Subject line and pre header for emails : 12 tips

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How do you stand out in a recipient's inbox? The subject line of your e-mail (and your pre-header) are your only possibilities for achieving an open and therefore extra important. How much attention do you pay to your subject lines? We've rounded up 12 tips for the best subject line and pre-headers for you.

Subject lines for your email: 12 tips

Tip 1: set the sender name correctly

If you receive a message from a person or organization you know and trust, the chances of you opening and reading the email are much higher. First of all, make sure that your sender name is set correctly: it initially attracts attention and largely determines whether an e-mail is opened.

Tip 2: short, shorter, shortest

Short, shorter, shortest is the motto for the subject line of your email. Put the most important words from your message first. Take into account the different devices on which an e-mail arrives. What is visible to a receiver is determined by the space that the device or app provides. For example, an iPhone with Outlook shows 45 characters of a subject line. The preheader, on the other hand, is smaller and spread over several lines. Do you use Gmail? Then you have about the same number of characters for the subject line and the pre-header, but has anyone in Gmail set automatic labels? Then this is at the expense of the pre-header. So in all cases take into account the impressions on different devices.

Myth: There is no golden rule for the number of characters in the subject line. It has not been proven that a subject line between the x and y characters achieves a high(er) open rate, but please note that it's fully readable on all devices.

Tip 3: use the active form

Don't use passive voices or words like can, may, or hope. Use the active/active voice. You can say the same thing in fewer words and activate the receiver to open and click. For example: “Book a cheap holiday to Ibiza now” is better than “You can now book a cheap holiday to Ibiza”. Or don't say: "We are proud to present our new collection of sweaters exclusively to you", but say: "We are proud to present you our new collection of sweaters".

Tip 4: don't mislead contacts

Make sure your message covers the content of the email well: don't mislead contacts. Be honest: sender, subject and pre-header must go together well to give an honest picture of the content of the email.

Tip 5: address the contact person

Personalize the subject line to address someone's first name, company name or any other database field and (also) segment your subject line for different audiences through conditional subject lines.

Tip 6: speak the language of your target group

Think about how your target group wants to be addressed and make sure you manage expectations well: make sure the subject line of your email matches the style of the company. Don't use a popie jopie "Hi, you there!" if you e-mail from, for example, an insurance company. This can fit very well with another organization. Sometimes e-mails that resemble e-mails from acquaintances (Hi, how are you?) are the most effective.

Tip 7: Don't yell!

Don't just use capital letters and exclamation marks. There are spam filters that give minus points for that. Other characters such as &^%$ and % are no problem. Just don't scream! Words such as sale, discount, etc. are fine to use: it has not been proven that these are necessarily worse.

Tip 8: write persuasively

Write persuasively: for example, focus on urgency: for example, take a look at Cialdini 's influencing strategies, of which urgency is one.

Tip 9: (also) use an emoticon

Be creative. Don't just write a surprising text, but every now and then (also) draw attention with emoticons in the subject line or pre-header of your email.

Tip 10: test your subject lines

Test the subject lines of your email, for example by means of an A/B test . A small nuance can make all the difference. The best subject line varies by organization and industry.

Tip 11: review sub and pre-header

Spam filters evaluate the subject line and the preheader separately and in a different way. It is a myth that the subject line is judged more strictly. The preheader belongs to the body text for spam filters.

Tip 12: personal sender

Your email is more likely to open if the sender is a person. For example, if you see “Lisa from organization A” appear in your inbox, it will appeal to a recipient more than if you only see “organization A” in your inbox.

The pre-header

Also, pay as much attention to the pre-header as you do to the subject line. In it you can cleverly elaborate on the subject line. How to write a good pre-header? We summarize that for you below:

Think of the pre-header text as a second subject line and use the same strategy as above to improve your campaigns. Write a pre-header that covers the content of the email well and, if appropriate, gives a sense of urgency.

  • it's the ideal place to experiment with humor or emoticons (copy -> paste in the pre-header) or other tactics you don't yet use in your subject line;
  • do an A/B test, also with pre-headers. Test different combinations of subject lines and pre-headers. Some strategies lead to higher open rates and others lead to more clicks;
  • As we mentioned above, keep in mind the impressions on mobile and make sure your most important keywords are first. You want important words to show up first in email clients that "chop off" sentences, but don't make it too short. You also want your text to fill the space that iOS inboxes and Apple mail provide. Go for the right balance;
  • avoid repetition: it may be tempting to copy existing phrases from your subject line, but don't do this. Write a follow-up to your subject line. Use the pre-header to make the subject even more attractive and entice your subscribers to open the email. If your subject line contains a CTA, for example “40% discount on the new collection”, explain the content of the new collection in the pre-header;
  • does the content of your email consist of multiple CTAs? Consider including this in the pre-header if it goes well with your subject line;
  • encourage scrolling; Highlight 1 or 2 topics from the newsletter.

We hope you're ready to write a good subject line for your email. Did you already write it? Then try to write an even better subject line based on the tips above.

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