When sending out business emails, your end goal is to convince the reader to make a purchase. However, if you are too heavy-handed in your approach, your potential customer won’t take it well. So how do you make a good first impression? With creative and relevant email subject lines that don’t press the recipient too hard.
Many of the examples below require you to do research about the recipient of your email. This is fine if you’re doing just a few business-oriented emails, but what if you have an entire email list of customers? Well, the key there is segmentation. Even if you don’t have the time to personalize every single email, you can still make each email subject line relevant to the reader. We’ll talk about how to do that in the examples below.
Here are some ideas for subject lines that will catch the reader’s attention and inspire them to make a purchase:
1. A personalized question for the recipient
Asking the recipient a question (one that’s relevant and attention-grabbing) is sure to make them interested enough to open your email and possibly click through to your site with the intention of somehow answering that question. Think of it like a conversation starter, and you can’t go wrong.
If you’re sending an email to a single person, it’s easy to do a little Googling and find out something you can talk with them about. If you’re writing to an email list, segmentation can help you figure out what will get your potential customers to click through to your site.
“Have you ever tried [restaurant in recipient’s town]?” (If you are using email segmentation, you can ask them about an attraction in their general geographical area.)
“So you’re a [hobby] expert?” (This could be a question about something you saw on an individual’s LinkedIn page, or if you’re using segmentation and sending to a group, could be about something related to your topic. For example, maybe you’re a car repair shop, so you could title your email, “So you love antique cars?”)
“Will I see you at [event]?” (Make sure this is an event you will actually be attending!)
“Can we chat on Thursday?” (Obviously, this only works if you’re directing your email to an individual, or maybe if you’re hosting a webinar. Make sure that you actually have the time available!)
2. Name-dropping someone the recipient knows
If you can work a mutual contact into the subject line, you’re sure to gain some attention. This is really only for those recipients that you’re hoping to build a relationship with, rather than email lists—but you can always be creative.
“[Referral] suggested I get in touch”
3. Offering help
Offering personalized help is a great way to make a good first impression on a potential customer while also establishing yourself as a credible source of information. You’re an expert on something and you have plenty of ways to help other people, so why not make it work for you?
“Did you have trouble navigating our site? Let me help” (This could be sent out to a segmented portion of your email list; maybe those who abandoned a cart.)
“Do you need help estimating the price of your new addition? Let us take care of it”
You can also offer help in the form of information, which should be relevant to your products or services but also entirely freely given.
“How to get the most out of your vacation”
“10 tips for braving airports around Thanksgiving”
4. An open-ended question
An open-ended question is any one that doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. Readers have the instinct to answer these questions by replying to the email, and will therefore be more likely to click through to any page that hints that they could make themselves heard—even if that’s indirectly. It implies that you care about their thoughts and experiences, even if they’re not actually giving feedback. When used with an individual, it can start a productive discussion!
“When are you free to chat?” (Use this friendly greeting with an individual to establish right away that you want to network with them.)
“How did you like my online course?” (You could send this to your email list and include a link to another course of yours.)
5. The old stand-by: a first name
Personalizing your subject lines by automatically including the recipient’s name is a classic strategy, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. People are trained to respond to their name, and addressing them directly makes them feel more positively about your shared relationship. This can be combined with any of the other formats to make a subject line that will inspire its readers to become loyal customers who value your brand.
6. A call to action
This should be used sparingly and with delicacy, but it can be effective because it’s so straight to the point. Asking for or telling people about a direct action that they can take will often inspire them to do just that. Just like your blog posts need a call to action, you can generate motivation by using CTAs in the subject lines of your emails.
Don’t be too pushy, and remember to focus on building genuine goodwill with your potential customer!
“Don’t wait until the last minute” (This guides your recipient into taking action while maintaining a caring and helpful tone.)
“Make sure that you’ve got this great pocket knife before summer adventures start”
7. Lastly: experiment!
A/B testing, which you should be able to do along with email segmentation, is critical for finding out what works for your specific audience. Each time you come up with an email subject line, test it against a variant and see which one works better. This way you can learn exactly how to market to the recipients on your email list.
Do you have any tips or tricks for writing subject lines to increase sales? What are you going to change about your approach? Let us know in the comments below!