Mastering Email Subject Lines: A Blueprint for Boosting Open Rates in E-Commerce

Mastering Email Subject Lines: A Blueprint for Boosting Open Rates in E-Commerce
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In the overflow of emails flooding our inboxes on the daily, it’s safe to say only a few manage to grab our attention and getl us to click. Why is that? Well, it’s safe to make another assumption: interesting subject lines. The art of crafting compelling subject lines is the gateway to getting your brand noticed in the crowded digital space. For e-commerce brands, where every email open can lead to a sale or other action being taken, mastering the art of subject lines is crucial to success. In this blog, we’ll explore how focusing on personalization, creating urgency, and testing different approaches can significantly improve the performance and effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. 

Email Marketing is Not Dead

Oftentimes, you will hear some social media influencer or marketing guru explain how and why email marketing is dead. Can I just say that I have been doing email marketing for years, and I can honestly say that is not the case. Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use to market your products and services. Marketers will often talk about digital spaces with the analogy of you either “owning land” or “borrowing land.”  Social media, guest blogs, and podcast features are great ways to build your brand’s awareness, but you don’t own that audience; therefore, it is considered land you borrow. Email lists and marketing directly to your subscribers is more in your control and is considered land you own. You have a direct line of communication with these people, and you can sell, connect, and market to them directly. So, no, email marketing is not dead. In fact, it is more important now than ever before. Whenever I take on a new client, I always ask if they have an email list. If not, then we begin building one right away. 

Some tips for email marketing

So you know you should have an email list but aren’t sure where to begin? Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed with the thought of having to build one. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Curating an email list takes time (and a few rounds of unsubscribes). Once you have your list of engaged and like-minded people, your campaigns will start to perform better and better with every send. 

1. Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

The subject line is your first impression to a recipient. It should be concise, relevant, and intriguing. Depending on your brand, it can be humorous or even candid. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I have seen my fair share of dull and downright terrible subject lines. But I have seen some nicely crafted ones that intrigued me and made me want to learn more. That is what makes a compelling subject line. It has to move your audience to want to take action (ie. click on the email and open it). While the copy in the email must also be interesting and engaging, the subject line is what will get you noticed and get people clicking on your email.

Consider these tips:

Keep It Short and Sweet: Aim for 3-5 words that convey the essence or theme of your email.

Use Action Phrases: Verbs like "Get yours now," "Learn more," or "Don’t miss out" can inspire action.

Be Clear and Specific: Avoid vague language and clearly communicate the value or offer. This avoids any confusion and allows you to point directly to what you want your subscriber to do (ie. click on something, answer a question, etc.). 

Create Intrigue: Pose a question, use a teaser, or spark curiosity to entice opens. 

2. Personalization

Personalization goes beyond just using the recipient's name. It's about sending tailored content based on their preferences, behavior, or purchase history. Personalized subject lines can increase open rates significantly because it gives the feeling that your email was written specifically for your subscribers. Many email marketing platforms allow you to insert some kind of variable tokens into subjects, which can help give the feeling of “this message is FOR YOU.” Use personalization when and where you can since it helps you craft emails and subject lines that speak to various segments in your email list; thus, making additional targeting and campaigning all the more doable.

Consider these tips:

Use Dynamic Content: Include the recipient's name, location, or recent purchase. Using the specialized tokens that autofill this can help you craft email marketing campaigns that fit your specific needs. 

Segment Your Audience: Send targeted emails to specific segments based on demographics or past interactions. Have your master list that is a catch-all, and use groups and segments to identify various audiences within your main audience further. That way, you can target these segments and groups for specific campaigns and messaging.

Recommend Relevant Products: Suggest products based on their browsing or purchase history. This makes it feel like you really care about their wants and needs, and are recommending the best products for them.

3. Creating Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency in your subject line can motivate recipients to act quickly. That’s because it uses the idea of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). No one likes to miss out on something they deem interesting, fun, or an irresistible deal. By creating a sense of urgency in your subject line, you can play on the idea of FOMO and fuel your subscribers to click open your email and see what is inside. This is great for limited-time offers or one-time offerings you may want to let your subscribers know about. Many of my clients would do this during a sale season in their business where they would offer an exclusive item or discount code for a limited time. This sense of urgency got them more clicks, views, and sales as a result!

Consider these tips:

Limited-Time Offers: Highlight offers that are time-sensitive, such as "24 Hours ONLY" or “Get it while you can!."

Scarcity: Emphasize limited stock or availability, e.g., "Only 5 left!" or "Last Chance to Get Yours."

Event-Based Urgency: Tie your offer to a specific event or holiday, like "Get Ready for Summer" or “Get what’s on your Christmas list!”

4. Testing Different Subject Lines

A/B testing is a powerful tool to understand what resonates with your audience. Test different subject lines to see what verbiage, wording, and personalization resonate the best with your audience. A/B testing is a great way to see what your audience really appreciates and what can work for you to get them to open your emails. Try experimenting with different variations of your subject lines, adding emojis, and personalization. A/B testing will help you identify the best ways to communicate with your audience and get them to click on your emails. Use it!

Consider these tips:

Test Emojis: Emojis can make your subject line stand out, but use them sparingly and appropriately. They are a nice way to break up the sea of text we often have in our email inboxes since they add a bit of color and pattern disruption, but be sure they are appropriate for your message and audience.

Try Different Formats: Test questions, statements, or offers to see what gets more opens and click-throughs. Email is always about testing and trying new things.

Analyze Results: Use metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to determine the effectiveness of each subject line. 

Find What Suits Your Audience

If you own an e-commerce brand, then crafting compelling subject lines, using personalization, creating urgency, and testing different approaches are essential strategies for improving open rates in e-commerce email marketing campaigns. By focusing on these areas, you can grab the attention of your audience, drive engagement, and ultimately increase sales. And if email marketing ever seems too daunting for you to know where to even begin, shoot me a message and let’s see what kind of help I can offer. Email marketing is the backbone for any brand. The digital space is always expanding, but email remains the same. Build your list, communicate with your audience, and connect with your community directly. Email marketing is your gateway to your audience, and a nicely crafted subject line is the key. 

How do you test your email subject lines? 

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