First Things First 

Be useful

Your entire email needs to be useful to the reader. Does your email ultimately help your Subscriber? If you know your content is useful it becomes much easier to write a compelling subject line.

Remember that you will probably be contacting this person many times. Go beyond the subject line, and provide great content. This will build your Subscribers' trust in your emails, over time.

Also, make sure your content is accurately described by the subject line. After all, you are going for long-term engagement! 

Skip the click bate. 

Be personal

Go take a look at your inbox. Pay attention to the emails that you actually want to read. 

Which ones do you automatically gravitate toward opening? 

Chances are, those emails came from friends, co-workers, or family. Now start to look at what those subject lines have in common. Here are a few things you might notice: 

  • Short and to the point
  • Use simple, common words (no buzzwords)
  • Only the first letter of the first word is capitalized
  • Have very limited punctuation

Opposite of this are the emails that we don’t want to read because they are long, use buzzwords, and are written in title case like this: “Upgrade To Next Generation Mobile App Analytics with Google Analytics.” Gross.

Personalizing the subject line with the recipient's name can be a great feature in some cases, but tests show that doesn’t increase open rates specifically. Your goal should be to send an email that feels like it's from a friend. 

Avoid spam filters

Unfortunately, if your emails aren't landing where they should be, your subject line won't matter very much. That’s why it is really important to avoid words commonly found in spam emails. Being aware and avoiding certain words, like "free" can help with this. 

Generally, a single use of a word like “free” won’t land you in a spam folder, but if you have two many similar words, they can add up and get your email penalized.

Other words, such as Help, Percent off, and Reminder will not land you in a spam filter (by themselves), but tend to decrease open rates overall. 

To test if your emails will be caught by spam filters, you can try these services:

Ask questions

A clever question, such as, 'Are you charging enough for your services?', can often prompt more email opens and responses. Don't be afraid to ask your Subscribers to reply with their own answers. 

On numbers

A lot of marketers recommend using numbers in your subject lines like this: “6 tips to…” Fill in the blank. So many people use this technique that is strongly associated with marketing and sales copy. Is this something that you'd send to a friend? Maybe not.

Take care when creating tips or lists within your subject lines, and keep that overall feeling friendly and personal! 

Landing in the Gmail Primary Inbox

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