Blue Utopia Blog

Getting Read by Creating Better Subject Lines

Mon, Sep 12, 2016 - 10:30 AM

Email Subject Lines

Even with all proliferation with communication medium like facebook, texting, skype, twitter, and many others email is still a primary channel for most of us.  And our inboxes continue to be full of both wanted and unwanted emails – which just makes it a little harder to be seen.

First, a caveat to this article:  Here at Blue Utopia, we’ve preached for years that there is only one sure method of effectively communicating via email and that is to consistently deliver messages to your audience that delivers value.  That means over the long term and taking the time to really talk to your audience about things they want to read. 

Everyone knows though that you have to start these relationships somewhere and many times, that’s in the inbox.  And where much of the challenge used to be getting people to read past the first few lines (remember Outlooks preview pane?), it’s also increasingly about getting the user to just open the email.  That’s where the subject line comes in.  We’re not advocating going overboard on the attention you give subject lines.  Most campaigns’ email lists are under 10,000 with somewhere near a 35% read rate.  So a great subject line that increases the read rate by a whopping 5% results in an increased read total of 500 people – substantial yes, but not something that changes the riches of a campaign.   

So try to create subject lines.  Don’t’ go overboard.  Move on to the rest of the campaign.  With that in mind, here are 10 good practices for creating effective subject lines.

Ask a question

Sometimes an interesting question can spark curiosity and engagement.  Here’s an example

Have you see the latest poll?

Make it personal

You have an event.  You send an email.  Here are two possible subject lines: 

a:  “Join us at the Doe Event”

b:   “Hi Melisa, will you be joining us at the Doe Event?

Wow, those are very different in terms of grabbing someone’s attention in a crowded inbox.  To do this in Blue Utopia, you simply add %firstname% into the subject line.  Most email vendors support dynamic content like this so just look for how to do that in your email program. 

Convey a concise value.

About half of all email is now opened on mobile devices where the screen size is limited to around 35 characters.  So get to the point as quickly as you can in your subject line.    

Here’s an example:  “Early Voting Starts Today!”

Use emojis in the subject line.

Like them or hate them, people use emojis to communicate.  So using an emoji in your email subject line can be an effective way to identifying with your audience and increasing your read/resonse rate.

Luckily, inserting an emoji into your Blue Utopia broadcast email is as simple as copying the emoji from a website and pasting it into the subject line – just like coying and pasting any peice of text.

Two great sources for emojis are Facebook Symbols and Emojipedia.  Simply go to these sources, or any other of your choosing, and copy the item, then paste it into the subject line field of your email.  That’s it.

This article is a part of our series on Email Broadcast. 

This post was designed for political campaigns and, as such, is designed as a quick start to the subject matter.  For more info on our approach to blog content, check out our Welcome Message: Scope and Intent.  


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