Depending on your preference, when creating an email campaign or writing a one-to-one email, writing the subject line is likely the very first thing you do or the last thing you do based on the content of the email. Which makes sense. But you must always take the subject line into heavy consideration.

There are multiple reasons why the email subject line is one of the most important things to consider. One main reason is that you want to have subject lines that are captivating and spark curiosity in your prospect to entice them to open your message. Another reason to write effective subject lines is simply so that your email can even be delivered to the intended party! If you are just writing without carefully considering the content going into the subject lines, you could be wasting energy and time, because today’s advanced email servers have spam filters that could be sending your emails to the prospect’s spambox.

Sending an email is like trying to send goods into another country. Your email will have to pass through “customs” and if it sets off a red flag for a server’s spam filter, it will not make it to its destination. But don’t worry! Learning how to write effective subject lines will not only help keep you out of a prospects spambox, it will help you capture your target audience’s attention and increase open rates, exposing them to the content you intended them to see. In this article, you will learn how to write great subject lines and make sure they are being delivered to your prospects’ inbox.

1. Keep it short and to the point

Although it may seem as if you need to have a minor in psychology to figure out how to write catchy subject lines, it really is not that complicated. In fact, keeping it simple is one of the catchiest characteristics of an email subject line. The sweet spot for characters in a subject line is no more than 20 characters. Much longer than that and your email subject line may not even be getting read all the way. Especially when someone is receiving the email notification on their mobile device.

An example of how you don’t want to write a subject line would be:

“Get your FREE E-book by the end of this week! Don’t miss out, ACT NOW!”.

An example of a more appealing subject line would be:  

“Get an e-book at no cost by 6/5 ”

The first example is going straight to spam, there are too many red flags. The word “FREE”, the CAPS and all the punctuation points. We will talk more about that later in this article. The second example is much more appealing and concise than the first one. The first one almost makes it seem like you are trying to be convincing, opposed to the second one that is making a generous offer for a limited amount of time.

2. Evoke a sense of importance and urgency

For the purposes of marketing specifically to prospects in need of an MSPs services, you may be creating subject lines that communicate a sense of urgency. In the IT Industry, we do not have to work hard to get this reaction. The need to have and maintain all the tech required to run an efficient business today takes care of sparking that flame for us. Often we just have to bring awareness to prospects. For example, just reading “Cyberattack” can already create a sense of urgency. Use this to your advantage.

Where you really have to be careful is making sure you are not ending up in the spambox just because of the context that sometimes comes hand-in-hand with trying to communicate an urgent matter. It can be easy to put exclamation points and questions marks in the subject line, because your intent really is to get something important across. Such as “Windows 7 end of support coming soon! Is your business prepared?”. This is a valid point that is being made with a valid question, but this subject line will likely have your email being sent to the spambox. It is important to remember that using exclamation points and question marks is perfectly acceptable. You can use both, just not in the same subject line and not too many of them. A more effective way of creating the same sense of urgency and communicating the same thing would be “Are you prepared for Windows 7 end of support?”.

3. Be personable and transparent

Being personable will require you to do your homework on your prospects. Having knowledge on how a company works and about the people within is one of your greatest weapons. If you have owned an MSP and provided your services already for years now, you have likely built close relationships with your clients. You must have also figured out that genuinely caring about your clients leads to great long term business relationships and even referrals. When reaching out to prospects It is important to build a trusting bond with them right away. You will be closely dealing with the employees at their business and they would be trusting you to make all their technology run smooth so they can run their business.

Make sure they know that you are there to make life easier for them, not to close sales. Visit their website, find out how many employees they have and anything else you can find out before reaching out. Use the prospects name or the name of the company in the subject line to add an extra touch of personalization. Remember that if this is the first time you are reaching out to a prospect or even if you are reaching out for the fifth time, it doesn’t matter. You can come across as a real person offering a solution or a spambot depending on the content you use.

It is also important to even consider the email you are sending from, since that is one of the first things looked at. Use an email that contains a name such as “andrew@mspcompany.com” rather than “sales@mspcompany.com”. This comes across much more personable. NEVER use “noreply@mspcompany.com”. You are literally rejecting communication with a prospect with the email address alone. Let them know exactly who the email is coming from and concisely communicate what the email contains.

4. A/B Test

Now that you have some core ingredients to write subject lines, you might find yourself coming up with all sorts of great content. Sometimes you may even have more than one subject line for a certain email that you feel may be effective. This is a good problem to have, and there are simple ways to test which subject line will be the most effective. That is where A/B testing comes in.

A/B testing is most valuable when sending out mass emails. Say you have 5,000 contacts you are about to send out an email campaign to. Out of these 5,000 contacts, the A/B test would go out to 200 recipients (can be more or less) and 100 recipients will get an email with subject line A and the other 100 will get an email with subject line B. You will then be able to track whether A or B was most effective and use that subject line to send to the other 4,800 recipients. An A/B test is not required, but it is recommended when sending out mass emails.