Email subject lines are ridiculously important, like stupidly so. They not only have a massive impact on the open rate of your email, but also make readers more or less likely to click on links within the email itself. They frame people’s entire perspective and so the difference between a good and great email subject line is huge.
If you’ve ever had to deal with church members seemingly stating that they “didn’t know” about an event, even though you emailed them multiple times. It’s probably because your subject lines missed the mark.
Learning a few basic principles can quickly help you get your email subject lines up to good, even if truly fantastic stay out of your grasp. So here are 10 email subject line tips for churches.
1. Do a Brain Dump
This tip will be informed by other tips but you shouldn’t just come up with one subject line. Aim to come up with at least five and even more preferably. These can be similar or completely different types.
I often find that the first idea isn’t great, but by the fifth, there is a clear winner. Sometimes it is the first and it’s easier to tell it’s good in comparison with the others.
2. Always Be Testing
Always try a different variation if you can. With a tool like MailChimp or another mass emailing service, you can A/B test different options.
This means you get to try two different options and see which more people respond to. You can then keep a list of subject lines that were more effective and draw some conclusions from that.
3. Get More Personal with Merge Tags
Again, if you are using a tool like MailChimp, you can use merge tags. These allow you to personalize information to a specific reader. So you could insert their name to catch their attention.
Just be careful, if you don’t have that data you’ll have a stock default replacement (like their first name) and that can ruin the effect.
Make sure the replacement works in the sentence too.
4. Be Descriptive
Often it’s good to clearly explain what’s in the email. That way even if someone gets a notification, they know what the email is about. I find this particularly important for internal emails where I want my subject line to clearly explain my question or inquiry.
5. Stoke Curiosity
On the other hand, sometimes it’s impossible to explain everything in the subject line or you need the reader to open the email. Using the opposite effect can work really well. For example, not finishing a sentence “Our next meeting will…”
6. Don’t Clickbait
At the same time email relationships are long term and if you use “clickbait techniques” (that is where you promise something amazing and deliver little) then people will get tired and tune you out. A little hype isn’t bad, but too much quickly grows old.
7. Think How You’d Message a Friend
Email subject lines aren’t headlines of blog posts or news articles. Often they should be more like how you speak to a friend. This means they are more conversational and asking for a reply.
This makes us pay more attention as we expect we should do something and FOMO kicks in. (Again this isn’t right for every situation or brand but is worth using for some of your brain dump ideas).
8. Start with an Important Word or Phrase
Using an action word or attention-grabbing word at the start of your email can really stop people scrolling dead in their tracks. Things like
- This Weekend
- Response required
- Join us
- Brand New
9. Keep It Short
Short and to the point generally works well with subject lines. Especially if people are viewing them more on their mobile phones as they tend to cut off more of the subject line. So short (in general) is better.
10. Steal Ideas from Subject Line Templates
A final idea is to look at some subject line template online and try and rewrite them for your church. You do need to be careful as some may be off brand. Still, you may come up with a way to adapt them to be on brand.
In general be critical, just because they are from a business blog online, doesn’t mean they are right for your church.
Any Other Tips?
Well there you have it, 10 (sometimes contradictory) email subject line tips. Most of them come back to the first two in that if you think up many different options and test a few, you may surprise yourself.