Essential Subject Lines for E-commerce Emails
Written by
Claudia Jeffrey

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Essential Subject Lines for E-commerce Emails

Published : December 30, 2019

Contrary to popular opinion, emails remain one of the top marketing and communication channels in e-commerce. Emails are a simple, inexpensive platform that lets companies communicate directly and effectively with current and potential customers. AMP emails and ESPs amplify the benefits by helping increase sales and website traffic and also boosting social media reach.

However, even the most well-written emails end up in the trash without an impressive subject line. A well-written subject line that stands out in a cluttered inbox can make all the difference between an unopened email and a new customer.

Why Subject Lines Matter

So, we know that subject lines are important. But why do email marketers spend so much time on crafting them? For one thing, the subject line is the face of your email. It has to be attractive enough to demand the time and attention of your recipient. In this respect, emails without a subject line are more likely to get deleted or never reach the recipient at all.

Moreover, poorly written and overly promotional subject lines are often misinterpreted as spam. In fact, 69% of email recipients report numerous emails as spam every day based on subject lines, according to an OptinMonster survey.

Rules to Follow When Writing Your Subject Line

To fully reap the sales and promotional benefits of email marketing, here are some essential rules you need to follow:

  1. Certain words have a higher open rate than others. Utilize your research skills to determine high-impact keywords that boost your SEO-based readership. These keywords also increase visibility by helping readers search for your email later on.
  2. Always employ the A/B test with every new subject line. Send two or more versions with the same email to different recipients. This will help you determine which subject line has higher open rates.
  3. Desktops show 60 characters of a subject line, while mobile ESPs show only 25-30 characters. So, limit your subject lines to 43.85 characters (approximately 6-8 words) for maximum visibility.
  4. Avoid fillers like “hello,” “hey there,” and “nice to meet you”. They can be included in the email body instead.
  5. Keep the most relevant keywords at the beginning of your subject line to attract the readers’ attention.
    Samples Styles for Click-Worthy Subject Lines

1. Capitalization

When used smartly, capitalized words intrigue the readers and tug at their curiosity, leading them to open the email and read the full story. Limit capitalization to 1-2 words, however, as excess uppercase words convey rudeness and impatience. Capitalization can be effective in the following ways:

  • You will NEVER believe what happened at Selfridge’s
  • I got a makeover¬¬—and THIS is what happened
  • Fashion statement of THE YEAR

2. Personalization

Personalized subject lines have some of the highest open rates. However, simply including the recipient’s name and/or company name is no longer sufficient. To help your email avoid the spam folder, structure your subject line around your recipient’s location and interests. You can get this information based on their previous purchases or online activity on your website. Here’s how you can personalize your subject lines:

  • Hidden culinary gems in Boston
  • State-of-the-art supplies for your next art project
  • Don’t go camping without these essentials

3. Asking A Question

Give your subject line the feel of a conversation by phrasing it as a question. In her research paper published on Academist Help, Annaliese Johnson says that: “this alternative approach to a standard statement engages the reader, particularly when the question is about them.” You can also use this format for a customer feedback email to make the reader feel that you genuinely want their opinion. Here’s how you can transform your subject lines into engaging questions:

  • Having a bad day?
  • What are your thoughts on today’s technology?
  • Did you enjoy your trip? Tell Us.

4. Conveying Urgency

Move your readers to action by indicating a limited time frame and hinting at enticing offers. Actionable words and phrases resonate with the human need to avoid missing out on something possibly good. However, avoid over-exaggeration, as it will only irritate the reader, who may even blacklist your email address. Some effective uses of urgency in subject lines include:

  • Items in your cart are selling out fast!
  • You might be missing out on the chance of a lifetime
  • Your free gift is waiting!

5. Giving Social Proof

People often look to prominent figures and brands when making lifestyle decisions. Like how students are influenced by their more successful peers and buy assignment online to try to emulate them. Use this follower culture to your advantage by associating your subject line with a relevant famous person or organization. However, make sure that the information isn’t merely clickbait, and the person you mention is actually affiliated with your brand. Here are some socially inclusive subject lines:

  • Just for you – Kylie Jenner’s Instagram-famous shades
  • The café Gordon Ramsay can’t stop talking about
  • DON’T make the same mistake Microsoft did!

6. Using Numbers

Including numbers into your subject line creates a positively jarring effect within a melee of words. However, instead of whole numbers like “10%” or “100 times better”, use specific figures like “20.5%” or “99 times better”. This creates a sense of urgency and increases the appeal. Here’s how you can use numbers to your advantage:

  • Collect 1,620 points and unlock great rewards
  • 87.5% of people voted THIS as their favorite restaurant
  • Get 2.5X cashback on your purchase

7. Experimenting with Emojis

This may be a little unconventional, but a well-placed emoji is an instant attention grabber. If the nature of your email and your brand image allows it, try adding an emoji to individualize your subject line. However, choose very carefully and use sparingly to avoid sending the wrong message and risking a wasted email. Here are some ways you can incorporate emoji’s into your subject line:

  • ?Get the IT dress now!
  • ? Pamper your pooch with a LIMITED EDITION Kibbles flavor
  • ? Hot freebie alert! Pick 5 free gifts.

You can use this community edition of our AI-Powered Subject line optimizer to enhance your subject line for higher engagements.

Refresh your email marketing strategy with these tips, and craft a click-worthy subject line. Try combining various different writing styles to find the perfect fit for your brand image, and hone each concept as you go.

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