7 quick ways to create a compelling EDM subject line

12/Dec/2016 · 3 MINS READ

Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) is one of the best ways to share products, brand information and new content with your customers. By sending an email directly to their inbox, you’re opening a one-to-one line of communication with them, which means that once they read your content, they’re that much more likely to convert from it than a social post.

The main barrier to entry, however, is that people can choose not to open direct emails from companies, and that means they might never see the content you worked so hard to create for them. So, how can you get potential customers to open the message and avoid bypassing them and going straight to the dreaded spam box?

Crafting a kick-ass subject line is the place to start, and here’s seven ways to make sure yours is among the very best.

Keep it Snappy

With our ever-shortening online attention spans and the advent of checking email on mobile devices, if your subject line is too wordy, it will either be cut off due to length or ignored by the user.

Given that, it’s best to make sure you aim for shorter subject lines. Try to make sure that your recipients will know exactly what the email is about with just a few words.

Avoid Sounding Salesy

As much as it can be tempting to add in capital letters to a subject line, like “HUGE DEAL THIS WEEKEND!”, this overtly salesy line is a sure-fire way to end up in users’ junk mail.

Though it’s great to include a “Buy Now” section in the body of the email, the subject line should be all about getting someone to open that email for its content. A sales-pitch in the subject line is no better than running an ad anywhere else online.

Include a Name or Location

When it comes to EDMs, the more it sounds like you know the person you’re communicating with, the better.

If possible (and relevant) try to include the name of the person you’re contacting in the subject line. This is much more likely to grab their attention than an e-mail that feels like it was blasted out identically to several hundred people. Or if your company has a well-known brand ambassador, setting the email as from Richard Branson will work a lot better than from Virgin Mobile.

Another way of achieving this is with location. If you’re emailing your customers in Sydney about a local event or sale, include Sydney in the subject line. This immediately adds a degree of relevance to your email that it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Ask a Question

It’s hard-wired into our brains to seek closure. So, if we see a question in an email’s subject line, we’re that much more likely to open it to find the answer.

The best part is, this can be relevant to almost any industry. A bakery the week before Christmas might use the subject line “What is Australia’s favourite holiday pastry?”, and a mineral sales company might use “How much steel is in the Sydney Harbour Bridge?”.

Listicles Work Here Too

If you’re reading this article, you’ll know that listicles have risen to the top of online content over the last few years, and their inherent click-driving benefits are just as valuable to an email subject line as to a Buzzfeed article.

Where you can, try to include subject lines like “Five Way To X” or “Nine Times X Saved the Day”. If the modern Internet has proven anything, it’s that we just can’t stop clicking on lists.

Use A Call to Action

While it’s best to avoid more sales-oriented calls-to-action in a subject line, phrases like “Find Out”, “Meet Us”, “You’re Invited” and the like do serve their purpose in getting someone to open up your EDM.

Once it’s opened, that’s when you can add the “Buy Now” or “Sign Up” messaging.

Be Light-hearted

Though this may depend on your brand’s personality, adding a pun or joke to a subject line every now and again can go a long way to both endearing your brand to your customers, as well as making sure they open up an EDM to check out what’s inside.

Crafting the right subject lines for your EDMs can be a challenging task, but by following the steps above, you are more than setting yourself up for success.

It’s also important to keep testing, as all audiences vary. Where one product’s customers might prefer listicle-like headings, other customer bases may interact more with pun-filled subject lines. Try a few things and find the one that’s right for your product and your audience.