Marketers spend a lot of time and energy producing engaging and informative content. Moreover, they put a lot of effort in creating great subject lines and captivating calls-to-action as they are vital elements determining your email engagement and its overall success. Here’s how you can nail your subject lines and calls-to-action.

Win Them Over with Your Subject Line

The subject line is most likely the first thing your email recipients will see – and sometimes, the only thing. Our Digital Marketing Survey (DMS) has shown that on average 68% of professional investors receive up to ten emails a day from various asset managers.  About a third of respondents get even more mail.  It means that there is a lot of competition for attention and plenty of cluttered inboxes.

That is why it is important to make sure your subject lines are working:  they should engage and captivate your subscribers. You want to catch your reader’s attention; you want them to open your emails and start their digital journey to your desired outcome – it may be the content you have written or any overall goal you have set.

#1 – Avoid Misleading Subject Lines and Spam Words

When you write your subject line, it is important that you stay on point. Don’t try to mislead your recipients with something that may give false expectations or leave your readers feeling cheated.  You want to build trust and have organic engagement. Remember, a well crafted subject line serves as a teaser and previews the content in the email.

Always try to use language that your email recipients understand. Use vocabulary your audience can relate to and will get their attention. Avoid spam words at all costs. Phrases such as click here, or click now, please read or investment advice will not help your emails reach your readers’ inboxes. A recent trend of adding “Re:” in the subject line as if the email is an actual reply is also a very misleading tactic. There are many words that you may occasionally use without realising they are spammy – for example, words like free, now, never, and even performance are now actually considered as spam words.

Pro Tip: Check this list to see if you are using any spam trigger words that you should avoid.

#2 – Catchy and Engaging will Get Their Attention

Catchy subject lines will stand out from the crowd. You do not necessarily have to make them sound amusing to be catchy. Try to show urgency by showing that the email is timely (if needed), promote controversy in your ideas, or be relevant using a trendy topic. Subject lines formed as questions can also receive positive engagement.

Create subject lines that feel local and personal. Test your subject lines with personalisation, for example, by adding the recipient’s name, test to see if that gets more attention.  A/B testing subject lines with different types of content can reveal great insight about your audience.

Unfortunately, companies in the financial services industry sometimes find themselves using repetitive subject lines, believing that updating a few elements, such as a date or a fund name, will continue to bring consistent results. That’s not the case.

In our Digital Market Survey, we discovered that all 100% of the US respondents want asset managers to use more interesting subject lines.  No surprise that 95% of the UK advisers want the same. Maybe it is time to start crafting more engaging subject lines?

A few examples of really effective subject lines:

  • Hi [name],  [question…]?
  • Hoping to help with […]
  • Top ideas about […]
  • Get ready for […]
  • Don’t miss […]

Pro Tip: Try using the Headline Analyzer to get tips on how to improve your subject line writing.

#3 – Keep it Short and Sweet

With the next generation of customers primarily using mobile or wearable technology, you should be prepared for your emails to be viewed on many different screen sizes and in various email apps.

Therefore, make sure your subject lines are mobile friendly – try to make them short and sweet. Many best practice advocates suggest subject lines to take no more than 50-60 characters. If you can create shorter headlines – go for it! Always test and find what suits your audience and content types.  Here are some examples:

  • We just launched […]
  • You are invited […]
  • Can we help with […]

Pro Tip: Test how your emails will look on any screen size or app with Litmus.

Create an Irresistible Call-to-Action

Your choice of call-to-action (CTA) is the gateway for your readers, allowing them to continue their digital journey to your website or landing page. In turn, your call-to-action copy hints at your marketing goal. If you want to succeed, you must display value. Follow these tips to ensure your audience will find value in your CTAs.

#1 – Clear Means Effective

Your readers need to understand what you want them to do. Good CTAs should be clear and reveal what value the email recipients will get after they click. Our research has found that 87% of advisors believe that clearer calls to action would make emails from fund groups more effective.

When you craft your CTAs, spend some time deciding on the wording. Make them short but powerful. Here are some good examples of engaging and straightforward calls-to-action:

  • See the Research
  • Watch the Video
  • Register for the Event
  • Ask a Question
  • Select a Location
  • Download the Fact Sheet
  • Read the Q&A

They all reveal the value the reader will get after clicking.  However, you need to ensure that your CTAs fulfill the expectations that they set.

#2 – Style it Out

We all want our CTAs to grab attention. Neatly coded HTML bulletproof buttons can package your call to action very nicely. Not only will they look good, but they will render much better – giving your subscribers a superior user experience. Unlike the image buttons, HTML ones will be displayed even when images are disabled, or internet connection is disrupted.

Test bigger font sizes, and make sure the font style is easy to read too. Experiment with the brand colours. We have found that the colour red is very effective when used for calls to action.  Thus, bright colours will draw the eye. Try different phrases in your buttons – copy is very important.  Testing will help you identify what works best for different database segments and content types.

#3 – Position is Key

Where you put your call-to-action is very important. About 60% of advisors typically just skim through their emails, your main call-to-action should be visible as soon as the email is opened. You want to your readers to see it straight away.

Thus, the term “above-the-fold” comes into play. It means that you should position your main CTA button near the top of the email, instead of pushing it further down or even placing it at the very end. Good CTA positioning will boost your engagement and ensure good visibility.

Continue to Optimise

Now that you have more ideas on how to create captivating subject lines and engaging calls to action, make sure you keep on testing. Your subscribers’ preferences can change. Their expectations and their needs can shift. To continue being successful, you need to know your audience – and regular testing and email optimisation will allow you to stay on top of your game.