Tips and best practices to keep in mind
Why do these subject lines we’ve mentioned work? They use certain tips and tricks — read this short guide and learn how to make your back-to-school subject line effective.
Start your campaign in advance
The Deloitte study showed that this year, 53% of back-to-school season spendings were expected to occur by the end of July — the main reason is that people are afraid of stockouts. But even if you didn’t start your campaign in the middle of summer, you still have a chance.
There is a certain category of back-to-school shoppers — procrastinators. For example, if your campaign is based on scarcity and last-minute offers, starting in August would be the best strategy. We’ve mentioned that many times: there’s no universal success recipe.
Keep it short
According to the 2021 report, 42.4% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Desktop interfaces already don’t give a lot of room for subject lines — and mobile apps cut them even more. That’s why, when it comes to email subjects, keeping it short is the way to go.
The Marketo study showed that the best-performing email subject length is 7 words, which is approximately 41 characters. At the same time, your subject line should be long enough to reveal the value of your email. That’s why exactly 7 words are not the ultimate rule — but we still suggest not exceeding 60 characters.
The study by Search Engine Journal showed that emojis in subject lines don’t affect open rates — but they increase CTR up to 64%. However, according to Campaign Monitor, an email that features emojis is 56% more likely to be opened.
In the end, both studies show that emojis in emails increase your campaign’s efficiency. But use them only if your brand’s tone of voice allows this. And if it does, don’t overuse them, think of your target audience and A/B test your ideas.
Know your target audience
An effective subject line suggests a valuable solution to your customers’ problem right away. But different customers have different pain points. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re targeting, what these people’s frustrations are, and how your offer can resolve them.
Which groups of people are interested in back-to-school campaigns? Parents, students, and teachers. Here’s an example of possible pain points and good subject lines for different customer groups:
|Customer group 🧑
||Subject line inspo📝
Forgetting to get something for their child
No time for shopping
✅ Get everything at once and save 50% off school supplies
Coming back-to-school? We’ve got you covered!
Looking for a fresh start as a “ritual”
Saving money (college students)
For the coolest kids on the block
30% off our new drop for a fresh start this school year
||Getting back to stressful work after a long vacation
You’re ready for school, what about your classroom?
Best dresses for the strictest school dress codes
No worries with our exclusive discounts for teachers
Keep in mind that this spreadsheet is only an example. There are more possible pain points, and parents, students, and teachers vary a lot in demographics and other characteristics. The secret of success is knowing the exact profile of your customer — and hitting where it hurts.
Make sure your subject line is attention-grabbing
As we mentioned earlier, you compete with fellow players on the market and the entire inbox of subject lines, personal or promotional. That’s why it’s so important to grab your customer’s attention right away with a catchy subject line. Here are some tricks that will help you get noticed:
- Personalize. Emails with personalized subject lines have a higher click-through rate. Just adding your customer’s name will make you more noticeable in the inbox.
- Use humor. If your tone of voice allows it, puns and jokes are a good way to grab attention.
- Relate to customers. The back-to-school season is stressful — regardless of your audience, all the customer groups we’ve mentioned before have their pain points and frustration. Relating to these struggles will make your marketing email appear more human and stimulate subscribers to open it. Use subject lines like “Scared to go back-to-school? Me too” or “Back-to-School deals for Tired Moms” — and your customers will fall for that compassion.
- Be intriguing. Don’t reveal the entire email content in a subject line. Instead, keep your customers enticed to know more. The easiest way to do it is turning a subject line into a question — and hide the answer in the email.
These are the most popular tactics to increase your email visibility. But we know nothing about your business and your target audience. That’s why we suggest testing these tips out to see what works for you.
Use the sense of urgency
If you know how to write a sales email, you’ve heard a thing or two about urgency in email marketing. We already mentioned that the back-to-school season is stressful. That’s why using urgent language in your subject line might work especially well for your back-to-school email campaign. Here are some tips to get your customers to the edge of their seats:
- Setting a deadline — “Ends today”, “Expires tomorrow”
- Using active verbs — “Hurry up”, “Act now”
- Adding scarcity — “Limited offer”, “Buy before the stockout”
Subject: 🚨Hurry up… Back to School 📚 Deals Ends Soon ⏰ Save 20% OFF Sitewide 😱