269 Billion. No, it’s not the GDP of Bangladesh (although it is close). It is how many emails are sent worldwide every day. On average, a business professional receives around 125 emails a day. 

Email marketing is one of the most potent weapons in the battle to find more clients. Some researchers have attributed a 3800% ROI for email marketing. One of the most challenging aspects of email marketing comes when you realize not enough people are even opening the messages you send. What can you do to get more eyes on your emails? What differentiates emails that get read from the ones that don’t? Or, what is ideal length of an email subject line?

Improve Open Rate and Click-Through Rate

There are two terms you need to be familiar with when analyzing your email marketing performance:

Open rate is the percentage of emails you send that get opened. 

Clickthrough rate is the number of people who actually click on a link within an email. 

To give you a yardstick, those in the financial services profession achieve, on average, a 20.47% open rate and a clickthrough rate of 2.59% in their email marketing. 

So how do you improve these metrics? The most straightforward strategy for increasing your open and clickthrough rate: Using more effective email subject lines.

Around 80% to 90% of all emails are deleted immediately. Along with the email sender, the subject line plays a huge role in whether or not your email is opened or deleted. 

How to Write an Effective Email Subject Line

Here are six ways a financial advisor can write better email subject lines and achieve maximum ROI on their email marketing.

1. Make Email Subject Lines the Ideal Length

One of the first questions people have when trying to improve their email subject lines is, “How long should they be?” Marketo, a leader in online marketing, has determined the optimal length for email subject lines is 40 characters or about seven words. This is ten characters less than the average email subject line sent, meaning most people are using subject lines that are too wordy.

Email is accessed through a number of devices; desktop browsers, email aggregators, mobile phones and tablets, and even watches. It is important to realize that when you are writing an email line, it should be understandable wherever it is displayed. Also, remember that for the last three years, more email is accessed on mobile devices than on desktop computers.

2. Don’t Get Flagged as Spam

Over 69% of emails end up in the spam folder, the graveyard for emails. There are many words that filter used to identify spam emails. One major offender is numbers and symbols that look like they belong in a used car advertisement, like ‘#1’, ‘100%’, and ‘$$$’. 

Not only will these phrases trigger spam filters, but they will also communicate to savvy internet users that the email might be dubious. Using all caps in your email heading and misspelled words are also red flags for spam filters and humans alike.

3. Use Natural Language in Email Subject Lines2

The tone of your email is one of the most important ways that you can define the way you communicate with clients and prospects. One of the best ways to keep your tone natural and professional is to imagine yourself talking to a client face-to-face. How would you say what you want to say in your normal speech?

Service professionals need to walk the line between professional and conversational, but this is something you do in person every day. Putting that same tone into your email will increase your open rate and help define your online persona throughout your email campaigns. 

4. Include a Deadline in Your Email Subject Line

One of the ways humans assign value to an opportunity is how long they have to respond to an invitation. One of the most successful products in the world is McDonald’s McRib. The fact that it is only offered a few times a year increases the perceived value of the sandwich and leads to ever-increasing sales. There is even a McRib fan page on Facebook with over 7000 likes.

While your services obviously occupy a much different niche than a barbequed sandwich, the concept is still applicable. By constraining time or implying scarcity, the perceived value of your email’s subject will increase. For example, if you are hosting an event, create a greater sense of urgency by including a timeframe. Instead of “Register for our Annual Financial Markets Review Bruncheon,” consider something along the lines of “Limited Space Available for our Upcoming Event – Reply Soon.”

5. Don’t Sell Too Hard in Your Email Subject Line

There is a fine line between information and sales jargon. Email subjects that come across as a pitch are usually skipped or deleted. Instead, focusing on communicating real value without too much smoke and mirrors will have a much greater effect on your open rates.

The email marketing company MailChimp wrote in a recent post: 

“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.” 

Your email isn’t an advertisement; it’s an informative piece of content. Treat it like one. The point of a subject line is to quickly highlight what your email contains. Set your readers’ expectations and clearly explain what your email is all about.

6. Offer Value in Your Email Subject Line

Let’s face it. Everyone wants and expects something from you when you send an email. This doesn’t have to be something tangible, such as an event invite or complimentary service. It could be information, such as an article, video, blog post, or whitepaper. 

If you’re sending a monthly email campaign with educational content, mention that value in the subject line. You can do this in two ways. 

  • You can make a statement or ask a question about the topic you’re covering, such as “Is It Time to Retire the 4% Rule?” 
  • You can specifically mention what you’re providing, such as “Discover the 4% Rule Myth in My Free Whitepaper.”

Every Email is Unique

When it comes to marketing, rules are meant to be broken. While these tips have proven successful, there will always be some variation depending on your audience and contact list. Don’t stick to one method just because you read about it. Take chances, try new techniques, and discover what works best for you.

5 Subject Line Types That Work

Writing strong email subject lines is critical to every advisor’s email marketing strategy. In fact, according to Convince&Convert, 33% of people open emails based on subject lines alone, making the subject line a deciding factor in the effectiveness of your email. Here are 5 subject line types that work:

1. Niche-Focused Subject Lines

These subject lines build curiosity by focusing on a topic your audience is invested in and giving it a twist by hinting at new information. 

2. Question Subject Lines

These subject lines are effective because they get the reader to examine their own knowledge gaps while implying a solution. 

3. List Subject Lines

Subject lines that imply the use of data or the organization of it often receive positive responses because they set specific expectations.

4. Expert Advice Subject Lines

Clients and prospects turn to you for your expertise. These subject lines are used to prove that there’s a reason someone would turn to you for advice. 

5. Personalized Subject Lines

Personalization is the key to effective advisor marketing, but not everything needs to be business related. Make some of your subject lines more lighthearted and client-focused. 

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