Each person receives tens or even hundreds of emails a day. The inboxes are more and more solicited, which is not without annoying. How, in these conditions, to ensure that your emails get the attention of the recipients and do not drown in an undifferentiated ocean? If email marketing is a proven technique for retaining customers or converting prospects, it is still necessary to adopt a fine and thoughtful approach. All the marketing studies show that the title (or object) of the emails has a key impact on the opening rate and therefore on the performance of your campaigns. It remains to know how to optimize the title of email campaigns. This is the question we asked ourselves in this article.
1. Choose A Short Title Preferably
Everyone will agree on one point: the bulk of the work consists of defining and realizing the contents of the email. But in order for the recipient of the email to know the quality of your email, he must first open it. However, one of the elements that play the most in the opening rate of a mail – with the identity of the sender – is its object, its title.
Most professionals and many studies have noticed that a short title improved the opening rate: “The Shorter, the Better.” Notices concerning the maximum length of the heading diverge. For some, the limit not to be crossed is 30 characters, for others, it is 40. Some even place the point of no return to 70 characters spaces included (which is in our sense is already “long”). Others reason in terms of words and set limits themselves variable: 5 words, 6 words, 7 words … This limit varies in reality according to your target. There is no general rule, it all depends on the factors of your campaign (first of your target).
Read Also: How To Attract Readers With Your Excellent Post Title
Why Choose Short Titles For Email Campaigns?
There are several answers, each complementing each other. First, a short title is faster to read and understand. When you receive more than 100 emails a day, you do not necessarily have time to read the title of all emails. Managing emails is a burden for most people. It is, therefore, necessary to facilitate their work. More or less consciously, more or less unconsciously, their attention will be directed to short titles. Mine of nothing, a long sentence takes the time to read and assumes prolonged attention. A short sentence can, conversely, be read almost instantaneously, almost unconsciously. Just look at the right line of the inbox …
The second reason that argues in favor of short email titles is a technical consideration. Writing a long email title means taking the risk that the subject of the email is not displayed in its entirety in the inbox. Most emails simply truncate titles that exceed a certain number of words or characters. Personal configurations of users can amplify the phenomenon. The truncation is detrimental to at least two titles:
- Aesthetically speaking, it is rather “ugly” and this gives a bad impression to the recipient.
- Cutting an e-mail can be problematic, especially if you place the keywords at the end of the title.
A third reason can be brought, which joins the second one: the problem of posting on mobiles. Since the screen size of a mobile is smaller than that of a computer (this applies mostly to smartphones, more than tablets), the display constraints are much stronger. To produce a title that is too long is to risk becoming completely illegible from a mobile.
Here are three reasons for a short title. Yet things are more complicated: sometimes a long title can do the trick and can work very well. To return to the controversies concerning the limit of characters not to be crossed, it is necessary to know that the function f (length of the email) = rate of opening is not a linear function. Overall, a title of fewer than 20-30 characters will have the best opening rate (provided you succeed in creating meaning with so few characters). Then, the aperture rate decreases as the number of characters increases. But there is a moment when the rate of openness starts to rise again. It is not possible to define exactly this moment. The idea to remember is that either you choose for a short title but really short, Or you select for a long title. You have to choose a long title only if the short title is impossible (because of the meaning) because in all cases the short title will have a better opening rate than a long title. In order of preference, we thus have 1 / Short title (20-30 characters), 2 / Long title, 3 / “medium” title.
One tip: to find the right length of the email, it is recommended to do tests (see below).
Here below, finally, a graphic proposed by Adestra which summarizes what we said. The green line is the opening rate. According to the study underlying this graph, the optimum number of characters for a short email title is 20. A drop in the aperture rate between 20 and 30 characters is observed. Next, the aperture rate increases overall with the number of characters. We even reach a peak at … 130 characters. The definition of these peaks should not be taken in absolute terms. Peaks may vary depending on your target, activity, etc. The idea to remember is that, once again, the title must be either very short or very long. It is also observed on this graph that the title of the email has not only an impact on the rate of opening But also has a click rate (purple line). This is adding a new argument in favor of the vital importance of email titles!
2. Choose Simple and Descriptive Title
An enlightened and active human mind will tend to want to make “original”, to find a percussive imaginary email title. Is not it said that one of the main qualities of a marketer lies in his creativity? Creative friends, you will surely be disappointed. Experience shows that a good email campaign title is a simple and descriptive title. Or could add: precise and clear. Again, we must remember what we seek in the end: to attract the attention of the recipient of the email and to encourage him to open it. The recipient will not have the generosity to give you time to understand a convoluted or vague email. Simplicity concerns both meaning and form (even if the two are ultimately inseparable).
The form: do not use too adventurous syntactic constructions or too sophisticated style figures. Make it as simple as possible, and use linear sentences of the type: Subject + verb + complement.
