…You use the right subject line.
Think about it. Every time you go to your Inbox, what is it, other than who it’s from that ultimately leads you to open, scroll past or delete (without reading) each email? It’s the subject line.
As a quick example, over the weekend I was going through my Inbox…I had emails from people trying to sell me stuff; others with boring subject lines, some in ALL CAPS (don’t do that), and even one that had the subject line spelled incorrectly. The first email I chose to open had the subject line, “Need Your Advice”. That’s what got my attention. (It was an admissions counselor reaching out for advice/feedback on an email he’s writing for after his school’s Preview Day event)
That same type of decision-making takes place every time one of your inquiries, prospects, admits, commits and parents go to their Inbox and find messages waiting. Which ones do they read? Which ones do they not pay attention to?
Just like me, and probably just like you it often comes down to the subject line.
Still not convinced that you need to pay close attention to your subject line? Consider this – 205 billion email messages are sent every day. That means it’s becoming harder and harder for any of us to get (and keep) the attention of our readers.
So, if you want to get more of your emails opened, here are some ideas that we’ve seen work as well as a couple of extra tips:
- Personalize it. I’ve reiterated numerous times in previous articles how important it is to use personalization (and use it correctly) throughout the recruitment process. We all love the sound of our own name, and when you include the recipient’s name in the subject line, it adds a feeling of rapport. Plus, according to the Science of Email Marketing, emails that included the first name of the recipient in their subject line had higher clickthrough rates than emails that did not.
- Tell them you’re about to help them with something. Be really specific. Examples could include, “5 tips for filling out the FAFSA easier”, or “This will help you understand your financial aid package”.
- When every email from you is urgent, none is. At least that’s what many of your prospects tell us. Use urgency when it’s actually useful, like when there’s a real deadline or compelling reason to contact you immediately. If you use urgency too often, you’re going to find it a lot harder to cultivate your recruiting relationship.
- Ask a question. Make it short, make it compelling, and create curiosity. If you’re asking a question in your subject line that you know is relevant and matters to your prospect it will draw them in.
- Chop-off half the sentence (like I did today). Doing that tends to prompt the recipient to wonder what the other half says, especially when the subject line clearly offers value for him/her.
- Make it really, really short. Short words or phrases get attention. For example, “Deadline” or “Scholarship”.
- Use a call to action. Calls to action in the subject line have proven effective for our clients when we recommend them for a specific email that’s a part of the monthly recruiting communication plan we create. Even a simple “Check this out!” or “I need your feedback” can serve as a motivating call to action and indicator that a response is or is not being requested.
- Be different every single time. There are very few subject lines so amazing that they should be used over and over again. Take a few minutes to be creative.
What you put in your subject line is arguably the most important factor in getting your emails opened and read. If you’re not consistently taking that part of your emails seriously, I implore you to make a change immediately.
Now on to the fun part! As a way for me to thank you for being a loyal reader of this newsletter, I want to give you the opportunity to win something. It’s 30 seconds of your time for 30 minutes of mine.
All you have to do is click on this link and send me an email before 11:59 PM PST today (Tuesday, January 24, 2017) with your best or most creative email subject line. In the body of your email just put the words newsletter contest. I’ll pick my 3 favorite email subject lines and each winner will receive an email from me tomorrow (Wednesday, January 25) about how to claim their prize.
One last thing – Please review and considering changing your current “out of office” auto-reply email(s). This is another opportunity for you to be creative and show off some of your personality! Most admissions counselors don’t take the time to have some fun with that email that goes out to peers, parents, and most importantly your prospects. This is another little thing that can make a big difference for you.
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