Gone in 3 Seconds: Why the Subject Line in Your Email Marketing Matters So Much

Sixty seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? In fact, it can be an absolute eternity if you’re talking about email marketing, especially when you consider that the average person will take a look at your subject line for approximately 3 seconds before they decide whether to open it or delete it.

And if you thought 60 seconds wasn’t a lot of time, three seconds probably sounds ridiculous.

It’s a fact however, and basically means that you have to do something to grab your reader’s attention extremely quickly, and that usually means writing a subject line that’s irresistible.

The fact is, your subject line has two main goals: First, it needs to really grab your readers attention and then, second, motivate them to click on your email and open it. Since the best subject line has 60 characters or less, you’ve got exactly 3 seconds and 60 characters to achieve both of those goals.

In most cases this means you have to “hit the right emotional note” because, simply put, people are moved by emotions. Below are a number of examples using different kinds of “emotional motivators” to get the job done.

Emotional motivator #1 / Fear + Urgency Example – “Next week only, 50% off on Widgets!”

Your average person hates to “miss out” on anything and, if you can combine fear and urgency in a great subject line, convincing them that if they don’t “act now” they might possibly miss out on something, you could have a winner. The key here is to not abuse this type of subject line and definitely don’t convince them that they’re going to miss something if they’re not.

Emotional motivator #2 / Fear + Pride   Example- “Are you using your Widget correctly?”

Pride is a very strong emotion, especially because most people do want to do things correctly. If you’re sending some educational content you’re more likely to get a response from people interested in learning a better way to use something or, heaven forbid, avoid using it incorrectly.

Emotional motivator #3 / Joy + Surprise   Example- “Fun in the bedroom? Use your Widget!”

Saying something out of the ordinary or even slightly shocking will definitely get people to sit up and take notice. This falls under the heading “fun stuff you don’t need to know but, what the heck!” Truth be told, using Joy + Surprise is a great approach for many different subjects when it’s done correctly.

Emotional motivator #4 / Joy + Hope   Example- “Watch this puppy discover how a Widget works!”

Everyone likes to take a moment to watch something fun, cute and “awwww” inspiring. (Pun!) If you want to grab people’s attention this way, be prepared to give them more of the same if they open your email.

The Trust Factor

Any time you write a subject line using the word “you” or “your” you tap into one of the most vital elements of email marketing, building trust. In fact, that’s one of the main goals of running an email campaign in the first place, to build trust between your company and your buyers so that, when it’s time to make a purchase decision, they’re more likely to make it with you.

Using an actual person’s name in the “from” field is a great way to do this because people like getting emails from, well, other people. You can add your company’s name but put a real person’s name first.

Specifically asking readers to answer a question in your subject line, such as “Are you satisfied with our services?” or something along those lines is a great way to build trust as well.

Know what emotionally motivates your market

In closing, one last note; it’s vital that you know the types of emotional motivators that your particular market responds to. If you don’t, then the tips above might not get you very far. Don’t forget that you’re corresponding with real people, and those people will respond more if they believe you’re actually talking to them.

 

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