Every CME email campaign begins with an “open.” Unless the physicians you’re trying to reach actually open your emails, you can’t convey the value of your event, elicit a response, or achieve your ultimate goal of increasing registrations.
High open rates are essential to campaign success. Yet our research shows that they vary wildly – from a dismal 0% to over 32%. So how can you ensure that your emails get opened? Make your subject lines irresistible.
5 Rules for Sure-Fire Subject Lines
Your subject line is the first impression you make on potential CME participants. In an instant, they’ll decide
whether to read or ignore your message. In fact, 35% of emails are opened based on the subject line alone. Worse, 69% of email users flag an email as spam after seeing just the subject line. Fortunately, there are proven ways to write subject lines that physicians will want to open.
1. Make it relevant. Physicians are more likely to open messages that are clearly related to their interests. Know each physician’s specialty, but also her sub-specialty, geographic location, practice group, affiliations, and prescribing history. Then be as specific as you can in your subject lines. Identify the exact skill or challenge your CME event addresses, so physicians will immediately recognize its value and relevance to their day-to-day work.
2. Choose your words carefully. Use words that convey a benefit, for instance how your CME event will make physicians smarter or their lives easier. Action words, questions, “trigger” words related to specific events, and words that convey urgency are most effective. But don’t get carried away. Promotional words like “free,” buzzwords such as “report” or “intelligence,” and emoticons may turn physicians off and be caught by spam filters.
3. Keep it short. Email marketers debate the ideal number of characters for subject lines, but everyone agrees that shorter is better. This is especially true for mobile, where anything beyond 30 to 35 characters is truncated. Most physicians will simply ignore a partial subject line that doesn’t convey a clear meaning.
4. Front-load keywords. Email recipients often scan their inboxes for words that catch their attention. Place these keywords at the front of your subject line to make them more noticeable. Front-loading also ensures that keywords won’t be cut off if your subject line is too long to render fully on one or more devices.
5. Optimize the pre-header. The pre-header is the text that appears below the subject line in the inbox. It gives you about 100 additional characters to get your message across, so be sure it clarifies or expands on your subject line. If you don’t program a preheader, the operating system of the recipient’s mobile device will default to the first line of text in your email. Too often that’s something like, “To view this email in a web browser, click here,” which is hardly a compelling opening.
Next week we’ll be at Alliance 2017 in San Francisco talking about how CME planners can use targeted email to increase registrations. Stop by booth #314 to learn more about what works, what doesn’t, and how to test email subject lines.