Posted to Volacci's blog on July 30th, 2013

Newsletter Series: Subject Lines That Work

When creating a newsletter campaign, it’s very important to think about subject lines--they can determine whether someone opens up an email or not, which is key in generating more leads for your business, and why you should set time aside for subject line planing for each one of your emails.

There isn’t a defined set of rules for subject line creation--what works for one campaign may not work for another. But there are some general guidelines--straight from our email marketing eBook “Newsletter Best Practices 2013”--to take into account when coming up with them.

1. Make it short and sweet: Keeping a subject line brief and concise communicates the purpose of your newsletter a lot faster. It also avoids weird cut-offs when a preview of the email is shown.

2. Keep it positive and upbeat to engage readers: Show your subscribers how they will benefit and gain value from the content within the newsletter.

3. Should you use questions?: No. Studies have shown that questions in subject lines have decreased opening rates.

4.  SPAM is gross: Stay away from spammy subject lines, like “FREE”, “Discount” or using the recipient’s name--these words are usually filtered into junk folders.

5. Avoid all CAPS: Nothing steers attention away from your email as much as all capital letters.

6. Use localization features: If you can personalize your subject line by adding your recipient’s location, do so.

Some other style pointers:

  • Announce the newsletter (ex: Acme Company Newsletter - March 25th, 2014).

  • Announce and promote (ex: Acme Newsletter - Anvil Market Plummets).

  • Newsie story pitch (ex: Now is the Time to Invest in Anvils).

  • Newsie update pitch (ex: Latest News from Acme).

  • Call to action (ex: Download Your Copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Anvil Dropping by W.E. Coyote)

  • Intrigue the reader (ex: What happened last night... or About that anvil...).

A web search on the topic will yield hundreds of articles on the topic, and it seems many of them conflict on best practices when it comes down to the details. But keeping the previous tips on hand will ensure you have most of your bases covered. Remember, you know your client-base best--your assessment of whether a subject line works or not will probably be spot-on.

If you want to know more about how to make your newsletters lean, mean, lead-generating machines, make sure to download Volacci’s email marketing eBook, “Newsletter Best Practices 2013”.

Happy mailing!