5 writing secrets to bolster your email campaigns

A well-written subject line can be the difference between rising to the top of the inbox or going straight to the trash bin. Here are some tips.

email marketing tips

There’s one simple way to get more attendees to your webinars, eyeballs on your content, and wallets ready to buy: killer email marketing.

Your email list is only worth the engagement you get. No matter how big your list is no one sees your content if no one opens your emails.

Writing great subject lines is the first step to eliciting clicks and opens.

Here are five simple tricks that you can put into practice immediately to increase open rates:

1. Use numbers.

Numbers are your email subject line’s best friends.

Extensive A/B tests by email platform Campaign Monitor found subject lines with numbers achieved a 57 percent better open rate than those without.

It suggests:

The key to success with this formula is the number you use. If you are suggesting effort a reader needs to expend (like steps in a process for instance), then using a low number works better as it suggest the process is quicker and easier. However, if you are providing value to the reader (like a number of ways to increase email subscribers) then a higher number will work better as it increases the reader’s perception of the value your email will provide them.

2. Remember, characters count.

Next, remember real estate for your subject lines is very limited. Desktops usually display about 60 characters and mobile devices about 25 to 30.

So, where will your subscribers first see your emails? Will it be scrolling their inbox on their smartphones after waking up? Or will it be on their laptop?

Unsure? Then optimize for both scenarios.

In a study called “The Art and Science of Effective Subject Lines,” Return Path learned emails with subject lines between 61 and 70 characters long were read most, at about 17 percent. Try to hit that sweet spot—and especially focus on the first three words to capture as much attention as possible on a mobile device.

3. Use words that increase open rates.

No matter where you’re trying to woo people with the magic of copywriting, your words matter. Here are 10 power words to test in your next campaign that an email analysis report by Adestra has found to increase open rates:

  • “thanks”
  • “golden”
  • “iPhone”
  • “breaking”
  • “advice”
  • “course”
  • “thank you”
  • “exclusive”
  • “review”
  • “top stories”

4. Avoid words that decrease open rates.

Remember learning about Newton’s Third Law of Motion—“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”—in junior high science class? The same is true in email marketing.

For every word that increases open rates, there’s one that tanks them. Here are 10 words or phrases that decrease open rates (and may even trigger spam filters), as reported in the Return Path study:

  • “get rid of”
  • “secret of”
  • “shocking”
  • “what you need to know”
  • “won’t believe”
  • “quickest”
  • “aim”
  • “call”
  • “put”
  • “2-for-1”

5. Do your own A/B testing.

Savvy marketers take advice from “experts” with a dash of skepticism. That’s a good thing.

That’s why doing your own A/B testing is imperative. No two audiences are alike and copy-and-paste marketing can do more harm than good. You need to tailor best practices to your own list.

Any email service provider worth its salt will include the ability to split test your subject lines. So, run your own tests to find your subject line silver bullets.

What would add to the list?

Garrett Moon is the CEO and Co-Founder at CoSchedule, the web’s most popular marketing calendar and the fastest growing startup in North Dakota. A version of this article originally appeared onthe Influence & Co. blog.

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