Perfecting your Message - 5 Tips to Snag Consumers with your Subject Line

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Perfecting your Message - 5 Tips to Snag Consumers with your Subject Line

Updated: Sep 12, 2019



If you’ve ever done any shopping online, you’re all too familiar with the obligatory “thanks for signing up” email. And if you’re anything like me, you probably have an inbox full of messages from many different companies inviting you to attend their one-day-cyber-sale or giving you a range of discounts that you can apply to your “cart”. For many of us, these emails are easy to ignore since we see the same one over and over again, but with a different product and company name attached each time. As a consumer that’s always looking for a good deal, I’ve given the world of digital marketing full reign over my inbox. A typical interaction in my personal account goes like this: An email comes in, I look at the title, and most of the time, I delete without a second thought. But every once in a while, like a cute little puppy or a freshly glazed donut, one will grab my attention. The curiosity will get to me, and then I click.


I give in, and open the email.


As a business, it’s important to know why consumers choose to read a particular email over another. What causes a potential client to be intrigued by one and send the others straight to the trash folder? More importantly, how do you become the company that sends the attention-grabbing email?

In this mini-series, you’ll learn not only how to send the click-worthy message, but how to implement an entire email marketing strategy to grow your business.


First lesson: Entice consumers with your catchy subject line.


It isn’t easy to generate customer interest in an inbox, since the majority of your target audience can learn pretty much anything in a matter of seconds (thanks mobile devices!). Fortunately, they can also receive an email in the same amount of time. When it comes to creating the subject line for a marketing email, we combine speed and information to achieve the best results. By alerting potential clients to unknown information that can be accessed with a single click, you’re capitalizing on two of the most important qualities that generate consumer engagement.


1. Surprise! Curiosity calls to the consumer.


People are naturally curious, especially if something involves unknown or restricted information. Using words like “secret”, “confidential”, and “surprise” can help entice consumers to investigate your email over others. For example, headlines like “top-secret tips for your industry” or “are you ready for the surprise of the year?” are difficult for many potential customers to ignore.


2. Wow! Bring the shock factor.


Presenting alarming facts and statistics will most certainly garner attention from your email recipients, especially when it involves something they’re already invested in. Say your industry revolves around handling or managing money. One of your blogs explores Facebook’s record-setting stock market decline. To generate traffic to your blog, you send a marketing email to clients and prospects. Using a startling headline, like “Do you know who lost $120 billion in a day?” or “$120B disappears in 24 hours”, will create the desired shock factor and entice consumers to find the answer on your website.


3. Incredible! Appeal to the ego.


Whether your industry deals with tangible goods or an intangible service, your marketing efforts are still aimed at the same concept: the ego. When it comes to spending money, the idea of “self” is at the center of the decision-making process. Consumers often ask questions like, “how will this benefit me?”, “how will this make me look?”, and “how can I use this to my advantage?” By addressing just one of these in the subject line, you increase the probability of generating interest from your target audience. A headline that appeals to the ego, such as, “This 30 second trick eliminates dark circles”, “The phone designed with YOU in mind”, and “Get your favorite wine for ½ price”, implies that the consumer is receiving a valuable offer based on their specific need or desire. Although many people have a similar need or desire, creating a sense of personal significance can be very influential when engaging a potential client.


4. Ugh! Let’s fix that.


No matter what business you’re in, your customers have issues. Addressing these, and providing the right solutions, is crucial to your business model. A great way to exhibit your expertise is through email marketing, as long as the consumer actually opens the email. Establishing the intention of the message in the subject line will increase the likelihood of it being read and comprehended. An encouraging headline, like, “You CAN afford a vacation – here’s how”, “Want an easier way to fly?”, or “5 ways to reach your target audience”, promotes value by tackling a common problem and providing resolutions to suit your clients.


5. Hurry! Anxiety promotes action.


No one likes the feeling that they’re missing out on something. However, most of us live with that little voice of dread in the back of our mind, also known as the “what if” factor. That’s what makes this technique so effective when it comes to email marketing. When you alert consumers to the risk of passing up a golden opportunity, it increases anxiety and forces a response. Using a subject line that increases the fear of missing out, such as, “Today only: Save 25% on your favorite brands”, “Limited inventory! Grab this before it’s gone”, and “You don’t want to miss this”, will urge clients and prospects to take immediate action.



If you want consumers to engage with the emails you send, they must first be captivated by the subject line. Using an eye-catching title encourages your potential clients to click on the message and take that next step in your customer-business relationship. When used correctly, these techniques are very productive. But remember, the subject line is only the beginning of the email marketing strategy. Next we’ll cover what to include in your email and how to effectively tie it to your subject line to keep the attention of your prospects.


If you realize how important email marketing is, but know that it’s not really your “thing”, we can help! Give us a call, and we can help you implement a strategy to achieve your marketing goals.