12 Ways to Write a Great Subject Line

There aren’t a lot of personal trainers and gym owners out there knowledgeable on what makes a great subject line, because they put 95% of their time and energy into the content of the email to drive the sale home. You have a mere two to three seconds to capture the attention of today’s average Joe, and a confronting block of text in the form of an email just isn’t going to cut it. You NEED a good subject line. This is where it all begins, and should be the first thing you write.

To ensure you write killer subject lines all the time, here are 12 tips that you can incorporate into your emails.

1. Keep your subject line short – around 30 to 40 characters – which has been shown to have a high open rate (people reading your emails but not responding). However, 90 to 100 character subject lines have been shown to garner a higher response rate (both read and replied), as more relevant and key information can be conveyed to draw in the right readership.

2. Be personal; use names if you have them! Any opportunity to make a reader feel like the email is meant just for them rather than hundreds of people should never be passed up. This immediately builds trust and shows that your email hasn’t come out of the ether. If the recipient of your email has been referred by a friend, acquaintance or family member, use that person’s first name in the subject line. This can similarly be used if the recipient has voluntarily subscribed to your emails.

3. Offer something. Laying an offer on the table, such as secrets or tips, is a very powerful use of the subject line. These can be anything from dietary and health tips, or a headline such as “Fat-burning secrets that have worked for me”. These offers are a great way to get people to not only read your email, but to contact you as well.

4. Don’t use all caps. Only capitalise the letters that need to be, not whole words. While it will certainly get the reader’s attention, it won’t get their interest. Capital words find common usage in spam emails, and the use of them will place you in the same category. If your aim is to separate words from the pack because they’re important, try using dashes or parentheses such as brackets to enclose them.

5. Tailor your subject line. Chances are, you’ll be sending the same email to multiple people, especially if it’s sales-related. The mistake I see made time and time again is personal trainers and gym owners using the same subject line for different lists. This is especially important when you’ve geared the subject line for a referred recipient, and looks sloppy when sent to the wrong person, who will be quick to delete the email.

6. WIIFM? What’s in it for me? Nothing is free, and everyone wants something. The mentality of many is, “What will I gain by reading this email?” Make this clear in the first few words. How will you solve a problem or make their life easier? The recipient should feel as though you’re contacting them because you truly care about what you’re offering and believe it can be of help
to them.

7. Set a deadline. When an email doesn’t seem important, many will leave it and tell themselves they will read it later, only to completely forget to do so. Adding a deadline into your subject line, such as closing with “Please reply by […]” or “Offer ends on […]” will incite an immediate reaction. This not only increases the open rate of your email, but the response rate as well. A sense of urgency is instilled in the recipient, encouraging a quick purchase.

8. Keep it focused. Don’t try and put your hand into too many pies with one email subject line. Keeping to one focal point, especially for marketing emails, keeps the email subject line simple and more inviting to read, rather than one that jumps all over the place.

9. Use keywords. Billions of emails are sent each and every day, and a lot of those will be stacking up in email boxes around the world. Your recipient may read your email and decide to come back to it at a later date, especially if you haven’t included a deadline. Including logical, easy-to-search keywords into your subject line will make it that much easier to find when it is
eventually buried. This is also why your subject line should have some relevance to the content of your email.

10. Avoid spam tricks. Spammers typically use lots of exclamation marks and buzz words such as ‘exclusive’, ‘free’, ‘limited time only’. Limit these in your subject lines. While your email may not be spam just because it includes an exclamation mark, it’s best not to take that chance, as it’s likely your email will be filtered and filed in the spam folder.

11. Eliminate unnecessary words. Filler words take up space and time and should be sought out and removed. Get to the point of your subject line and what it’s about. Don’t include introductory words such as “Hey,” leave that for the email itself.

12. Separate your subject line and email body. I’ve seen some people start a sentence in the subject line only to finish it in the email’s body. Don’t do this. Not only does it look lazy, but also it’s wasted space that could have just been moved to the email itself, anyway. Using this method will also make the recipient feel like you’re forcing their hand so they must open the email to know what it’s all about. In such a time-scarce world, this is bad practice.

Before writing your subject line, and even the email itself, be sure to know who your target audience is. This will greatly help in the decision-making process of what will draw people in and what will not.