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By Eric Quanstrom #emailmarketing October 25, 2016

Subject lines are one of those things you tend to write after the body of the email is completed. Business to Business lead generation emails should be some of the most carefully crafted and tested writing used in your business (outside of contracts.)

The subject line of those emails are unlike any other email you write and more akin to to the title of an advertisement. It needs to grab attention and compel the recipient to open the email. An enormous task for a few words since ⅓ of people open emails based on the subject line alone.

We strongly recommend A/B testing your subject lines and see which get opened and answered more frequently. Test everything to judge what best works for your target prospects.

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How Many Words Should You Use in Your Subject Line?

Depending on who you ask, most people recommend less than 5-7. Enough to convey the hook but few enough that the subject line is not cut off when checking email on a smartphone. Some industries found that open rates increase when fewer than 3 words are used.

What Words Work Best?

Much of what is true in advertising is true in B2B lead generation. The word “free” tends to increase open rates. After all, who doesn’t want free stuff? Other old school advertising favorites, “alert” and “breaking” also perform well. This depends on your audience. In the United States, for example, people love new things. An email announcing something new draws attention. In places where people are more comfortable with what’s tried and true, these words perform less well.

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What Words Should be Avoided?

Avoid “quick.” It has been showing a decrease in open rates over the last several years. Maybe it’s a result of overuse in sales situations promising quick solutions or a quick moment of your time. To many of your potential prospects, it announces an incoming sales pitch.

Any other ideas?

Urgency and exclusivity are long tested sales tools. Convey either of those in your subject line and you’ll get a bump in open rates. Another idea that surprised us was the lack of subject line got an increased open rate. Definitely worth a try.

Should I Personalize My Subject Line?

Yes. Absolutely. Every time you can. The stronger you can relate your lead generation email to your target prospect’s specific interests or area of work, the better open and response rates are. Ideally, you would have background research on every potential prospect you reached out to, but that gets time consuming fast. Personalize your subject line as much as you can and you’ll see the effort pay off in the response rates.

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