We like data. A lot. Sometimes, we’ll pull some data just out of curiosity. A little while ago, someone around FB HQ wanted to see the top 50 subject lines of the past year (based on open rates). While there wasn’t one clear winning subject line to solve all of your open rate woes, we did spot a few patterns and put together this list of simple guidelines for crafting better subject lines.
1. Keep it short-ish
None of the subject lines in our top 50 had over 15 words. Even more noticeable is that most of them had around 6 or 7. Keeping subject lines short makes sure that fans see the entire subject line in their inbox and, depending on their email provider, see a preview of the email as well.
2. Keep it simple
While fun and witty subject lines might seem like a good idea, fans are most likely to open emails that clearly state what they’re getting. 47/50 of our top subject lines were straightforward and lacked any ambiguity. The other three? They were all asking for “help” or “a favor”. Who could say no to that?
3. Offer something*
This might sound like advice for better newsletter content, but it directly relates to tip #2. Your fans joined your list because they wanted to receive some kind of correspondence from you, but they’re also prioritizing what they open based on what they get from opening your email versus that email offering the coupon for a free sandwich. Our top performing subject lines had clear messages that offered something of value to the fan. This doesn’t mean you need to give away a free gift or coupon with every message. Just stating that there’s new merch in the store or an on-sale date helped out open rates.
*This doesn’t mean that writing “spammy” subject lines is a good idea. Check out our tips for avoiding the junk folder.
Which of your subject lines get the best open rates? What doesn’t work? Share your own tips with us!