Are you receiving Inman’s Agent Edge? Make sure you’re subscribed here.
Email marketing is a time-effective tool to help keep in contact with your clients and share relevant information with your connections. However, there is a lot of competition for readers to click and read as we all receive many emails each day demanding our attention.
One of the most important things to break through the noise and capture a reader’s attention is a great subject line. I like to think of subject lines as the trailer to a movie — if the preview is enticing enough, you will want to watch the entire feature.
Here are eight tips for writing more impactful subject lines for your email marketing.
It’s essential to capture a reader’s attention quickly as they scan their emails, and one of the best ways to grab their attention and get noticed is keeping it short and snappy.
It’s a good rule of thumb that if you can’t sum up the content of your email in 10 words or less, you might need to rethink the purpose of the email. A marketing email should have a clear purpose and goal that is communicated in the subject line.
Also, keep your subject lines concise because most people check their inboxes on their phones. Readers will miss half your subject line if it’s too long.
Include deadlines and time elements
If there is a time element or deadline associated with your message, be sure to include it in the subject line. People are often scanning full inboxes for items that need addressing immediately, and you also want to convey a sense of urgency.
For example, if you are sending an email to potential buyers and agents who toured a recent open house and you have an offer deadline, be sure to include it. “XYZ Listing — Offers Due This Wednesday” is a much stronger subject line than, “Thank You For Touring XYZ Listing.”
If you are planning on sending multiple emails regarding the same topic, be sure to space them out and update the time element so that the email highlights the urgency. For example, a follow-up email from the previous example could be, “Offers Due Tomorrow for XYZ Listing.”
Think outside the box
Although it’s essential to make sure your subject line is to the point and sums up the contents of the email in a concise way, you can have a little fun with it.
For instance, if you are sending an email to alert your contacts of an upcoming open house, a very acceptable subject line could be, “Sunday Open Home — Hollywood Hills Masterpiece.”
However, if you have sent several of these types of open house emails to duplicate contacts in previous weeks, try something new. Perhaps along the lines of, “Have You Seen This Hollywood Hills Home?” or “New To Market In Hollywood Hills — Sneak Peeks Available This Sunday.”
Asking a question in a subject line is perfectly acceptable as long as you ensure that the question will resonate with the recipient of the email.
Keep your contact list up-to-date
One of the most important aspects of email marketing is ensuring your message is being delivered to the right audience. It’s vital to make sure you accurately collect and record your data in an organized way and keep it up-to-date.
When they start receiving information that is not relevant, readers will start looking for the unsubscribe button fast. With our open house example above, you can tailor your subject line to meet the needs and wants of those on your list.
Say if the location is not the main point on a buyers checklist, but being close to an international airport is, you can easily update your subject line to, “Open Home This Sunday — Only 30 Minutes to International Airport.”
Keeping your contacts and lists updated is a time-consuming task, but it’s well worth the time and effort.
Keep it personal
Tailoring your subject lines based on the needs and wants of your audience is a great way to grab their attention and so is including their name and other relevant personal items.
For example, “Laura, This New Listing Is a Must-See.” There are plenty of email marketing programs that you can use to automate this process by following a few easy steps.
Words to use
When writing email subject lines, be sure to consider your word choice carefully. Make sure they are logical and something a person could easily search for if they want to revisit your email at a later date.
For example, if you receive an email with the subject line, “Have You Seen This Hollywood Hills Home?” a reader will easily be able to search for “Hollywood Hills” in their inbox as that element is most likely what captured their attention in the first place.
However, if your subject line is, “Have You Seen This New Three-Bedroom Listing?” it may not be as easily searchable.
Short words and alliteration always work well, as do terms relevant to the current time. For example, “Imagine Spending Summer Lounging By Your New Pool in the Hollywood Hills.” While the climate is favorable year-round in Los Angeles, pool lounging is a lot less desirable in the winter months.
Words to avoid
Some words and punctuation to steer clear when crafting your email marketing subject lines include anything too salesy or your typical promotional language. I won’t dive in too much on this topic as we have all received those salesy emails and immediately deleted them.
Anything in all caps or with many exclamation points tends to come across as more of a blast than a personal note, and people are less likely to take the time to open an email that may not have much relevance to them personally. For example, “ACT NOW!!! Hollywood Hills Home Open Tomorrow.”
Suppose you are hesitant about sending a particular subject line or want to see how your audience responds to your emails. Nothing is better than asking the advice of a client, colleague or marketing professional within your organization.
Once sent, most automated email marketing systems have a function where you can see your open rate and if they clicked on any links within that email. Being armed with this knowledge will help you adjust your email subject lines if needed.
Laura Stace serves as Vice President of Luxury Marketing for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She manages strategic alliances, creates and executes cohesive marketing campaigns, and spearheads public relations initiatives and social media strategy for the Luxury Collection.