How to Write Effective Subject Lines for Your Next B2B Email Marketing Campaign

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Let’s face it: it’s tough to be heard above the commotion of a prospect’s inbox. With more emails being sent and received than ever before – DMR estimates the average office worker receives 121 emails every day – it has become crucial to focus considerable effort on ensuring your email is even noticed and opened.

Just as your company’s website is often the first place a prospect will interact with your company, a subject line gives users a first impression of an email you’ve sent. And first impressions count. If your subject is too salesy, you’ll run the risk of hitting a spam folder rather than an inbox; if it’s boring, you’ll probably be sent to the trash bin.

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Writing creative, not-too-salesy yet actionable subject lines is actually easier than you might think. By adopting the three headline writing strategies outlined below in your next email marketing campaign, you’ll boost your open rates, and as a result help your B2B company generate more leads and interest.

Shorter is better

Given that over half of emails are opened on mobile devices, you’ll need to optimize your emails across platforms. That means that long, 10-word subject lines are a thing of the past, since phones will generally cut off lines longer than 50 characters. Mailchimp reports that the sweet spot is under 8 words, between 28 and 39 characters. If you feel like this isn’t enough space, add details by updating the preview text instead of using its default (which can look weird because of formatting!).

Add a sense of urgency

You want your email recipients to feel as if they have something to lose by not opening your email. Think about what a prospect has to gain by reading your email. Is it a new product or service you’re offering? A time-sensitive deal? This could mean asking users a compelling question about their company, imbuing a sense of mystery in what your email is about, or telling them a potential benefit of your product (but be careful not to promise too much). Avoid getting too salesy, though, as certain words and even using all caps (FREE! SALE!) can trigger alarm bells for bots looking for spam. Speaking of spam, never use both a question and exclamation mark in your subject – this combination is a surefire way to hit the spam box. A good solution? Don’t do it! Or double check that your emails are okay by using

Personalize as much as you can

Adding a couple human touches to your emails will go a long way in building trust and recognition with prospects, incentivizing them to click. First, make sure you’re sending your emails as a specific person at your company – none of those “no-reply@” emails. Whenever it’s possible, demonstrate that you know your client or prospect in your subject line by using their name, their company’s name, or by mentioning their industry or geographic location. You can also mention one of their company’s major competitors (for example, saying your prospect is being outperformed because they don’t use your solution). Don’t use too many personal details though – you don’t want to get creepy.

Of course, your email marketing strategy doesn’t stop here. These four tips are just starting points in creating an email that users will open and engage with. Writing an effective email that inspires action is another challenge altogether, but Walker Sands can help. Get in touch with us to connect with our resident email marketing expert for strategy development, expertise and excellent content.


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