Six tips for creating subject lines that get opened
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Six tips for creating subject lines that get opened

Posted on 12 August 2013

A subject line seems like such a simple thing, but it’s the difference between your next email being opened or trashed. And that’s the difference between an ongoing conversation and a lead gone cold.

The now-famous presidential campaign for Barack Obama has been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary in the way it kept the community curious, engaged and then empowered to act. Most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising emails.

There is much the average company can learn from the Obama campaign, particularly in regards to testing and measuring. The team did extensive A/B testing on the subject lines and quickly adopted anything that moved the dial. The campaign director was constantly urging the team to test different versions, and it quickly became clear that keeping it fresh was important too. Examples ranged from ““Join me for dinner?” to “I will be outspent” to simply “Wow”.

If you’re aiming to replicate some of the success of the Obama campaign, consider playing around with the format. Here are six tips for creating subject lines that get opened:

  1. Questions: Engage your reader with a question that compels them to open the email to find the answer e.g. “Have you made dinner plans for Saturday?”
  2. Length: Mixing up the length can keep people curious. They can’t simply assume to know what you’ve included in the email.
  3. Casual approach: Talking to your customers in a conversational way can make your emails more relatable. This approach did extremely well for the Obama campaign.
  4. Personalisation: Including a name in the subject can help the user feel personally addressed e.g. “Johanna, join us at our pop-up store this week.”
  5. Localisation: Even better is segmenting by area, such as “Johanna, join us at our pop-up store in Paddington this week.”
  6. Verbs: Including a call to action is a great way to motivate people. Join, start, visit and meet are all ways of prodding people to act.

As with all marketing efforts, the right approach will be unique to each brand. Test some options and closely track what’s working. It will soon become clear what you should replicate.  

If you are not using the power of email marketing to increase your leads, sales and loyal customers - then talk to your Bloomtools Internet Specialist closest to you now to find out whether it could make a difference to your business.  You can even try it before you buy - free Database Marketing Trial.


Tracey VoyceAuthor:Tracey Voyce
About: With more than 30 years business management experience, Tracey Voyce is the CEO of Bloomtools. Tracey has owned and managed many businesses and spent several years training and motivating coaches at the world’s largest business coaching franchise.
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