Collecting Over Email: Crafting Subject Lines That Get Opened

Jun 20, 2024

We all know the importance of first impressions. Email is no different. Spending time on your subject lines is important for capturing consumer attention and encouraging them to open the email. As you work on your next email campaign, there are several factors to consider when creating your subject lines that can improve open rates and the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

1. Clarity is key

Subject lines should clearly state what the email is about. People are more likely to open emails that seem relevant to them or clearly show their purpose. Placing the most important words at the beginning can ensure your message gets across even if the consumer reads the email on a smaller device that truncates their view.

2. Show the importance

Creating a sense of urgency or importance can encourage consumers to open emails sooner rather than later. However, you have to be sure you’re not creating unnecessary anxiety or accidentally making your email look spammy. Phrases like “Limited Time Offer” ” or “Last Chance” can be effective, but don’t overuse them. Maintain trust with consumers by using these phrases only when they actually apply, e.g. you’re extending a limited time offer.

3. Personalization matters

Including the consumer’s name, reference to previous actions like a recent payment, or other details can increase open rates by making the email feel more tailored to the individual. Personalization shows that the message is intended specifically for the recipient, enhancing its perceived value.

4. Stay compliant

Subject lines must comply with legal guidelines. At a minimum, that means avoiding any language that could be considered misleading or deceptive. Subject lines should accurately reflect the content of the email and avoid using false pretenses to encourage consumers to open emails.

Misleading or vague subject lines may increase open rates in the short term, but in the long-run they can damage credibility and lead to higher unsubscribe rates. They can even increase complaints to regulators.

5. Be brief

Keeping subject lines short and to the point can be more effective, especially since many people read emails on mobile devices. A concise subject line is easy to read and visible at a glance. The general recommendation is for subject lines to be between 40 and 60 characters, or a maximum of 9 words.

6. Don’t be spammy

Certain words or punctuation can trigger spam filters, causing emails to be automatically be routed away from the consumer’s inbox. Avoid these to ensure your message reaches the consumer. Examples include:

  • Using the word “Free”
  • Excessive use of capital letters
  • Multiple exclamation points

7. Test, optimize, and repeat

Experiment with different subject line strategies to see what works best with your audience. (This is known as A/B testing.) This can provide valuable insights into the preferences and behaviors of consumers and help you improve future communications. Asking a question, including numbers, using action words, and leveraging current events or seasons are things you can test in your subject lines.

8. Show empathy and respect

Where possible, subject lines should convey empathy and respect for the consumer’s situation. This helps build trust and encourages a more positive response, especially important in the context of debt collection.

Writing compelling subject lines is a practice that can significantly impact the success of your collection email campaigns. Applying these tips can help you create emails that get more opens and improve your recovery efforts.

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