A popular theory in email marketing is that in order to get the best open rates, you need to use the “Four U’s” when creating your subject lines. According to this theory, your subject line should be at least one of the following:
Let’s take a closer look at each “U”.
Does your message fit your audience?
Your subject line – and the rest of your email, for that matter! – should appeal to the interests, wants and/or needs of your subscribers. Stay focused and create subject lines that correspond with the interests and needs of your readers (as well as the actual content of your email).
Does your subject line describe what’s in the email?
Your subject line should clearly indicate what the reader will find in the message. For example:
Save 20% on your first purchase! vs. Save on your first purchase
Including details, like the specific discount amount above, will help grab your subscriber’s attention – and they’ll be more likely to open your email.
How is your message different or special?
The harsh truth is that sending similar content to your subscribers again and again makes you boring and predictable in the eyes of your subscribers. Eventually, they’ll start tuning you out, and won’t even notice your messages anymore.
Remember, “variety is the spice of life” is a cliche because it’s true. So keep your campaigns fresh by using a mix of attention-getting, unique subject lines that entice your subscribers to open your messages. And send emails for different reasons: special offers, new product or service announcements, relevant tips, tricks or other practical info.
Have you given your subscriber a reason to open your message immediately?
Including dates, times or other kinds of limits in your subject lines communicates a sense of urgency to your subscribers, and gives them a reason to open your message right now. For example:
- Free shipping – today only!
- Only 24 hours left in our annual sale!
- Offer expires tonight at midnight!
One caveat: Only use the urgency tactic in your emails when your message is actually urgent. If you start using it in all your messages, your subscribers will figure out what you’re up to in pretty short order. You’ll run the risk of losing the trust you’ve been working so hard to build with them, and they won’t believe any future “urgent” messages from you are truly urgent.
Keep in mind that every subject line doesn’t need to have all four of these characteristics.But using one (or more when appropriate) can significantly improve your open and click-through rates.
What about you? What types of subject lines have gotten great results for you? Share your thoughts in the comments!