16 tips to come up with an effective email object
Given that most of us receive more than a hundred emails a day, you must continue to make every effort to seduce your readers (whether they receive your emails on their professional or personal email address) so that you keep them over time. One of the best ways to achieve this is to make sure that they first open their email to enjoy your content. The email object is key in achieving your marketing goals. If your object is appealing, your subscribers will tend to open your email much more. On the contrary, a not so well-chosen object might push them away.
You will find below 16 tips to write effective email objects.
1) Do not hesitate to disclose the content of the email
In the object, don’t be too secretive about the content of the email. The subscriber should be able to understand in a few words what the email is about. Given the high number of solicitations she receives every day, there is no chance that she will open it otherwise. It is indeed crucial that she gets it at first glance. In addition, I would advise you to put the most important information at the beginning of the object (as part of a percentage promotion, an event date, etc.) whenever you can.
2) Write an object as short as possible, yet keep it clear enough
As a rule of thumb, try to limit yourself to 50 characters when writing a newsletter object. If you leave no mystery, the user might lose interest in opening the email. I advise you to remain as concise as possible. It is very likely that she will not read it all if it is too long. In addition, email clients often limit, according to their own rules, the number of characters that can be displayed.
Detail of the number of characters allowed by the main email clients
|Email client||Maximum number of characters displayed in the object|
|Yahoo and Gmail||77|
3) Use a familiar sender’s name
Think about what advice you would give to your kids: don’t you open the door to strangers! With the proliferation of spam, many users do not bother to open emails from people they do not know or cannot quickly identify.
Yet, many marketing professionals still do not account for this today and keep using addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. This kind of address not only makes the email completely impersonal, but also prevents users to clearly identify the sender of the email or the newsletter.
I experienced it myself, as web marketer at Mediego: for the same emails, there is a huge improvement of the open rate when I send them using my name ’Benjamin Carro | Mediego’ rather than the name of the company.
4) Personalize the object
Who does not appreciate being identified as an individual rather than as a mere identifier in a database? I advise you to use what we call at Mediego explicit personalization. This consists of addressing the subscriber by her first name in the object. This is a nice and easy way to distinguish yourself from your competition since even if this a now widely accessible method, too few marketers use it.
5) Send the right message to the right people using audience segmentation
There is hardly a one-size-fits-all method there, as in many areas. Therefore, try to segment your audience and address each segment differently. You will avoid too generic objects that tend not to make sense to any of your subscribers. By segmenting your database into sports newsletter, economy newsletter for example, the objects will be more personal and in line with the interests of your subscribers.
6) Show through the object that you arrive at the right moment
You know the drill right? The right content to the right person at the right time. Actually sending an email at the right time is now possible with the analytics tools. Also if you send specific newsletters (international news for example) reserved for your premium subscribers, a typical example of an object and interesting emailing would be to warn the premium subscriber that her subscription ends in 2 weeks and that she should be better off renewing it before it expires to avoid the risk of cancellation as well as missing out on the latest news. If you manage to show that your emails reach the subscriber at the right time in your object, she will be more inclined to open the email.
7) Limit capital letters and punctuation
I do not think I ever met anybody who still opens emails whose subject is written in capital letters or filled with exclamation or question marks. It is obvious that these practices (less and less common I have to confess) should be avoided as much as possible. Email clients that consider them as spam can heavily sanction them. This will clearly hurt your deliverability. Although I understand that you want to express your enthusiasm, know that there are other methods to do so.
8) Use action verbs
The main goal when you send a newsletter or an email is obviously that it gets opened. To achieve this, we can compare the email objet of the email to a ‘call to action’ button (CTA). A well-constructed object that starts with an action verb will give the user the incentive to open it. Watch carefully the word you use though, the user should not feel oppressed, obliged or attacked by your object, at the risk of ending up in the spam folder!
9) Make the subscriber feel special
The personalization we talked about above is already a big step for the subscriber to feel special but you can go further. You can engage the subscriber even more by showing her that she is exceptional and that it is why she receives your email (lucky her). To illustrate my purpose, take the example of a National Daily News publisher that would like to convert its subscribers to the free newsletter into paying subscribers. By combining personalization and predictive segmentation, you can identify the users that are the most likely to become paid subscribers and send them a specific personalized offer.
Some examples of objects that could do a good job:
- ‘First name of the contact, receives 2 months of exclusive subscription.’
- ‘First name of the contact, you are one of our most faithful readers.’
- ‘First name of the contact, an offer specially designed for you.’
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but pairing personalization with segmentation by showing the subscriber that she is special, you have every chance that she will positively react.
10) Ban spam words of all your objects
I often talk about it when it comes to the newsletter or email. Note that this is only for the sake of ensuring the success of your marketing campaigns. Not only they impact negatively your deliverability but in addition, they prevent the opening. Here is a (non exhaustive) list published by Sendinblue of the most common spam words.
11) Watch the preview text of the email
If the object is one of the first elements observed by the subscriber when receiving an email, it is not always easy to convince your readers with a limit of 50 characters. Pay as much attention to the preview text that you do to the object. This preview is easy to modify since it is an excerpt from the highest text in the newsletter (the one that is visible first). For this reason it is common to see in preview ‘Open email in your browser’, because many emailing editor templates start with this mention.
Tip: If you want to keep the mention ‘Open email in your browser’ in first position in the email, but you still want to change the extract of the newsletter, simply insert your text with a size low typographic.
13) Convey a sense of urgency … in moderation
Trying to generate a sense of urgency is arguably one of the oldest methods used in marketing. This can turn out to be very effective to push a user to open an email. To tell you the truth I’m not a huge fan.
I’d rather focus on creating a long-term relationship with the subscribers we have at Mediego. So I use this approach sparingly when writing an object. The risk of this approach is to get a great performance on the short-term, but once your subscribers are used to this method, this might lead your users to unsubscribe, report your emails in spam or simply ignore them. If you still want to use this method, make sure to write your articles carefully so that the content is interesting and above all do not use this method for all your email marketing campaigns.
14) Address the user directly in the object
Is your database perfectly segmented? If that’s the case, you can address the subscriber with questions that are related to her interests. Using questions is a great way to engage a subscriber, intrigue or interest her and increase the chances that she will open the email.
15) Use figures in your objects
While this is not always easy to do in the context of online publishing, adding figures to the object is fairly efficient. Figures in the object (such as 15%, 3 M., etc.) allow the user to quickly identify if the content/offer of the email is of interest to her and even give her an idea of the time required to read your content.
16) Go for AB testing
Again, there is no such a thing as a magic trick that can be applied to ensure the success of email campaigns across all areas. Therefore I cannot guarantee the success of all the tips listed above.
This is where AB testing comes to place in order to help you compare the alternatives and pick the tips that work best for you on the long term.
Make sure to compare one thing at the time during your tests otherwise it is going to be tricky to draw any conclusion.
You are now supposed to know about all good practices to improve the efficiency of your objects and increase your open rate. Keep in mind that the most important thing is that the object has to reflect the content of the email. Should you be aware of any other relevant practice, please do not hesitate to share them and let me know, I’ll add them to this list and will thank you accordingly in the process.