The meaning: avoid too subtle punishments, uncertain references, and jargon (marketing or otherwise). Use words that everyone (or your target) knows and uses.
Your title must be descriptive. He or she has to explain in a concrete way what is in the mail, to present the service or the product that you propose. Example: “Reduce your taxes by up to 50%”. There, at least, we know clearly what it is. Avoid tilting: “A great deal in this mail”. This object is much too vague and gives no indication. In this case, one should not rely too much on the curiosity of the recipient. This one will be rather inclined to consider the mail as a spam (see below). Another example: if you want to send a promotion email on the occasion of the balances, choose instead a “30% on all our items” rather than a more “elegant” title such as “Small prices on All our catalog “.
The little extra knows that titles in the form of lists are much appreciated by mail recipients, and more generally by Internet users.
3. Avoid Capital Letters, Punctuation and Spam Words
How to make the emails you send are not perceived as spam? This is a very important question, for two reasons:
- Messaging software and webmails have anti-spam filters that automatically block spam-like emails not to mention ISPs that also can block spam.
- Even if your email is not blocked, it is enough that it has the appearance of a spam so that the recipient considers it as such and moves it immediately in its basket.
There are tricks to avoid that your mail resembles a spam and suffer the sad fate of these emails. First, avoid capitalization and exclamation punctuation. Of the type: «DISCOVER IN PREVIEW OUR NEW APPLICATION !!!!! “. To be banished absolutely! Do you open this kind of emails in real life? The answer is surely not … The capital letters should be reserved for the letters of the beginning of a sentence and the proper names, as the Bescherelle taught us it. You can, in fact, put a whole word in upper case to emphasize its importance, but not more. Too many capital letters kill the capital letter. Same for exclamation points. You can, of course, use them, but in this case put only one (avoid “!!!!!!”).
Secondly, avoid what is called “spam words”, that is, words and expressions typical of spam such as “OPEN QUICK”, “SUPER PROMO”, “PROMOTIONAL OFFER”, “100%”, “” FREE “,” URGENT “,” MONEY “, etc. These are forbidden words: there is a good chance that your mail is blocked and does not even arrive in the mailbox of your recipient. More generally, avoid all shock formulas. Also ban currency symbols in the subject of your mail (“$”, “€”, etc.). Each use of one of these terms helps to discredit your mail and increase its chances that it will end up in spam. More generally, the recipient of a mail will tend to throw in the trash all the aggressive emails. Another marketing rule is to incite people without seeing it (too much). It would be necessary, ideally, that the mail does not pass for a mail marketing, that all marketing strings are invisible. With the abuse of capital letters, exclamation points, spam words, it’s missed! One could also evoke other writing practices to avoid:
- Repetition. Example: “Quick, fast, fast, you have only two days to …”. Also, avoid repeating the name of the brand or your company twice.
- The too large spaces between the words. Example: “Discover our new promotional offer”.
- The points between the words. Example: “COME TO COVER OUR NEW OFFER” or, soberer but to avoid as much: “Come to discover our NEW OFFER”.
Finally, you should reserve a particular spell for question marks. Both exclamation marks and question marks constitute what is called “effective punctuation” (we could also add the ellipses that also fall into this category). The abuse of exclamation points, as we have seen, is to be avoided. The same thing could be said of the question mark: only one question mark is enough. Do not abuse the question marks does not mean that you should not put it. On the contrary, question marks are very effective in general in email campaign titles, especially when the questions begin with “how”. Example: “How to go on vacation for cheap? “.
Question marks (and interrogative sentences) allow two things:
- Give a color or an effective shade to the title. The reading of an interrogative sentence implies a variation of intonation, which, in the psychic order, is translated by an affect movement. It would be complicated to explain the affective dimension of the thing, and this article is not an article of psychology. But each can feel the small effective variation caused by the interrogation, unlike the classical point or the comma, which has only a grammatical function of the separation of sentences (“rational” function). This emotional aspect brings you closer to your recipient and creates a feeling of connivance conducive to opening the mail (quite simply).
- A sentence presented in an interrogative form is more likely to arouse the interest of the reader. Who says question says the answer. The recipient of the mail will be prompted to open the mail to find the answer to the question raised. Obviously, this assumes that the recipient of the mail is interested in the question, poses it himself. Hence the interest, as we will see, to adopt the titles of mail to the targeted audience.
Tip: Find questions that the e-mail recipient can only answer “yes”. Example: «Do you want to go on holiday cheap? “Or” Want to lose your extra pounds before the summer? “.
