Compared to other types of content, email still does incredibly well when it comes to open and click rates. You can check those rates for yourself industry by industry if you want, but the lesson is clear: With average open rates around 20% and click rates around 3%, email enjoys a high success rate.
But we have a lot of business that wonder how they can better tap into that success rate, compared to what they are currently doing. The best pressure point for improvements is often the subject line itself – you know, the line that most users glance at to make their snap decisions about opening emails. Subject lines can be difficult to craft at the best of times, but don’t worry: We’ve got the tactics you should be trying to improve your email stats and get more responses. Start incorporating these ideas!
Subject Lines That Enable Trust
Medium has a very interesting article on “power words” and how to use them in subject lines. While it’s worth a read, most of their examples aren’t very usable for the B2B community, since a lot come across as salesy and insincere. However, once section worth paying attention to the power words for enabling trust. These include words like “Authority,” “Verify,” “Tested,” “Research,” “No obligation,” “Safety” and “Studies show.” You can see where this is going: These words are great for cold emails, because they help B2B representatives to believe that you know you aren’t trying to make a quick buck, but rather have something authentic to offer. Start using more trust words in your subject lines to see if leads respond to this!
Subject Lines That Empathize
Specifically, try lines that empathize with your B2B point of contact. Think about what they want, and their own goals in their own lines of work. Offer them something that shows you understand their point of view! Examples could include, “Should your company outsource quality control?” or “Increase your ROI by 20% this year, guaranteed,” or “Save $500 on shipping costs and impress your CFO” Offer them ways to make a difference in their line of work.
Subject Lines That Are Short
We’re talking around five words, if possible. We know that can be difficult, but a study has shown that 5-word subjects tend to beat out lines that are 8 words long when it comes to responses. Remember that subject lines are often cut off, depending on the size of the email window and email formats…plus, people only look at subjects line for a split second before making up their minds. So, when possible, make them short.
Subject Lines That Say What You Get with the Email
Show people that opening your email will lead to value! This works best with email campaigns that offer something. Provide an interesting whitepaper, a free webinar, an invitation to a livestream, a coupon code, a link to free shipping, or another inventive offering. Focus your subject line on that free offering so that people understand the value of opening your email.
Subject Lines That Are Honest
Never promise something in your subject line that you won’t deliver in the email. This includes exaggerations, “solutions” that are actually more complicated than they seem, specific dollar amounts that you can’t really guarantee, and similar moves. These are cheap marketing tricks that aren’t working very well in the consumer world, and certainly won’t be well-received in B2B. Instead of exaggeration and grand claims, be professional and direct. And mostly avoid cutesy smiles or other emojis, as professionals don’t tend to respond well to them.
Subject Lines that Promise Best Practices
Best practices are an easy way to increase interest in your email. Actionable information about your specific industry is far more than most email campaigns deliver, and many professionals will at least take a quick look out of curiosity. Use words like “guide,” “best practices,” “exclusive research,” “new report,” and so on. Of course, then you actually have to include useful information on new best practices in the email! Remember, your content is often the best source of good subject lines!
Subject Lines That Use Numbers in Interesting Ways
People are used to seeing dollar amounts and percentages in email subject lines. However, you can use numbers in more interesting ways to help increase response. Think of creative ways that you can include useful numbers, like “10 minutes to change your ROI,” or “The Top 3 Worksite Risks” or “By 2020, Your Industry Will Change Forever.” Numbers like these can resonate and help your email stand out in the clutter.
Subject Lines That Are Tailored to an Individual or Brand
We know it takes extra effort, but leads really do respond to tailored subject lines that are personalized based on their situation. Some subject lines use the name of their contacts to help draw attention. Others specifically reference the brand, business, or product involved. Some mention specific interests based on a quick LinkedIn search! If you’ve had previous conversations, this is a great time to mention what you discussed to help jog memories.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, we suggest CustomerThink’s guide to the 4 different B2B types – assertive, amiable, expressive, and analytic – and how to craft subject lines for each.
Subject Lines That Use Referrals
An increasing number of brands are trying subject lines with referrals, some to great results. Essentially, these subject lines mention a specific person who referred you to this specific lead, such as “[Person] recommend I contact you,” or “I found you through [contact].” This requires actually getting such referrals – making them up could be disastrous – but this approach appears to be particularly effective if there’s a name you can reference.