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How Do I Write a Good Subject Line?

How Do I Write a Good Subject Line?

Coming up with a good newsletter subject line isn't always easy – nevertheless, it’s one of the essential things in a newsletter. Almost half of the recipients decide whether they want to open an email based on the subject line (Superoffice). If your headline isn't compelling enough, your newsletter content is completely wasted. Thus your first task is to get the reader to open your newsletter. Next, we share seven tips for writing a good newsletter subject line.

1. Try to use language that your readers will understand

A heading that sounds witty to you may evoke an opposite reaction at the readers' end, especially if you use complicated professional terms. Take your reader into account in everything you write. Feel free to utilize emojis if they fit the topic of the newsletter.

2. Make sure the headline is in line with the newsletter content 

If the heading is misleading the readers may feel fooled and won't open your letters in the future. Take into account what type of newsletter you are sending. Is it a monthly customer letter or service announcement. Context has a big influence on deciding the fitting headline. You can see examples of different headline styles based on the newsletter type from Good Email Copy.

Austin Eastciders chose this headline to accompany their new product launch: You Asked For It, You Got It... 🍑. The headline is fitting with the tone and theme of the newsletter. Also, the subject line tells us that the company has listened to customer feedback.

3. Make sure that you evoke emotion 

A newsletter headline should make the recipient interested. With a subject line, you can make people curious, undertake a wanted action or evoke their emotions. You want to remind people that your organization isn’t a faceless corporation. Instead, real people are writing and sending your newsletters. You can attract recipients’ attention with numbers, presenting questions and advising your readers to act soon. Here are a couple of examples:

  • "I woke up in my Neighbour’s Fiat Punto“ (Nura) Company utilizes weird customer feedback they have received in their marketing communications. By using it in a newsletter headline, it’s a way of gaining recipient’s attention.
  • Jenna, do you already have the Swapfiets basket? (Swapfiets) In their automated upselling email, the company uses personalization, and this way tries to draw the recipient to open the newsletter. 
  • Goodnight, mind🌛 (Headspace) Interest towards self-care keeps rising. By tapping into current trends, you make sure your newsletter is relevant for your subscribers. In one of their onboarding emails, this company advises how to use their app to ease falling asleep.   
  • 11 tiny magic tricks to astonish kids ✨ (Wonderbly) Which parent hasn’t tried to find fun and easy-to-do pastime activities for their kids? This headline uses numbers to make the newsletter tips seem more concrete. 

This spring business seminar Nordic Business Forum turned their events online.  Utilizing their headline speaker in the newsletter subject line is a sure way to gain the attention of their target audience, which is people in the corporate management level. 

4. Try to silence your inner editor  

At least at the beginning of writing. When brainstorming, it’s good to let your thoughts run freely. You can end up with fresh ideas that are surprising and interesting. After this, you can ask feedback from your colleagues and summarize your headline to bring out the core message of your newsletter.


5. Pay special attention to the first words of the heading 

Depending on the email program and device the recipient uses, a different number of characters may be shown from the heading before it’s opened. Therefore it’s vital to think about the beginning of the headline as well as try to summarize the newsletter content in the heading: most read their emails on mobile devices. Few examples:

  • Here’s the recording of today’s webinar 💻  (Liana Technologies) Our webinar recording newsletters are ones that have the highest OR. By mentioning the word recording early in the email, recipients know what they are getting. 
  • [New Guide] Keyword Research (Ahrefs) Us marketers just love guides, right? By putting the main takeaway of the newsletter to the beginning in brackets, you increase the possibility of increasing OR.
  • World Premiere Trailer: Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft) New releases are always anticipated events in the gaming community. In their announcement email, the company utilized the buzzword world premiere to create hype. 


6. Don’t forget about the newsletter preheader

In addition to the sender and headline, some email applications show a little portion of text from the newsletter in the inbox listing - this is called a preheader. Instead of just having a generic and bland Open this message in a browser here text you can already make your reader interested. Preheader can also affect whether the recipient opens the letter or not. With a newsletter tool, you can compose more personal preheader text.

Swedish based start-up Estrid used the newsletter headline and preheader to build a coherent piece in their win-back email. For this email the newsletter headline is We don’t wanna be… and the preheader text missing you. Simple but an effective way to try to gain passive customers back.

7. Test different options in your headings

Test out different headline options with the help of technology. You can use A/B testing which helps you to find out the best heading from your choices. In an A/B test, email marketing software randomly selects a test group from the newsletter recipients that will be used for testing the different variations of the heading before sending out the newsletter. After testing, the best heading option will automatically be sent to the rest of the recipients. 

Our customer Colas Europe utilizes Liana®Cloud Email Marketing in optimizing their newsletters. Learn more about how they achieved over 60% open rate for their internal and external newsletters.

Summary: The main task for the newsletter subject line is to entice the recipient to open the incoming email. A good newsletter headline is concise, and it matches the content of the newsletter. You can compare different heading options with A/B testing and find out what style your subscriber base prefers. Hopefully, you got new ideas from this blog article, and you’ll bravely test out something new!

With the A/B test function of our newsletter tool, you’ll find the best variation for your headlines. Liana®Cloud Email Marketing automatically picks a test group which is used to find out the most effective variation of your headline. After the testing period, the most popular option is sent out to the rest of the recipients. Request for a demo, and we’ll tell you more about our service. 

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