What does email stand for? Alright, there’s a huge chance you already know the answer to this question, so here’s another question for you. What makes a good email? When you think of a good email, the first thing that pops into your head is probably the content of the email.
Stop. You’re doing it all wrong. The first thing that should pop into your head is your cold email subject lines or email heading. When it is not right, the entire mail is as good as useless.
The first thing a person sees when you send an email is the subject heading. Usually, people who grudgingly subscribe to a website do not want to read the emails that are sent from the website. So when they see the subject heading when the mail comes in, they slide left or right, depending on the device, to get that email out of their notification bar. Let us ignore the fact that they grudgingly signed up. The fact that they slid it off their screen means that it wasn’t catchy enough to get their attention. When an email heading is not interesting, it will always be ignored, unless it is important for work.
When a person gets a work email, they immediately open it because the heading says “work” . What happens there is that a state of urgency has been kickstarted in the mind of the person, so they immediately get to reading it. The same thing happens when they get an email from their bank or it’s something they deem important.
It is that state of urgency you need to elicit in them. You need to make them feel like they must open that email the moment they see the heading. When your heading is unable to grab their attention, that urgency is not ignited in them, and in most cases, they’d begin to feel like your emails are becoming a nuisance. However, they may be too lazy to cancel the subscription, so they end up “tolerating” your emails.
How can You Write a Perfect Email Heading?
If you want your emails opened and read by your customers, you need to make sure that they have a valid reason for opening it. If they do not have that, your email will remain unread till they decide to declutter their inbox and get rid of your email. If you are going to send out email blasts to your customers, offering them an upgrade or something similar, you have to make sure the email heading is something that they would want to open.
Maybe you have not been told this before, but your email heading is the most important part of the email. It does not matter that you know how to compose really good emails. If your email heading does not catch the attention of the reader, the letter will not be read.
Your business should be sending out any type of mails. However, the content of the mail isn’t as important as the subject line. To avoid cases where your email is slid off the notification bar, here are some ways you can write an email heading that would grab attention.
It must spark curiosity
The saying “Curiosity killed the cat” was meant to be expanded to include “but satisfaction brought it back”. You need to pique curiosity in the mind of the reader. Leave the satisfaction part out for now. The content will definitely decide that but make sure you make them curious. And to make someone curious, you have to give them something to want to die for.
There has to be that factor that makes them want to just damn the consequences and read your email. Even if the email comes in the middle of a date, or an official meeting or even in the middle of a makeout session. Something that taps on their curious nerve and twists it till they open that email and see your offer.
It must spark urgency
At the beginning, we spoke about how people open their office emails immediately when they get them because of the urgency involved. Now, you have to find a way to get the hormone in their body that sparked them to urgency. They need to feel like they must open the email or they will miss a great opportunity. Now, while trying to work the urgency in people, there is a mistake that business people usually fall into, and that is using cliche lines.
“Act now!” sounds super urgent. However, it is not necessary. If your customer opens the mail and sees that there was no need to act on anything with that urgency, you become the wolf crying brand. Rest assured (or not) that your next emails will be ignored with intentional consistency. There are many ways to rephrase that word so that you get that feeling of urgency without scaring your receiver.
It has to be short
It is a heading, not the entire mail. Make a conscious effort to cram all that creativity that is bursting out from your mind into very few words. When it is too long, the receiver would not get the message the heading is trying to pass. Since the heading is incomplete, what do they do? Slide.
This is something that many businesses fail to do. While it is understandable that you need to send out as many emails as possible, maybe you should make a list of your major clients and go personal. When going personal, pick something that has to do with the brand and how the client relates to the brand.
Let’s assume you sell dog accessories and one of your top clients has a Maltichon. If you want to advertise a new accessory for your clients via mail, your heading should come off sounding like this: “Your Maltichon Deserves this Collar” or something along that line.
Now, this is personal. What this does is make your client feel like you know them well enough to have their best interest at heart. If you know the dog’s name, all the better. Make them feel like you thought of them when you saw the collar and you wanted them to have it.
Go the story way
Now, this is a little tricky. Using this tip requires you starting a story in the heading and finishing it in the body. It is tricky because while storytelling is good for a brand, you are not a storyteller. You are only passing a brand’s message or trying to make sales. You need to be very careful with this so that your story does not deviate from the brand so much so that you lose your brand message.
Have you ever stumbled on those Wattpad-worthy-cheesy stories on Facebook? What you see is an image, and a few lines that are usually very catchy and interesting (for people who are into that kind of thing at least).
When you click on it, it takes you to a place where you have to buy coins to complete the story. This then brings our first point to play. It piques curiosity, and to be satisfied, you have to buy the coins. Just try to not deviate from your brand message because you are trying to pique curiosity.
Keep away from clickbait like the plagues that they are. If you include information in your heading, you must make sure that that information is in the body of the mail. If you go the clickbait route just to grab attention, you’d grab the attention, quite alright.
However, when they find out that you are a fraud, you’d most likely be sent to the blocklist if they are irritated. If they are not, you belong to the ‘slide’ bin. Clickbaits also do not tell well of your brand. They are dishonest and should not be used for any reason.
There is no doubt that the ability to compose and send out great emails is a very important way to improve efficiency for your small business, However, it is not enough to know how to compose the email. You must get the heading right as well.
It is said that you should spend twice as much time on your email heading than you should spend on the body itself. This is because you almost always know what you are going to write in the body. The real deal is convincing them to read what you have written. This is why the ways you can make your email heading grab attention are written above so that you can get it right.
By the way, you should know that you can edit subject line in Gmail when you are forwarding or replying to a message. You do not necessarily have to forward an email in the heading that it came in. Instead, you can always change it to suit your purpose.
Amanda Dudley is a writer and a lecturer with a PhD in history from Stanford university. When she is not lecturing and helping students with complex assignments, she works as a part-time writer, providing top quality writing service proficiency while creating academic papers and content projects.