It’s a fact. The subject line is critical to the success of any email marketing campaign. The subject line naturally draws the eyes of the reader and sets the tone for the email to follow. If the subject line is not eye-catching and compelling, most readers will simply ignore it and move on to the next message.
If you are wondering why your open rates are so low, it could be the subject lines you are using. If you are making any of the following subject lines, you could be driving customers away and harming your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst subject lines ever. If you recognize your own subject lines in these examples, it might be time to make some changes.
ALL CAPS SUBJECT LINES – You probably know that typing in all caps is the online equivalent of yelling. Do you really want to yell at your customers? You might think that an all caps subject line conveys urgency and excitement, but there are much better ways to accomplish that goal. A well-placed exclamation point or enticing words like “Last Day, Act Now and New” will do much more for you and your readers.
Generic Subject Lines – Your email is not the only one the people on your list will receive today. If you want your message to be opened and read, you need to make the subject line eye-catching and exciting, not dull and boring. The more descriptive and interesting you make your subject lines, the better off you will be.
Using Too Many Symbols – If you are selling engagement rings or dating services, a well-placed heart can help you get your message across, and everyone loves a cute smiley face every now and then. Packing your subject lines with too many symbols can be counterproductive, however. If you must use symbols in your subject line, keep them to a minimum.
Repeating the From Line – The from line is the place to put your company name; you do not have to make it the subject line as well. The amount of space on the subject line is limited, so use it wisely.
Deceptive subject lines – This type of subject line might boost your open rates, but it could actually reduce response rates and sales. No one likes to feel like a fool, and using a deceptive subject line will make the recipient feel foolish. A deceptive subject line could also get your message flagged as spam, and that could put you out of business.
Subject Lines that Reek of Desperation – Customers can smell desperation, and they will run from it when they see it. Begging your customers to open the email will not get you more sales, but it could harm your reputation.
Overly long subject lines – You are crafting a subject line, not writing a novel. The best subject lines are short and to the point. Less is more when it comes to subject lines. Give your readers what they need to know and let your email say the rest.
Misspelled and grammatically incorrect subject lines – Misspellings and grammar mistakes are hallmarks of spammers, and that is one club you do not want to join. Be sure to check your subject line, and your entire email, for grammar problems and misspelled or misused words.
Repetitive subject lines – Using the same subject line on multiple email campaigns just makes you look lazy. Take the time to craft a new and enticing subject line for every email you send.
Faking a Reply – Some marketers try to make their emails look like awaited replies by adding a RE:. That is dishonest, deceptive and ineffective. Your subject line should stand on its own with no trickery required.
The Test Email – Pushing send prematurely will annoy your readers and make them question your professionalism. To avoid this problem, craft the subject line first and work from there. Better yet, keep a close eye on the Send button and keep your cursor as far away from it as possible.
One-word subject lines – One-word subject lines like “Hi” or “Sale” are extremely likely to be labeled as spam, by both automated spam filters and human recipients. Being brief is a good idea, but cutting your subject line to a single word is never a good idea.
Confusing the Subject Line with the Preheader – The preheader should be a distinct part of your email, not a repeat of the subject line. Many email marketers simply copy and paste the subject line and use it as the preheader, but that is a bad idea. The preheader is a vital piece of the puzzle, and it deserves its own text.
Yelling Fire – If you have ever gotten an email with the subject line “URGENT” or “ACT NOW” you probably just ignored it. Your readers will do the same. Using a subject line like that is the email equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater.
Image credits: Yurious