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When you are reaching out by email to your target audience, be mindful of their time. Your pay-off will be higher open rates. Once the email is delivered, subject lines are the first barrier to getting your email opened.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, knowledge workers, including managers and professionals, spend about 28% of their workday managing email. And through the email campaigns we’ve done for our clients, we see that many professionals are opening and responding to emails in the evening hours during the week and on weekends. Clients will only choose to open emails that seem to have the most value to them—no client wants to spend time managing email.

Create concise, clear subject lines
How can you help your clients and, in turn, help your email marketing efforts? Start with an effective subject line. Here are a few pointers:

1. Tell what’s inside. Let your audience know what content they should expect. If you try to pull them in under false pretenses, you may risk the reader unsubscribing.

2. Keep it brief. Do that by making each word count.

  • Shrinking subjects—shorter subjects lines benefit you. Subject lines are truncated at a variety of character lengths depending on the browser, email client or mobile device. Some truncate at 60 characters; others will truncate at fewer than 30.

    64% of B2B decision makers read email on their mobile devices. Source: Marketo

  • Clarity first—if a couple extra words make the reason to open the email clearer, include them.

    Longer subject lines of 131-135 characters had the highest Click-to-Open rates. The Click-to-Open (CTO) Rate is the total number of Clicks (per subscriber) divided by the total number of Opens. Source: Alchemy Worx (study included diverse industries)

3. Freshen up your subject lines. Words lose their value over time due to changes in the communication landscape.

  • The word “Newsletter” has lower open rates then “News” or “Bulletin.”
  • “Update” has higher open rates than “Report” and “Forecast.” Source: Adestra Subject Analysis Report 2013

4. Change it up. Don’t use the exact same generic subject line for every issue of your company’s enews or promotion of an event.

5. Make it searchable. Use words that people may search for if they are trying to find your email to take a second glance at your content or find that event promotion or registration confirmation.

Be sure to analyze your client’s open rates
Each niche B2B market may have its own unique reactions to subject lines. Test subject lines by doing A/B tests. Analyze your open rates and CTO rates to see what style and overall length works best for your target audience.

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