I’ve heard it said a many times ’email marketing is dead, social media is where it is at.’ You may have experienced it yourself. When you’ve sent out an email to your list and the open rates are in the basement and are way too low. So low in-fact that you asked yourself why you should bother at all.

Today I want to share with you seven useful tips that will help your open rates go off the charts. They are so simple, yet so powerful and will help your audience engage with you and open your email, rather than hit the delete button.

What specific area of your email marketing do I think can make all the difference to your open rates? It’s your subject line.

I call the subject line ‘the headline’ because in essence that is what the subject line is. Do you wonder why newspapers hire sub-editors? It’s because they know how to craft a good headline so that you will buy their newspaper instead of the competition sitting right next to it. For most of us now its when we are on our device scanning the newspapers and we are always more likely to open a new page because a well crafted headline than a boring and dull one.

1. Promise them something really good

If you can create desire and interest then you will increase your open rates. There is a sweet spot where you can build expectation and interest without over-promising. No one likes hyperbole. If this happens then most of us have trained ourselves to do the complete opposite and hit the delete button.

2. Create curiosity

Creating desire is one thing, but don’t give away the whole story in the headline. We are by nature curious and when our desire is intersected by curiosity we will open the email.

3. Use powerful words

Emotive and sensory words pull people in. All good storytellers know that we connect through emotion and senses. You will find most subject lines dry, dull and mind-numbingly boring.

4. Use numbers

Sometimes using numbers can actually make people feel like you are offering them something really valuable. For church world this may be used a bit more sparingly, but there is power in using numbers in the headline where appropriate.

5. Don’t be too clever

Writing the perfect subject line can be like walking a type-rope. It’s a very fine line and you can crash and burn by being too clever. If you want to be clever test it out on someone who can be honest with you and give you feedback.

6. Experiment

I have failed and succeeded in my email marketing, I’ve discovered that you only get to succeed by experimenting. If you are going to fail, fail forward! You have to find out what is scratching your audiences itch enough and that can only happen through experimentation. Trying something different can actually be refreshing for your audience. They like getting out of the rut just as much as you do.

7. Learn from others

And I don’t just mean from other churches. There are so many very good email marketing blogs out there. Here is a very insightful blog post I recommend ‘The Three Key Elements of Irresistible Email Subject Lines‘ (yes, the same applies to blog post headlines too. See the use of power words and how they create curiosity in the headline?)

Your turn

What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Got questions or queries? Comments below.