Subject Line Testing Tips

Want to know how to write great subject lines? It all boils down to one thing: testing! Here are five things to keep in mind when it comes time to test your subject lines. 

Subject Line Testing: 5 Things To Keep In Mind

Extremely recently, we’ve talked some about A/B testing and the wonders it’ll do for your email marketing program.

A/B testing is also known as split testing. It’s used to compare two different versions of a web page to see which one performs better. 

And while you can do A/B testing for a boatload of creative and design concepts with your emails, let’s focus more on perhaps the most important part of the email: the subject line.

Why is this at the top of the list?

Because it’s the first thing your subscribers will see.

Since the subject line is the first thing your subscribers see it has to be something that grabs their attention, right from the get-go. You want them hooked, wanting to know more, immediately. 

And if the subject line doesn’t tickle their fancy right off the bat, you’re already treading in perilous waters.

The kind with sharks or piranhas (the James Cameron kind).

5. Use Action-Oriented Vernacular

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, may she ever rest in peace, once advised that you “check your vernacular” (after which she’d get back to ya, but we’re just focusing on the “vernacular” part).

If your email is for some sort of sale or product launch or anything that involves a transaction of cool, cool dollars — try using subject lines that create a sense of urgency for what you’re selling.

Notice the trigger words we used here. We told you what you were getting, the rarity of it, and that it doesn’t last long.

This formula can be mixed and matched and moved around to serve whatever you’re selling.

There’s just one thing wrong with it. (Okay — there are a ton of things wrong with it, but let’s not stop the ball once it’s rolling.)

This is a great example of telling the person exactly what they are getting and how long they will be able to get it, however, it’s way too long and too convoluted to really understand. 

4. Shorter Is Better

You can only have so many characters in your subject line and, even then, it’s silly to feel like you need to use the entire space.

In fact, we advise against doing so.

Because we live in an age where information hits us faster than even ludicrous speed, it’s important to grab your subscribers’ attention immediately and in a concise fashion.

Remember, you want to grab your reader’s attention — and grab it quickly! You don’t want them to have to think about what you might mean, they need to understand you from the start. 

So while the above cry was very descriptive, it was far too long.

So take some time when it comes to writing your subject lines. We advise keeping a 50 character limit. Rewrite and edit and cut until you feel comfortable with the length and copy.

And remember: We’re testing here, so come up with multiple variations or even completely different lines. The goal is to find the one that gets your subscribers to open what you’re sending.

Read more here — Subject Line Testing: 5 Things To Keep In Mind

What kind of A/B testing do you do on your site? Do you test your subject lines? If so, what are some examples of the best subject lines you’ve used in the past? Leave a comment below to share your answer!

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