Emerging subject line trends for SMBs

email image focused on subject line
I recently attended a webinar presented by Worldata, the masterminds behind SubjectLine.com, “Do This Not That: Email & Emerging Media Techniques – Targeting SMB Professionals.” Throughout the webinar they offered up new trends and must do’s when it comes to executing a subject line that increases open rates. Behind all of the trends is this:

Urgency + Exclusivity = Everything

Your readers need to feel a sense of urgency to open your emails, as if they are going to miss out on something SUPER important. And they must feel as though they are part of an elite secret society where only they can be privy to your email’s content.

I’ll map out a few trends that stood out from the pack that best illustrate this – a few MUST DO NOWs to increase those open rates:

  • Use “By Invitation Only…” at the beginning of a subject line. This elicits a sense of belonging and exclusivity with readers.
  • Mention your target audience in the subject line. Example: “Nonprofit Insight: Graduate from Outdated Technology” or “An SMB Marketer’s Confession.” MultiView has mastered this usage with our association marketing. As a matter of fact, if you’d like to learn more about association subject lines, my colleague Julie Bernhard wrote a fantastic blog on it, OPEN OR BUST: DRAWING THE ‘SUBJECT LINE’ IN THE SAND
  • Adding critical statistics in subject lines increases opens by 18 percent. Example: “71 percent: How often customers are the first to find errors in applications”
  • Brackets or parentheses are becoming more prominent within subject lines. They call attention to the reader’s eye and stand out in an inbox. Example: [New announcement] or (Announcement)
  • Displaying the amount of minutes something will take in a subject line increases opens by 17 percent or more. It lets the reader know you’re going to get them what they need quickly. Example: “How to grow your business faster in 15 minutes” or “Financial tips for you in 10 minutes or less”
  • Try a “List Focused” email. Create an email with a list as the content and call out the number of list items in the subject line. Example: “12 Subject Lines Trends You Must Do Now”

Bonus! Wondering what are the top 5 words that give the biggest open rate boosts? In order of increasing rank

5. Limited
4. First
3. Preview
2. Exclusive

And the #1 word? Free.

Yes, you can use the word “free” in a subject line! Just remember to test, test, test those emails. Do an A/B split on your subject lines with 5 percent of your list receiving subject line A and 5 percent receiving subject line B. Wait 24 hours, then analyze the results. You can then send the remaining 90 percent of the list to the winner. Genius, right?

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino

Email Marketing Manager

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