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7 Subject Line Mistakes That Can Kill Your Email List

The subject line is typically the first thing a recipient sees when they receive your emails. Nail it, and people will open the email to absorb the content; screw it up, and it’s straight to the trash bin for your marketing efforts.

If you aren’t converting on your email marketing efforts, avoid the following subject line mistakes that may be killing your email list.

1. SPAM words

Whether you’re really selling cheap medication or not, using those terms in your subject line will immediately ruin any chance of your email getting read. Check out the SPAM folder of your email account and look at the subject lines that repeatedly show up and make a note to avoid the most common words.

Also, avoid using all caps and never use the word ‘free’ unless you’re intentionally aspiring to violate the SPAM ACT.

2. Length

Any email subject that cuts off in the mailbox is likely to not be read. It looks unprofessional, which often indicates that it is spam. Also, make sure to make your point within the allotted space.

Keep in mind that Yahoo and Hotmail will only show 40 characters. A Blackberry shows even less. Consider these limitations when creating your subject lines.

3. No call to action

Do not take the risk of having your email passed over because the intent is too ambiguous. Create a sense of urgency with your email subject. Most email services today make it easy to include links and call to actions in your email campaigns. 

A general, ‘hey this is neat’ type of email subject isn’t a good enough hook. People will likely ignore it. Use an email subject that compels your readers to act.

4. Spelling and grammar

Spelling and grammar mistakes are easy to avoid and yet, extremely detrimental if you don’t.

A misspelled subject line is likely to be ignored. Spelling mistakes in a subject line sends the message that your business doesn’t care about its public image and in turn, reflects poorly on the quality of your products and services.

5. Punctuation

Your audience is not going to rush to open your marketing emails just because there are seventeen exclamation marks. In fact, this will significantly decrease the likelihood that your content will be read.

In most cases, email clients will send emails with subject lines like this to the SPAM folder. Do not make the assumption that your audience is uneducated. Create subject lines that are genuinely of interest to your email list subscribers.

6. Just branding

There is nothing wrong with adding your brand name into the subject line, but do not rely on it as your only strategy to entice recipients. It will not be enough to make them open your email.

If your subject is the same from email to email, the recipient will quickly lose interest and your brand name will not always be enough to make them open your message. Instead, create your subject around something new or timely, like your top story or best offer.

7. No links

The worst possible subject lines have no connection with the content in the email. For example, if you send an email with a subject line that reads ‘general marketing tips’, then make certain that there are marketing tips in the email instead of a sales pitch!

Your clients will not take kindly to misleading subject lines, even if they happen by mistake. For all they know, clients may misperceive that such an email is from a company that is intentionally trying to trick them, which quickly lodges spam complaints against your business.

A good email subject line should have a hook with an element of relevancy, and a brief description of the content in the email. Smartly craft the subject lines for your email messages to stand out from the rest.

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