Do You Make These Mistakes When Creating Your Subject Lines? Part I

The Subject line is often the last thing you think of before sending your email newsletter but it’s the first thing your recipients see after getting your email. Every day Inbox is full of personal messages, subscription newsletters, and regular spam emails which all compete for the reader’s attention. This means you have to work harder at your Subject to grab the recipient’s eyes. In today’s article, I’ll focus at the most common mistakes email marketers make when writing their Subject lines, as well as the ways how to fix them.

1. Irrelevant or Excessive Personalization

Email marketers often think that the recipient’s name in the Subject helps them make their commercial email look like a personal email from a good friend. That makes sense. But before you use the mail-merge option in your email software, you’ll want to make sure you have the recipients’ names in your database. If you build an email list using an opt-in form on your website, add a “Name” field to the subscribe form and force people to provide their name.

Even if the name is required, many people who want to keep their anonymity will type their nicknames, or nonsense “abcabc” or “bgfbggg”. Will your Subject look good if you merge such a “name” into it?

The lesson is: Don’t rely on the personalization much. Instead of blindly stamping a name into every other Subject line, write an appealing Subject that speaks to the recipient’s best interests.

2. Unlimited Urgency

Everybody likes offers, gifts, discounts and the like. For this reason email marketers often includes their exclusive proposals into the Subject line in the hope to catch the reader’s attention immediately. That’s a good idea. And to make it work better, you’ll want to state a time limit for your offer in your Subject. Why is a time limit important? It forces the reader to act before the “gates” close. If the reader doesn’t open the email immediately, he will not know when the offer ends. It may happen he’s ready to take it but the discount has already expired. You get one unhappy customer and you lose sales.

The lesson is: State a time limit for your offer even if it never expires. Or, at least mention that your offer is time-limited. This makes the recipient act fast on your offer.

3. Subject Line Truncation

When working at your email copy, keep in mind that many email clients will cut off Subject lines at 50 to 70 characters. With this limit, each character counts. Some email programs will show truncated characters if you hover the mouse over them or allow the recipients extend the Subject field. Don’t rely much on the recipients to do this. Make sure your most important information fits 50-70 characters.

The lesson is: Sacrifice some grace and beauty but keep the most important information in the Subject.