4. Establish A State of Emergency And Use Action Verbs
To postpone things is a characteristic of the human race. Once in two, putting something back later is nothing to put back at all. Well in email marketing, there is an almost universal rule: the recipient who does not open your mail right away will never open it. It follows that everything must be implemented so that your recipient opens the mail right away.There is no such thing as a state of emergency. There are several methods for establishing such a state. The idea is to send the following implicit message to your recipient: “You have to open the mail NOW at all costs, otherwise it will be too late for you to benefit from the offer, the product, the service and so on. “.
Here are the kind of formulations that create a state of emergency: “you only have until tonight to …”, “Enjoy … before it’s too late”, “Enjoy the last days of balances “In two days it will be too late.” We could multiply the examples.
Action verbs also help to encourage call recipients to call-to-action. There is in email marketing a list of flagship verbs that produce a strongly incentive effect on Internet users. It is advisable to combine these verbs with the imperative to increase their incentive effect. Here are some of these verbs:
- “Discover” can be effective if you offer a product, offer or service that is new or unusual. This verb gives the impression to the recipient of being a privileged person.
- “Take,” not to use alone. It is relevant in expressions such as “Take care of yourself” or “Have a good time”. The expressions constructed with the verb take have an empathic character. This gives your recipient the impression that you are taking care of him.
- “Win” . The verb to win is a very effective verb. Everyone wants to win something, the lure of winning is universal. Be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of spamword. Word to handle with care. If you use the verb win, avoid capital letters and exclamation marks.
- “Try” is very smart, to the extent that behind “try”, the recipient often includes “free”. The effectiveness of this verb is partly due to the implicit resonances it produces.
Note: These action verbs are not effective as such. It is the rest of your title that will allow the verb to acquire all its strength. The strength and effectiveness of an action verb depends on the rest of the title. Feel free to use less known and less widespread verbs. This can help distinguish your mail from others, provided you do not choose too weak verbs.
5. Adapt The Title To The Target And Address The Recipients
The title of the mail must be adapted to your target. This is an opportunity to remind that if there are good practices, it is equally obvious that there are no miracle recipes. For the simple and good reason that a mail must be adapted to its recipient. An e-mail address addressed to a household target of less than 50 years of age will not be written in the same way as a e-mail address intended for young people aged 18-25 or older. You have to adapt to the needs, vocabulary and habits of your target . The tone you use must be tailored to your target. We do not use familiar words when addressing seniors, but it can be very relevant if your target is young people. We do not express ourselves in the same way as the campaign is B2B or B2C, etc. These are tips that seem to be self-evident, but it is clear that many email campaigns fail because of the lack of consideration of the specificities of the target. This is why, by the way, it is important to have notions of psychology and a precise knowledge of the behavior and habits of the consumer to carry out an email campaign . It’s not just technical. It is important to have notions of psychology and a precise knowledge of the behavior and habits of the consumer to carry out an email campaign . It’s not just technical. It is important to have notions of psychology and a precise knowledge of the behavior and habits of the consumer to carry out an email campaign . It’s not just technical.
By adapting to its target, it is touched more effectively. Again, what are we looking for to improve the performance of an email campaign? The answer is simple and there is no doubt that you already know it: to interest the recipients, to touch them, to meet their needs, to arouse their interest, to show also that they are interested in them , and so on. In this regard, there is a very effective method to increase the rate of opening of mails: personalize the mails . If you have the mail of a person, you surely also know his first name or his name. Why not take advantage of this knowledge to personalize the mail? Example: “Mary, you only have a few days to take advantage of our offer”. In this example, the urgency effect is emphasized. We could also write: “Mary, you want to go on holiday cheap? “. More emphasis is placed on the description of supply. This is also the opportunity to see that it is difficult to meet all the criteria of a good title of mail in a single object: state of emergency, short title, simple title and descriptive, interrogative sentences, etc. . Precisely, the choice of the best combination will depend on your target. On this point it is difficult to give general advice. Choosing the best combination will depend on your target. On this point it is difficult to give general advice. Choosing the best combination will depend on your target. On this point it is difficult to give general advice.
The personalization of a mail title does not necessarily concern only the name or the first name of the recipient, even if this is the most frequent case. It is possible to adapt the title of the mail to the recipient’s interests, the history of his activity, his city of residence, etc. This of course requires having enough data about the people who make up your base. The customization of a mail can be very advanced. The more personalized the e-mail, the more the recipient will feel “privileged”, the more it will feel like receiving an “exclusive” offer . This feeling on the part of the recipient has a very powerful impact on the opening rate, although the customization of a mail can entail additional costs upstream.
Note: Always think about asking yourself: if you were in the place of your readers-recipients, would you open the mail?
