This month, in our “Back to the Future” blog series, we’re taking a close look at the elements of an email that have the greatest impact on campaign success. We’ve written extensively about some of these before, including calls to action, subject lines, and preheaders. Now we’re highlighting the best practices that work today, and also explaining how our new audience identity management tool will make email marketing even more effective in the future. Last week we focused on calls to action. This week we’ll take a look at subject lines.
Back to the Future: Subject Lines
An email subject line can make or break an entire campaign. If your subject line isn’t compelling enough to elicit opens, click-throughs can’t happen. On the other hand, if your subject line does engage your target HCPs, it can be the beginning of a long, fruitful relationship. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true ways to write email subject lines that will attract the attention your email deserves.
What Works Now
To capture an HCP’s precious time and attention, your subject line has to shine through the clutter. Follow these guidelines to create compelling subject lines every time:
- Ensure relevance. The subject line should be clear, specific, and clinically relevant to the group you're targeting.
- Limit the characters. Less is more when it comes to subject lines. Most email marketing authorities recommend no more than 50 characters for maximum efficacy.
- Front-load keywords. Keep the most important words at the beginning, so mobile device character limitations don’t cut them off.
- Choose your words carefully. Over-using words such as “free,” “promotion,” or “invest” may trigger spam filters.
- Add a personal or local touch. Using the recipient’s name or a city name in the subject line has been shown to improve open rates.
As we head into 2017, physician-level data about visitors to your website provides new ways to refine your subject lines, and thereby, your email open rates. Here a few strategies you can use to take your subject lines to the next level:
- Know what’s relevant to physicians visiting your website right now. Our audience identity management technology reports real-time data about the website content individual HCPs are viewing on your site. You can analyze that data to understand what content different segments read most often and then reference that material in your email subject lines.
- Identify new keywords. You can also use physician-level website data to identify common search terms. If you discover that HCPs repeatedly search on a clinical term you use infrequently, you’ll know you should begin using that term in both your subject lines and your content.
- Uncover details you can use for personalization. Because audience identity management technology links website browsing behavior to individual data, you can use it to glean insights for subject line personalization. For instance, if data analysis indicates a common interest among specialists in a particular geographic location, your next subject line could reflect that interest.
Going forward, you can use physician-level website data to write highly relevant and personalized subject lines that can’t be ignored, even in an overflowing inbox.