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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2016-06-08

What’s your email action plan? When it comes to crafting email campaign messages, I’m a firm believer in thinking things through before ever putting “pen to paper.” As a B2B marketer, your plan should include warming up your IP address, ensuring email delivery, and understanding your target customer types. But once these essential pre-campaign tasks have been completed and you have begun to develop your message, the very first thing to consider is the email subject line.


I’ve covered the importance of email subject lines previously, and it’s a topic that has generated a lot of interest from our readers and clients. After all, if this critical element of the message is ignored or mishandled, everything else about your message content becomes irrelevant -- it will likely not get opened, read or even delivered in the first place. That’s why the subject of subject lines is one that should be revisited and reviewed on a regular basis.


Here are seven more email subject line tips for B2B marketers:


  1. Give them a reason: Remember, in email marketing, the subject line should not merely be a description or summary of the forthcoming email message. Instead, it should simply and very succinctly pique interest and provide a reason for the recipient to open the message.


  1. Customize them: Including the recipient’s name or company, or even city name (e.g. “Susan: Live XYZ Demonstration Coming to Dallas”), has been proven to drive increases in email open rates. The more specific – and less generic – you can get with these the better. Many email delivery platforms can help automate the administration of this for the subject line and email body copy as well.


  1. Mix it up: If you’ve found a subject line that seems to be working well, don’t think you can use it forever and get the same results. Some marketers may use the same subject line for repeated content (e.g. newsletters). But while these messages may start with high open rates, they will inevitably decrease over time. To remain fresh, marketers must switch up their subject lines to maintain interest. In the case of newsletters, tease them with a nugget of what they can learn from the latest issue.


  1. Avoid ‘spammy’ words: Anyone between the ages of 10 and 80 nowadays seems able to instantly spot the words that trigger spam filters – either the ones automated by email platforms or the ones embedded in our brains. Such words include “buy now” or “free offer,” and are often accentuated with ALL CAPS or multiple exclamation points!!! B2B marketers today must provide more substance – and be more clever – than that.


  1. Have you tried a question? In the interest of standing apart from the crowd, why not pose a stimulating question in your email subject line -- something that you know is on the mind of, or is a challenge for your audience? If on the mark, the question may inspire readers to open your email to find the answer.


  1. Make it a numbers game: People love lists and “top tens,” as they offer an easier read, an organized way of prioritizing the best, most relevant content, and help to make sense of complicated subjects. Promise a list in your email subject line (e.g. “Top 5 Proven Tips for Storing Data in the Cloud”), and you’ll likely attract those who are fans of learning in this way.


  1. Test early and often: To find the most effective subject lines it is important to perform ongoing testing. Although there are myriad studies intended to determine the “ideal” subject line message and length, there are no magic bullets. As a best practice, marketers should frequently test their subject lines (and other email aspects – including calls to action and the overall messages) to discover the best one for their market. (See my blog post on email testing.)


The bottom line is, with subject lines, you must pique your audience’s interest to get them to open your message. By making an art and a science out of this crucial element of email marketing, you will not only ensure that your campaigns stand out from the crowd, but also that they deliver more opens, reads and clicks.




Email marketing can be a key driver for business growth. If you need to expand your email list to engage more effectively with your ideal prospects and, ultimately, drive more leads for your business, consider giving Outward Media a try. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful email marketing database.


Image copyright: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo

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