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Are Subject Lines the Most Important Part of Sales Emails?

Posted by Casey Lewis on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Topics: Sales Process

subject-lines-most-important-part-of-sales-emailsIt’s a problem nearly as old as digital marketing itself: how do I get people to open my sales emails? Unfortunately, the problem has only gotten worse over the last few years. Email is now a standard form of communication in our daily lives, and many professionals spend their days “working out of their email”; essentially, never leaving their inbox while they move from task to task. So when they have a moment to check their personal inbox, the last thing they want to do is look at a sales email.

Because getting recipients to open our sales emails is such a challenge, subject lines have become one of the most crucial components of a successful sales email; perhaps even the most crucial. The subject line is your one-sentence opportunity to get a recipient to bite, and nothing else about your email matters if the person never opens it. They will use the subject line as the determining factor in their decision to open or ignore your email: that subject line has to instantly interest them about what’s inside. That puts a lot of pressure on you, as the email creator, to cultivate a concise, enticing message for the subject line.

So how can you ensure your subject lines work? Here are some tips to help you write lines that get opens:

Inspire some action

If you want to inspire action, then you’ve got to put some action into your subject line. Use words that encourage the recipient to do something, to take some action, such as “learn,” “discover,” “transform,” and “check out.” If you write passive subject lines, all you’re going to inspire the recipient to do is pass on reading your email.

Make it worth their while

Those action words need to be connected to something the recipient might view as valuable. What’s the recipient going to get out of opening this email? Therefore, your subject line should reference whatever value proposition the reader is going to find inside. Obviously, this means the content of your email has to have something strong to offer. Are you going to show them a new technique that will help them work more efficiently? Share some information that’s going to benefit them? Offer a product they would really be interested in purchasing? You have to have something good in store for them.

Keep it to the point

In order to accomplish your subject line goals, you might feel compelled to write a long, detailed subject line. That’s a mistake. Because just like your email, your subject line is going to get ignored if it doesn’t make a strong point, and quickly. Try to keep your subject lines to 1-2 sentences, and make those sentences concise. If you make it an ordeal for your recipient just to get through the subject line, they won’t be excited about the prospect of reading the whole email.

Be a tease

Some people complain about “clickbait-y” headlines, which are seen as cheesy and sort of cheap, but the harsh truth is, they are very effective. People are naturally curious, and if you pique their interest enough, they’ll feel like they need to know the answer or information you have for them. So tease them a bit with your subject lines. Hint at the “fascinating” or “revolutionary” ideas you have for them inside the email. Just make sure whatever your email contains is actually somewhat interesting or valuable. If you pull a bait and switch, by teasing the recipient and then not delivering, that contact is unlikely to open one of your emails again.

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