The Importance of Powerful Subject Lines

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Recently, I was reading a blog by marketing automation company Marketo and thought the content was important enough to pass on to our loyal advisors to help with email marketing success.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

These are sayings we’ve all heard a million times. If you’re lucky, you get a second chance, and sometimes that dingy book becomes your most prized possession.

According to Convince and Convert, 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject matter alone! Whether the next email you blast out to your clients and prospects is your first or your fiftieth, if the subject line isn’t catchy, it’s likely to be scrolled over or cause the recipient to unsubscribe from your emails permanently. That means they’ve judged you without reading your content, ultimately taking away the opportunity to redeem yourself with amazing content. So make your subject line count!

How do you break through the clutter? Below are some tips that I learned from the Marketo blog: “You’ve Got Mail: 5 Things Your Subject Lines Are Missing.”

1. Put the Important Words Up Front

What makes your email more important than every other email in the recipient’s inbox? If applicable to your email, put action words at the beginning. Every loyalty program and credit card company out there is a pro at this. Front-loading keywords can increase your open rates by up to 20%.

           “Earn 100 rewards points when you buy…”

           “Earn 20K Bonus Miles…”

2. Ask Questions

People like authenticity. If you show your clients and prospects that you are genuinely interested in their lives, they’ll be more likely to open your emails, give you business, or throw a referral or two your way. Consider phrasing your subject lines as questions to engage your readers. A genuine subject line like the one below can not only increase open rates, but it also has the potential to drive visitors to your radio show, website, etc.

“Need advice on when to take out your RMDs? Tune in to my radio show on WABC tonight at 6 p.m.”

 3. Be the Numbers Guy/Gal That You Are

It’s proven that people like lists and numbers. Numbers help people break things down into manageable chunks and can sometimes also help create a sense of urgency.

“6.24% Compounding Growth…”

4. Personalize

Grab the recipient’s attention by addressing them in the subject line. A study done by Experian says that emails with personalized subject lines have a 29% higher likelihood of being opened than those that are not personalized. Most brands don’t personalize their emails; take this FREE opportunity to make your brand stand out!

5. Get Creative

It’s not always easy to be creative in this industry, but if the opportunity presents itself, take it. Rhymes, alliteration, puns, music lyrics — use them! A subject line that is witty and clever will get a higher open rate than an email that goes out without a subject line (a big no-no!) or one that is run-of-the-mill and along the lines of “Hello.”

Next time you send out an email blast, remember these 5 tips and take note of your open rates; you should see an increase in opens and hopefully an increase in traffic to your office, too.

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Stephen Odom, CEO of The Impact Partnership


Chief Executive Officer

Stephen started in the insurance marketing business in 2001 as a new business consultant. In 2002 he was promoted to Director of Sales and built a 200 million book of business from scratch. By 2005, he was one of the top wholesalers in the country, working with some of the top financial advisors and insurance agents across the USA. In 2008, Stephen was promoted to Co-President of one of the largest IMOs in the country.

In 2011, Stephen continued his entrepreneurship path and co-founded The Impact Partnership, an INC 5000 company. Stephen is responsible for the strategic vision of Impact and is laser-focused on creating a culture of growth for both internal teammates and our amazing customers.

Stephen lives in Kennesaw, GA, with his wife of more than 20 years, Kendra. They are blessed with three beautiful children Katie, Tyler, Anna Brooke, and Laya, their German Shepherd and Luna, their BernieDoodle.