Tips To Improve Your Email Subject Lines

Philip Manzano • May 15, 2017

Get more clicks on your emails following some of these tips.

The Art of Writing Email Subject Lines

Sometimes the hardest part about fundraising is getting in front of potential donors.

We have worked with teams who fundraise digitally, and learned about some of their pain-points. One of the most prevalent was getting people to open up their emails from outbound campaigns. It’s one thing to put together a well-crafted message. It’s another to get people interested enough to open up an email from a cold call.

So what’s the key to higher open rates? One of the answers is writing better email subject lines . And as we’ve learned, it’s a lot more complicated than you might think. There’s an art to it. Here are some of the top tips we found to write great email subject lines.

Tips to Achieve Higher Open Rates

Make it personal.

If you are using an email marketing tool like MailChimp or a tool for newsletter campaigns like Keela, use merge tags to add a contact’s name. When you personalize a subject line, you might see an increase in open rate.

Make it descriptive.

Be clear about what you’re offering, or what you will be talking about with the email. Avoid using gimmicks or trends that don’t have a specific call to action. Something that sounds too much like a flyer might turn some people off entirely. So be clear – you’d be surprised how many people respond to transparency!

Make it short and sweet.

Although there are no stats to back up whether or not shorter subject lines correlate to higher open rates – this is just a good practice to get into. Remember to think about your audience and how they will consume the information. Often, emails are read on phones or other mobile devices – so keeping it short will be good for you. Convey your message succinctly but clearly.

Make it sound urgent.

When you encourage your audience to act right away, through an urgent call to action, it is very effective. This plays into the FOMO (fear of missing out) culture that has been built. Using urgent language gives your audience a chance to take part in something that will only be available for a limited amount of time. For most, that’s worth at least a click to see what’s up.

Make it engaging.

A good opportunity to engage with your audience is by asking them a question. Use the valuable real estate in your subject line to asked your audience a question that will be answered in the body of the email. Doing this gives you an opportunity to hook them in, and it will really speak to whether or not your service will resonate with them as a donor.

Make it touch on pain-points.

At the end of the day your service is going to help individuals. One of the quickest ways to reach your core demographic is by speaking directly to the pain-points that you solve: “Are you upset about youth homelessness? Let’s do something about it.” In this example, you call out your cause, and you invite the potential donor to do something about it – the way they do that is by clicking and opening your email.

Congrats, you got through step one!

Make it something you can test.

Since all your work should be data-driven, start looking for ways to test your subject lines. Through A/B testing , you can play around with different email subject lines to see if anything affects your open rates. Doing this can help you fine-tune your subject lines until you find the right one!

These are great places to start – but you really have to understand your audience. Know the different groupings, and make sure your data is working for you. What is your audience interested in? What kind of things have they supported in the past? What is the age demographic of the people opening your email? When you know these things, you can craft email subject lines and filter them through these best practices. Play around with it, and keep testing until you find the right fit.

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