News Flash! Good Subject Lines Drive Conversions

Posted by Jen Ribble on

Hopefully this isn’t really news. (It isn’t, right?) In a world where every inbox suffers from email overload and every brand is fighting for subscribers’ precious time, we know that most people spend just a fraction of a second deciding whether to open, ignore, or delete a given message. A well-crafted subject line can grab readers’ attention and entice them to engage with your message rather than moving on.

Perhaps the most widely accepted benefit of a strong subject line is the ability to influence conversion rates. The reason is fairly obvious—no matter how compelling your copy or how brilliant your design, it won’t be seen unless the subject line entices subscribers to engage.

But a good subject line can actually do more than just affect the instantaneous decision to open, ignore, or delete.

Continued visibility
Bank statements, receipts, personal correspondence, promotions—everything flows into our inboxes. In a recent study by Pew Research Center, email was listed as the most widely used smartphone feature. With the amount of time people spend looking at their mailboxes, having your content in the inbox leaves an impression.

And unlike a fleeting Facebook ad, TV commercial, or billboard, your email will remain in the inbox—visible to your subscriber—until they take action. Subject lines that aren’t initially engaged with function like display ads. Their continued presence in the inbox grants visibility and provides a reminder of your brand—and your offer. A strong subject line increases the probability that subscribers will act on your message, either now or later.

Influence on offline purchases
Subject lines have the power to drive conversions even when your subscriber steps away from their inbox. A clear, compelling, and memorable offer in the subject line is likely to stick with the reader and may be recalled later in the “physical world,” leading to a point-of-sale purchase—whether or not the original email was opened!

Of course these conversions are much more difficult to track and attribute to your email campaign, but they definitely highlight the importance of making sure your emails land in the inbox.

With all this power, a subject line should clearly be more than just the last item on your email campaign checklist. Want to find out more about the unique influence of email subject lines, and how to create subject lines that convert? Check out The Art and Science of Effective Subject Lines.


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About Jen Ribble

With more than 15 years of marketing and PR experience, Jen Ribble is passionate about the art of storytelling and the science of creating high quality, data-driven content. In her current role as Director of Public Relations for Return Path, Jen is responsible for elevating the company’s reputation in the marketplace, crafting engaging thought leadership content, enhancing customer relationships, and driving inbound leads. In her spare time, Jen is an aspiring chef and food lover, a movie fan, and a travel junkie.

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