Subject lines are incredibly powerful. That’s because they are one of the first things that subscribers look at when they receive an email and are trying to decide whether to open it. The subject line is second only to your sender name in importance, as you’d expect with a permission-based channel like email.
Marketers are clearly aware of the power of subject lines, but their efforts are often inconsistent and their results mixed. For instance, subject lines are the most A/B tested email element, according to Litmus’ 2017 State of Email Creative. But many of those tests are undermined by wrongly using open rates to determine the winner, rather than deeper metrics like conversions.
Also, some marketers believe in the power of subject lines so much that they think that:
- A misleading subject line is worth the gambit to get an open. It’s not.
- A great subject line can make up for a lack of permission. It doesn’t.
- If an email isn’t opened, it’s like you never sent it. Not true.
Despite all of the (mostly justified) power attributed to subject lines, this line of text is a hotbed of mistakes that can distract and confuse subscribers and be embarrassing for the brand. We discuss five such mistakes in this slidedeck and share numerous real-world examples.
These subject line mistakes made me cringe! Check out these real-world examples from @litmusapp >> http://bit.ly/2oH9S2q
Improve Your Email Subject Lines
Litmus’ Subject Line Checker helps you improve the performance of your emails by ensuring your subject line and preview text are optimized. One of the many features of Litmus Builder, Subject Line Checker lets you view real-time previews your envelope content in 17+ emails apps and webmail clients before sending so you can avoid potential problems.
5 EMBARRASSING SUBJECT LINE MISTAKES TO AVOID
The subject line is a make it or break it moment for marketers. You have only a few seconds to earn a subscriber’s attention. Don’t squander the moment by making a distracting error.
If you don’t have a good QA process in place, you could end up accidentally making one of these 5 embarrassing subject line mistakes…
- Not overwriting placeholder text
- Typographical errors
- Broken personalization
- Improperly inputted or unsupported emojis and special characters
- Awkward truncation
Let’s look at each of these mistakes, along with some real-life examples, and then talk about some recommendations on how to avoid them.
1. Not overwriting placeholder text
If you don’t have a good QA process set up, placeholder text can accidentally sneak through and get sent to your subscribers. For example…
2. Typographical Errors
Typos are distracting and sometimes quite embarrassing. An unnecessary space (or a lack of spaces) can also cause problems. For example…
3. Broken Personalization
When the personalization in your subject line breaks, it makes your email seem artificial and impersonal—the exact opposite of what you were going for. For example…
4. Improperly inputted or unsupported emojis and special characters
Emojis and special characters aren’t supported in every email client, and can look different even when they are supported. Also, if they’re added incorrectly, you can end up with code in your subject line. For example…
5. The awkward truncation of a subject line
Having the text of your subject line get cut off in the inbox can appear to change your message in ways that are distracting, confusing, or even super embarrassing. For example…
If any of those examples made you cringe, consider adding the following to your pre-send checklist…
- Double-check the spelling, grammar, and content of your subject line.
- Ensure your personalization is working and has default values set.
- Preview your subject lines in all the popular email clients.
The Litmus Email Creative Platform can make this quicker and easier. Our Subject Line Checker provides:
- Real-time previews of your subject lines and preview text in 15+ email apps and webmail clients
- Alerts about issues that could hurt your email’s performance, like unsupported emojis and character counts
Subject Line Checker is just one of the many features available in Litmus Builder, the code editor we designed from the ground up specifically for email development.
To discover how Subject Line Checker, Builder, and the rest of the Litmus Email Creative Platform can improve your subscriber experience…
Chad S. White was the Research Director at Litmus