Grabbing your reader's attention with your subject heading

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You want your email campaigns to stop your recipient and get them to take action, after all, you've gone to all the trouble of crafting this fantastic campaign, the least they can do is read it right?

But how can you as a digital marketer create the perfect subject heading that stops readers in their tracks and makes them act. It's not easy, that's for sure, but you can write subject lines that are effective, punchy and get a better CTR.

Subject heads can be a last minute afterthought, but they are so much more important than that. They should wrap your entire campaign up in a few words, and maximise your subscriber engagement.

Subject headings should aim to do the following
Be short and concise - this is probably one of the key elements as you get even less space for mobile optimised campaigns, so keeping your subject snappy and short will get you noticed. If you can get your subject heading at 50 characters or less this is ideal.

Try different subject line styles - testing a few different subject lines and seeing how they resonate with your subscribers is important. Do they like a bit of humour in their messages, or should you be direct and to the point. It will come down to your audience and also the industry you are working for. Messages for accounting firms and auditors will be different to e-commerce stores selling ladies shoes, so choose your subject lines and mix it up to text what works better.

Add in personalisation
- while people recommend you don't add in the subscriber's first name to the subject heading you can personalise the email heading in other ways including locality and other information that you know about the subscriber. While it is a simple addition, it can be so effective in getting a higher click through rate. Add personalisation in a range of areas within your campaign to rest it out - in your email subject field, introductory sentence and even when wrapping up your campaign towards the end of your email. Adding in merge tags on ESP's will allow you to add this functionality.

Be conversational - the subject is less formal and more friendly and doesn't sound too sales focused. Writing subject headings that are more natural for the reader is comforting and makes them more inclined to click for more.

Funny - email subjects can be funny if you're writing to an audience that is receptive to this - adding in something that is unexpected and funny will delight your audience. Let's face it; email campaigns can be a little dull, and the content can be a little predictable, going against the status quo and having a little charming title will make a big difference in your open rate and hopefully your conversion rate as well.

Focus on being very specific - good subject headings don't beat around the bush they are clear and to the point. Be clear about your goal and stick to providing a very simple and to the point title. Being honest and upfront can be a refreshing way to get an increased open rate.

Be on target - time is not on your side in digital marketing campaigns so target what you're doing, why the subscriber may be interested and what might entice them to open.
Be careful to avoid or be aware of the following which can sometimes not work in subject headings:

Be careful / aware of characters in your subject lines - they can trigger spam filters and don't always translate across platforms and email services.

Avoid capital letters in your subject; this is well known to appear as shouting and not the best foot to get off on with your subscribers. Don't shout; it's rude.

Don't beg, stay professional and make your subscriber want you. Begging is not cool, and if you have great copy, your words should speak for themselves without needing to get on your hands and knees.

Be careful of numbers in your subject headings, consider leaving them in the body of the email as an enticing way to get people to open up the email.

You might want also to keep in mind that as well as the subject line you also have the 'from' field and the short preview of your email that subscribers view in their inbox - so be aware of these extra two elements and ensure that they are also working to your advantage. Have a 'from' field that works for you, whether it be from an individual, or from a 'team' of people and also a continuation of your subject heading for your show preview (which can be viewed in the inbox without clicking open the email).

It's a lot to put into 50 characters of an email subject heading; I get that. But to give it your best shot you should keep all this in mind if you can when writing subject headings for your email campaigns.

Make your email simple, information and relevant by using clever subject lines that stand out from the crowd.

Anyone got a favourite tip or want to share their favourite subject heading?
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