6 Easy Ways to Improve your Subject Lines

The emails you send to subscribers are often the most direct line of communication you can have.

So it feels pretty bad when you spend hours creating the perfect images and clever copy for your email subscribers…and then realize that only 1% of your audience is even opening those messages to check out what’s inside.

If low open rates are plaguing your campaigns, you might need to focus on your subject lines. We compiled data from over 300 financial institutions to try and figure out what compels people to open emails from credit unions and banks, and we found out that there’s actually a method to the madness.

Here are six ideas for subject lines that work:

  1. Personalization. Time and time again we’ve seen (through split testing) that using a merge field to add a first name to the subject line sets you up for higher open rates. If you don’t have the data to include a name, try using personal pronouns to make your email feel like a custom invitation.
  2. Sense of urgency. When you have a split second to appeal to people who must choose between opening an email or sending it straight to the trash, use human psychology. Studies show that when people are asked to make a timely choice, they respond to well to urgency. Phrases like “ending soon”, “act fast”, and “don’t miss this” are a great place to start.
  3. Encouragement. Whether it’s in the form of words or tangible incentives, giving people something for opening your email is a no-brainer. For example, if you’re giving away gift cards for referrals, put the monetary amount right in the subject line. Money speaks to people and can help your campaigns get phenomenal open rates.
  4. Jealousy. No one likes being left out. If you create a sense of exclusivity in your subject lines, people are more likely to want to open you email. Try a subject line like “Other members are saving money…are you?” or  “Find out what thousands of customers already know” to spark immediate interest.
  5. Exclamation marks. There’s a big difference in emails with one simple tweak: the use of an exclamation mark. You could keep every other word the same, but in our email metrics study we found that exclamation points are a subtle way to get people to open an email.
  6. Message from. Another trend we saw was using the phrase “A message from…” in the subject lines. For this to work, you’ll need to include some sort of personalized statement inside, which is why we recommend using this subject line for newsletters!

Below are some examples of how to improve your subject lines using the methods we listed. The winning ones are in dark blue. Hope this helps make your next email campaign even more successful!

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