How can I make my subject lines more impactful?

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Crafting subject lines is two parts art and one part science, and one of the most overlooked components of an e-mail campaign. The subject line is what the marketer can leverage to gain a recipient’s attention. It is one of the major contributors to the customer’s decision to open your e-mail, so why not spend some more time on the copywriting? Here are a few tips for making your subject lines more impactful:
  1. Write the subject line first. Instead of making it the last thing you do, make it the very first. Think about the promotion or the content that you are preparing for, and sum it up in about 35 characters.
  2. Don’t write just one. Draft a few versions of the subject line to see what is going to resonate when it is all assembled. Being able to see variations of the subject line with your assembled message may just strike a chord.
  3. Read it with the rest of your copy. The subject line is part of the message, so it should flow together nicely. Treat it as your headline; it’s the attention-grabber of the message. It is important, however, that it can stand alone wh.
  4. Test it—always. Subject line tests are one of those things that should always happen in real time because the decision to open happens in real time. Developing and establishing a long-term methodology for subject line testing can lose effect over time. Instead, consistently test headlines—for example, a humorous one against something more matter-of-fact—from one communication to another.
There are a number of considerations that go into writing your subject line, but the key to your success is taking the time to really think about it—not just slap it on the message as it is on the way out the door. It is arguably one of the most important components of your message. It deserves some attention.

Kara Trivunovic is senior director of strategic services at StrongMail (, a provider of online marketing solutions for e-mail and social media.

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