When it comes to email marketing, many people put all their energy into the content of their email – and never give a second thought to the email’s subject line. That’s a terrible mistake, since all the gifted prose in the world won’t matter one iota if your subject line doesn’t incline the recipient to actually open your email and read it. To help you get your email opened and your message carried across, here are 5 quick and dirty tips for crafting a good email subject line:
1. Immediately engage by using the word “you” and variations of it
One of the most powerful words in the English language is the word “you.” Using it, as well as words like “you’re” and “your,” in a subject line is a wonderful way to engage readers from the get-go. Here’s how you can use them in a dental office:
- We’re investing in technology, and investing in you! (To announce the arrival of a new CEREC machine, for example)
- Keeping you healthy is our goal!
- How are your teeth holding up?
- Are you curious about whitening?
- When will we get a chance to see you again?
- Quick question for you, John …
The use of numbers is widespread online in article headings because it draws the reader in and lets them know what to expect when they dive into an article. It also tends to direct their eyes rather forcefully to the title. The same is true for emails. Simple examples could be:
- 5 Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy This Year
- Thank You! From 3 hygienists to 6 – We’re growing!
- 3 things we love about working with you …
- 10 travel tips for your next break!
This really works. You’re reading this blog post, aren’t you?
3. Ask a question
Effective subject lines often include questions. Lead an email off with“Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” or “How” and watch your open rates soar.
4. Make it clear who the message is coming from
This isn’t really a “subject line” tip – but it can be equally important. These days with spam and all the mailing lists we tend to subscribe to clogging our inboxes, ensuring your recipient knows exactly who is sending them the message is critical. By “who,” we mean what name shows in the “from” field when people view the message. Many times, particularly with business accounts, a business name is shown in the “from” field. For dental offices sending email to patients, this probably isn’t that big a deal. However, if you do considerable work with vendors, labs and other entities, you may wish to have your IT provider set up a second account for you that uses your full name, instead of the business name. Likewise, you could experiment with this approach when sending emails to patients to see if it boosts open rates. Our hunch is, it will.
5. Keep it Short ’n’ Sweet
When it comes to subject lines, longer is not usually better. Sure, you might be able to say things more eloquently with a bit more space, but with all the tiny screens we use these days, your long subject will get trimmed to such a point that the message will be lost. Also, with the volume of email people receive, as one scrolls through an inbox looking for things to open, email subject lines tend to blur together. Make yours pop by going shorter. Sometimes super-short works as a neat trick too. Something like:
- Killer promo
- Your check-up
- We’ve missed you
A quick note about writing the email itself
Writing an email should be as simple as stopping someone in the hallway to ask them a question, or to inform them about something. The only difference with email is that you’re typing your message instead of speaking it. It should not be a stressful event. Just write like you speak, and it’ll all flow out nicely. No need to spend 20 minutes crafting beautiful prose to ask Jim down the hall to refill the copy toner. Just ask.