It may be the most effective approach
Nobody wants to miss out: Adding a sense of urgency to your subject lines is one of the best ways to get recipients to read your email.
Or so conclude four organizations that study the science of getting your emails opened, clicked and read.
1. Urgency No. 1.
Urgency headed the list of the most effective subject lines approaches in a study by Return Path, a global data and marketing firm. Return Path analyzed 9 million subject lines sent to 2 million subscribers.
Still time was the best performing phrase in the Return Path study. It got the email read an average of 34% of the time and scored a keyword influence on read rate of 15.54.
But not all “urgent” words and phrases fared so well:
Some kinds of urgency are better than others
|Top keywords in urgent subject lines||Average read rate for subject lines containing this keyword||Keyword influence on read rate|
2. Avoid daily urgent emergencies.
Highlighting a sense of urgency can drive people to act, says Phrasee, a London firm that uses artificial intelligence to optimize subject lines.
Phrases like sale starts, back in stock and sale now can increase opens, click-throughs and click to open rates.
But pushing deadlines and time limits can also get old fast. Some products seem to be perpetually on a limited-time sale. Readers become numb to those repeated urgent offers.
Bottom line: Find words that create a sense of urgency, but that aren’t boring.
3. I love you, Tomorrow.
Tomorrow increased open rates by 10%, found HubSpot in a survey of 6 million emails. But quick did not affect opens.
And subject lines including tomorrow outperformed those including a day of the week by 31%, according to Worldata Research.
Choose concrete numbers and times: Pay last year’s fees for next year’s workshops: Book by 12/31.
4. Be creative.
Don’t just pick the words on Return Path’s list. I loved a subject line from Carol Tuttle that said This. Is. It. Final day for DYT jewelry!
5. Urgent sells.
The words urgent, breaking, important and alert increase open rates, according to an analysis by Mail Chimp. The king of mass emailers studied 24 billion emails with subject lines composed of 22,000 distinct words.
Create a sense of urgency.
Bottom line: Words stressing time prod people to open emails.
- Use words that imply urgency: urgent, breaking, important, alert, tomorrow, now.
- Add deadlines, cutoff dates and other timely detailsthat move people to act now. These techniques can nudge your readers to open your email message today instead of leaving it languishing in the inbox.
- Choose concrete numbers and times: Pay last year’s fees for next year’s workshops: Book by 12/31.
Remember, though, your email really needs to be urgent. Don’t oversell. If you say this is the last time, it had better really be the last time.
“The Art and Science of Effective Subject Lines,” Return Path, Apr. 2015
“Email subject lines that sell,” Phrasee, Apr. 2015