10 Tips to Write Powerful Subject Lines [With Examples] for Online Course Creators6 minute read
The subject line is the smallest part of an email. But it might just be the most important one.
A good subject line can make the difference between your contacts opening your emails and taking action - or deleting them immediately.
You could have the best email content, but without a powerful subject line, it is useless.
According to a study, 69% of email recipients move their emails to the spam folder based only on the subject line.
If you are an online course creator, email is an important marketing strategy for you. This is where you share your new online course launches with your list and inform them about upcoming promotions.
So if you have been struggling to get your newsletter open rates to the level you want, it might be because of your subject line!
Keep reading below to find out our top tips for writing a great email subject line that will get your contacts excited to open your newsletters.
What are email subject lines and preheader text?
The subject line in an email is a short line of text that your contacts see when they receive an email or newsletter. The point of a subject line is to grab the receiver's attention, inform them about the content of your email and get them to open it.
An email preheader is another block of text that your email subscriber will see in their inbox following the subject line. The preheader text can be slightly longer than the subject line, and it should offer a preview of your content.
In most cases, you can choose whether to add a preheader text or not. If you leave it blank, your contacts will see the first few lines of your email as preheader text.
In the example below, "Heights Platform" is the sender, "Our next feature update is going to be huge!" is the subject line and "And some helpful resources for course creators" is the preheader text.
10 Tips for Powerful Subject Lines
Now that we have clarified what a subject line and preheader text are, let's see how online course creators can come up with great subject lines and increase their email open rates.
#1: Avoid Spammy Words
First of all, you need to make sure that your email actually makes it to your contacts' inbox, and doesn't get categorized as spam.
There are specific words that email software recognize as spam. To avoid ruining your deliverability and open rates, you should avoid these triggers at all costs.
Below is a list of keywords and symbols you should avoid in your subject lines to make sure that your email reaches its end destination:
- Avoid spam wording in your subject lines (words such as "free", "earn", "sale", "win" can be considered spam). Check out this list of spam trigger words if you are not sure.
- Using all caps in your subject lines
- Adding too many emojis or symbols in your subject line, including exclamation points or question marks
- Writing a subject line completely unrelated to the email content (we will talk more about this later in the article)
Other spam behaviors that do not relate to the subject line include adding too many images without the text in your email content, purchasing contacts instead of growing your email list organically (especially when it leads to more bounced sends and spam reports), sending the same email over and over again without changing anything and emailing contacts who did not agree to be in your list or unsubscribed in the past.
If you want to be 100% sure that your subject line is spam-free are many websites available online that will help analyze your content before you send it so you can ensure it isn't likely to be categorized as spam.
#2: Keep It Relevant
It is important to keep your subject lines relevant to the content of the email.
If you have a great subject line that has nothing to do with what you talk about in the email, you might get a high open rate, but will most likely lose the trust of your contacts and increase your unsubscribe rate.
Other than keeping the subject line relevant to the email content, it is important to keep your email content in line with your topic or area of expertise.
When a new contact subscribes to your email list, they do it because they want to be kept in the loop, or learn more about your topic of expertise, or be informed about new promotions or course launches.
If your email subject line mentions what you will cover in the main email content, it will capture the curiosity of your contacts and make them want to read your full email.
#3: Make it Intriguing
Once you are sure that your email subject lines are passing the spam check, you can get creative to craft a message that will intrigue your customers and get them to open your newsletter.
A way to capture the attention of your contacts and pique their curiosity is to make your subject lines intriguing so that recipients are incentivized to open the email to learn more.
The email above from Mike Brennan is an example of an intriguing subject line, where the recipients will ask themselves what it is that is stopping him, and would open the email to learn more.
While this can be a good strategy to increase open rates, make sure not to overdo it and always stay in line with your brand, to avoid being marked as spam.
#4: Ask a Question
Another great way to grab your audience's attention is by asking a question they want to know the answer to.
If you know that your contacts have specific questions about your online course or an event you ran recently, you could lead with that.
In the example above, Russell Brunson answered the question of whether his contacts could get the replay of a live event he ran recently, since he knows his audience is interested in learning about that.
#5: Keep It Short
If an email subject line is too long, it will get cut, especially on smaller screens such as mobile devices.
Around 46% of email opens come from mobile phones, so you should test how your subject lines appear on mobiles.
To make sure that your subject lines don't get cut, try to keep them short and clear, while still offering relevant information and adding curiosity. You can always provide more information in the preheader line, as in the example below from The Publish Press.
#6: Add Urgency
Another way to increase your open rates and get your contacts to take action is by adding urgency to your subject lines.
If you are running a special offer and it is coming to an end, specify this in your subject lines and add either the end date or the remaining time.
While this strategy can yield great results, make sure to stay true to your values and avoid adding fake scarcity to your offers.
#7: State Your Offer
A simple way to write a subject line when you are offering a discount or special offer for your online course is by simply starting the offer and getting right to the point.
This way, those among your contacts who are interested in the offer will surely open your email and take the action desired.
In the example above, an online Yoga course offers 50% off their challenge: since they know that the contacts on their email list are interested in their products, why not just state the offer right in the subject line?
#8: Personalize Your Subject Lines
What's better than personalization to get the attention of your readers?
This approach can be more complicated as you have to segment your email list or automate your campaigns depending on specific actions that your students or customers take.
In the example below, Duolingo (an online language learning app) sends personalized emails based on the student's performance in the app.
You can achieve similar results by using Heights Platform as online course creation software. Heights Platform lets you send emails to your online course students and segment them based on the audience type (ex: what course or digital products they purchased).
#9: Add an Invitation
You can make your contacts feel special by adding a personal invitation to your subject lines.
If you are starting a live event soon or you are promoting a new course launch, you can use wording such as "you are invited to...", "join me", "we are waiting for you", "your invitation to..." and so on.
In the example above, Heights Platform is inviting people to join their weekly live interview show The Creator's Adventure.
#10: Use Numbers
Adding numbers and using data in your subject lines is a great way to get your emails noticed and, at the same time, demonstrate a clear message.
The same concept applies to blog titles or even your online course name: numbers in your headers, titles and subject lines are always recommended (this blog post is titled "Top 10 Tips to Write Powerful Subject Lines for Online Course Creators).
In the example below, Neil Patel writes "25 Ways to Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic" as his email subject line. If he wrote "Ways to Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic" and simply omitted the "25", the message wouldn't be as powerful.
Get Started With Email Marketing
Subject lines are a very important part of email marketing. The tips provided in this article will help you come up with better subject lines for your audience and online course students.
If you want to learn more about email marketing, check out these articles from our blog:
- Guide to Email Marketing to Promote and Sell an Online Course
- 7 Emails You Need to Send to Promote Your Online Course
- 18 Email Marketing Best Practices For Online Course Creators
As a course creator, email marketing is a great way to communicate directly with your ideal audience, offer sneak peeks of your online course and promotes your new launches.
If you are looking for an online course platform that gives you a head-start with email marketing, Heights Platform lets you send announcements to your students and segment your audience for personalized email communications.Create Your Online Course Today