit around and read. If your subject line is more than 10 words, it’s too long—period.

4. Include References to Your Recipients’ Specific Interests.

It’s always smart to allude to the subject matter of your email, and in particular to tie it to real-world interests that your recipients might hold. In other words, be specific: Words like marketing, travel, homeowner, and the like all carry the weight that a more nebulous subject line won’t convey.

These tips are all simple, but I hope you’ll find them to be effective in crafting subject lines that pack a punch—and lead to higher open rates!

Author Photo
Amanda ClarkAmanda E. Clark is CEO and Editor-in-Chief at Grammar Chic, Inc. You can follow her company on Twitter.
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