6. Take Advantage of The Different Language Functions
The design of a good email campaign title assumes minimal knowledge in psychology. On top of that, knowledge of linguistics can also be useful. Marketing is a matter of communication, so it is not surprising that linguistics points its nose . To find a good email campaign title, you must know a minimum of the language, its functioning and its functions. Knowing the different functions of the language is not only a purely theoretical objective, it can be a real source of inspiration for the creation of its titles of email campaigns . How to properly transmit information? How to convey an adequate meaning? How to reach the recipient? How to encourage him to react and open the mail? Linguistics can help us to answer these questions. Jakobson, a famous linguist of the early twentieth century, defined several functions of language:
- The poetic function . Language, in the poetic function, becomes a game centered on itself. Example: “Le Crac du CAC 40”. This is playing on the meaning of words, the sounds, rhymes, assonance, alliteration, senses breaks, etc . The poetic function is an aesthetic function. Some studies show that the use of this function has a very positive impact on the rate of openness. But be careful: we must not forget that we must also inform, describe (see above). Knowing how to give clear and simple information while playing on the poetic function of language is the goal. Objective sometimes difficult to reach … If you are not poet in the soul, caution. However, Better a simple and descriptive message without poetry than an incomprehensible poetic message … In marketing, meaning and information must take precedence over aesthetics. Example of using the poetic function of language: “Making the sky the most beautiful place on earth” (Air France), “Sega is stronger than you” (SEGA) Taste “(Quick).
- The referential function . It is undoubtedly the primary function of language: to inform, to describe, to explain. The indicative mode is preferred in this case. Example: “It’s hot.” From an email marketing perspective, the referential function has a great advantage, that of simplicity . Example: “Shirt for summer at – 50%”. The recipient of the mail, at least, understands right away the meaning of the message. This function is very often used in email marketing, but it must, to be more powerful, be accompanied by affects and thus resort to other functions of language (poetic, expressive …).
- The expressive function . Language not only serves to disclose information, it also serves to convey emotions, wills, feelings, feelings . In the expressive function, it is to transmit an emotion, a feeling, etc. To a recipient. Example: “Wow, I love, this site is great! “, Or” This time it is decided, I put myself in the body attack “. The feeling or the emotion comes from the speaker, from the person who writes the message. From a marketing point of view, the aim is that this emotion or feeling is transmitted to the recipient, in an emotional and communicative impulse.
- The conative function . Language also has the function of enticing a person to do an action, to arouse impressions, to challenge. Needless to say, with the conative function, one is in the heart of the essence of marketing: call-to-action . In this function, you will use the second person: you or you, the indicative or the imperative. This language function is the one used when using action verbs (see above).
- The phatic function . Language also serves to ensure that the recipient is always receptive, to provoke a response on his part. This function of language is called phatic. The most typical example is the famous “alle” that is pronounced when making a phone call. Example of phatic formulas: “You follow me? “, ” you hear me ? “, ” is not it ? “, & C. This function maintains contact with the recipient and its concentration .
Each of these functions is capable of producing a particular effect on the recipient of the message. Hence the interest of defining them well, and then using them deliberately. It is by combining these different functions that you will succeed in capturing the attention of the recipient, hanging it, convincing it and making it act . Needless to say, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to combine all these functions in the same email title. You will have to make choices, depending on the nature of your target again.
The little extra: the poetic function is the most difficult to handle. Well used, it is nevertheless the function that seems the most effective on the rate of opening of mails. To meditate…
7. Test, Analyze, Retest
As we just said first there is no universal rule in email marketing and choice of title and second, your titles must be adapted to your target. An excellent method to increase the opening rate of your email campaigns and find the most effective title is to do testing . Test, analyze test results, repeat a test by modifying a parameter, sentence, punctuation, etc. Analyze the results of this new test, etc. Or test several titles sent simultaneously to several samples of your database.
This method of experimentation bears several names: A / B Testing, Split Testing, etc. These scale tests you will ultimately select the most effective way, that is to say the one that produces the best open rate. The results of these tests can also be used for future campaigns. Example: You divide your email database into four (or five, six, ten). For each sample, you send a different version. You analyze the results of the four (five, six, ten) versions, and you rely on the version (and title) that performed best for your next email campaign. Most emailing solutions offer this kind of functionality. It would be a pity to deprive yourself of it. It is also recommended to proceed by simultaneous mailings,
In general, the test method is always recommended at all levels. We were talking at the beginning of the size of the title. We said that the title should be either very short or very long. To measure the critical size beyond which to go, or below which one should not venture, the tests are very effective. The method of testing ultimately reveals the uncertain nature of science marketing in email title. There’s no quick fix, and that’s why A / B Testing or Split Testing play such an important role …
There would surely be much more to say about optimizing an email campaign title. Perhaps not enough emphasis has been placed on examples or on concrete methods to make a recipient want to open the mail (even if this is a consequence of the functions of the language). It is impossible to say everything, so vast is the subject. On the other hand, the question of the title of the mails is far from being the only one to take into account to optimize its campaigns of email marketing. These other issues are likely to be the subject of future articles.