How to Use Subject Lines to Get Into Members’ Inboxes

Spam Series

More than 85 percent of the world’s email is spam, according to a June 2018 report from CISCO. That number is one of the drivers behind the reason spam filters continue to get better, faster and stronger. We’d all drown in email otherwise.

What do you know about your email campaigns and the percent that aren’t making it to your members’ inboxes? If they’re not being delivered, or if your members and prospects perceive them as SPAM and send them to their Junk folders, they’re out of the loop on the very things they joined your organization for – networking, education, advocacy. 

We’ve been talking about SPAM for years, but in the next several months we’ll be sharing tips and ideas for ensuring your emails get delivered properly. Here, we’ll discuss how to use your subject lines to keep your emails out of your members’ SPAM folders.

Your emails could be seen as SPAM if your subject line:

  • Is in ALL CAPS or uses exclamation points. Thisis the equivalent of shouting at your reader, and SPAM filters don’t like shouting.
  • Contains the word “free” or other trigger words. There are words and expressions that cause your email to go right to SPAM. In addition to “free,” there’s “this isn’t spam,” and “no obligation.” Prospect.io has an exhaustive list of words you should avoid.  
  • Contains spelling mistakes or is blank. You should be double and triple checking your emails before they go out. Misspellings, in addition to sending you to SPAM, take away from your credibility.  
  • Could be considered deceptive.Subject lines that misrepresent emails can irritate your prospects and even your members and drive them to flag you as SPAM. Some senders, for example add “Re:” or “Fw:” to make readers think their email is part of a conversation they’re already part of, when in fact, they’re not.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

To get your emails delivered correctly, consider the following subject line tweaks:

  • Keep them short and sweet. If your subject lines are too long, they get cut off, so even if your email lands in an inbox and not in SPAM, your reader may not be able to see the whole subject line, especially if they open it on a mobile device (67% of email is opened on a mobile device). Try to keep your subject lines to fewer than 50 characters.
  • Personalize them, even without using their name.What easier way to make your customer feel important than by including their name in your message? Or if you’re not comfortable using their name, use “you” or “your.”
  • Telling them what's inside. Recipients won’t open an email and it may end up in SPAM if they don’t believe they’ll benefit from opening it. Whether you’re talking about a meeting or education event, or an ebook that they can download, make sure the reader knows what’s inside. 

In 2015, only 79 percent of permissioned email marketing messages reached consumers’ inboxes. The rest were delivered to spam folders or not at all. Try applying some of these tips, and others we’ll share in future posts, to keep your emails going where they need to.

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