Statistics say that the average email user receives around 150 emails each day. Slightly less than a half of them ends up being delete straight away. Even with that taken into account, a lot of clicks needs to be made to open the emails that weren’t deleted, and even more words need to be read. This takes time. Do you think people like spending their precious time on reading emails, especially marketing emails? You can bet they don’t. You can also bet that irrelevant and uninteresting emails end up in that half of emails that get deleted.

So where does this put you, a person using email to market goods and services? In a predicament, of course. Email marketing can be successful. As long as the emails sent in marketing campaigns are able to make the cut and end up being read. And to do that, they need to have a killer subject line. That’s your first step towards creating emails people will want to read. And it’s not a hard step to make, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.

Keep it Short and Simple

Your emails’ subject lines shouldn’t be too long, and they shouldn’t be too complicated. Why? Because both of those things are very likely to turn people off from reading your emails.

Very long subject lines show the email recipient a couple of things. One of them is that the person who wrote them doesn’t have a firm grasp of the concept of email. And might not be aware that the body of the email is where most of the information should be found. Another one is that the reader will need to spend their time reading the subject line. And you don’t want them to spend too much time on it. Generally, what works best is to have 6 to 10 words in the subject line. That is enough to catch attention but not enough to make the reader delete the email. It would be best, of course, if you could test every email subject line with a live audience. If you can’t, you can at least do Litmus’ email test.

A good subject line is part mystery, part predictability – it needs to say to the reader what to expect from the email, but it shouldn’t tell everything. To achieve that, a subject line should be simple, so that the person reading can understand what the email is about. Not that a subject line should use in lieu of a “contents” page – that’s where the mystery lies, in the fact that they now what the email is about, but they won’t figure out everything they’ll see in it just from reading the subject line.

Add a Personal Touch

If you’re sending emails to your mailing list, you should consider for a moment why the people who are on your mailing list signed up for it. They must have had a reason. Maybe they wanted to download a whitepaper and they needed to sign up for your mailing list to do so. Maybe they’ve read an awesome article you wrote, which contained a call to action to sign up for the mailing list. Whatever the strategy to get people to sign up for your mailing is, it had to involve picking their interest.

So when talking about adding a personal touch, we’re saying that you should tailor make your emails – and their subject lines – according to the interests of the persons you’re sending the emails to. It’s as simple as that – give them something they will like and they won’t delete your email. And you should know what they like since you used it to get them so sign up in the first place. Also, there are plenty of email automation tools that will help you manage who gets what kind of email, so there is no reason you shouldn’t be personalizing the emails.

Keep it Consistent

One of the core rules in journalism is that you can’t have a title of an article that doesn’t match the article itself. You can’t write a title and not address what it says in the body of the article, just like you can’t write an email subject line that has nothing to do with the body of the email. If you’re a real email marketing master, you will match the tone and the wording of the subject line with that of the article. Your readers will know to appreciate it.