Written by James Charles
Learn how to craft great subject lines which break through the noise of a member’s busy inbox and show them why they should open your email.
While research shows there is no substitute for a good face-to-face chat with a member on the gym floor, email offers a great, and convenient, way to engage with your members (especially those who do not frequently visit your club).
But how do you break through the noise, the tens, potentially hundreds, of other emails your members receive each day from the other businesses they associate with? How do you get them to open yours?
With email previews in web-based inboxes, like Hotmail and Gmail, and mobile apps you have just 2 lines of text to show a member the value of opening your email.
- The Subject Line
- The Complimentary First Line of the Email
This makes these two elements arguably the most important of all the aspects which make up your email.
When writing the subject line, think of what emails you would open if you were a member. What is the key reason you are sending the email and why would your member need to read it? This is not the time to be coy. Short and to the point works best. “New BodyPump Classes”, “Friends and Family Night Event” etc. You get the point.
Here are some top tips to consider when writing your next email subject line:
- Firstly… Write it last! – It may well feel a bit counterintuitive, but until you have decided exactly what you want to share with your members and have written the email, you won’t be able to write a good subject line.
- Keep it short and snappy – Email program, MailChimp recommends no more than 50 characters.
- Ask a question – not something to use every time you email your members, but asking a question (e.g. ‘Are You Making the Most of Our Facilities?’) can be a good way of engaging with the reader (WordStream, a social media and search engine marketing software provider).
- Tell them why they should read your email – as already mentioned, your members receive many, many emails each day. Why should they read yours? How will it improve their experience of being a member of your club?
- Use numbers – again another one not to overuse, and of course only where relevant, is numbers. They are “visually jarring” and therefore stand out in what is otherwise a sea of text (WordStream).
- Avoid words such as lose, deal and trial; they are likely to get caught up in spam filters which will mean your email ends up in a member’s junk folder (HubSpot, an online marketing software provider). And DON’T WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS (digital business resource, events and training company, Econsultancy), nobody likes being shouted at!
First Line of the Email
The second important item that will help get your members to open your email is the first line of text. It sits alongside, or more commonly just below, your subject line in most email previews.
This text should:
- Be right at the top of the email – A member’s email system will pull the first piece of text it reads into the preview, so you need to make sure you write what you want to display in the very top left corner of your HTML email template. Write it in a small font; it’s not the main title. It should act as a summary of the overall offer you are communicating (Litmus, a popular email inbox preview tool). The example below is taken from our monthly newsletter, here ‘The Latest News, Views and Updates From TRP.” will be pulled through as the preview text.
- Compliment, but not mirror, your subject line (Litmus) – build on what your subject line shows your members. Make the most of the opportunity to add a little more detail.
- Be concise and to the point – just like your subject line, there will be a character limit. This varies based on which email system your recipient is using but tends to be around 40 – 60 characters (Litmus).
You’ll want to test everything before you send your email campaign to your mailing list. Send a copy of the email to yourself and look at it on your mobile, in Outlook and Gmail. Email is not an exact science, so experiment with different ideas and see what works best for your members.