A strong B2B email subject line is critical to capturing the attention of your audience. If you want your emails to succeed, you need to make sure they are opened in the first place.
But you’re not just targeting the B2B space — you’re targeting technology purchasers who work in enterprise/healthcare/education, and they’ll respond differently to certain types of subject lines than others in the tech buying space.
Joseph Grassani, Senior Email Marketing Manager at Crestron Electronics, says any best practice is determined by who you are looking to reach.
“The key to helping open rates soar is catching your target’s eye with an engaging line. Are you looking to reach dealers? End users? These groups have different interests, and targeting those intentionally can help get the most out of your campaign efforts.”
Let’s review a few B2B subject line best practices — particularly if you’re targeting tech purchasers:
Vagueness is failure
Putting anything like “Newsletter” in the subject line is, obviously, not a very good idea. We’re sure you’re already aware of that. But are you sure you always communicate the value of opening a send well?
B2C communicators can get away with being vague, but in the technology industry, that same luxury isn’t available. These audiences expect messages that are quick and to the point, says Grassani.
“Any communications labeled as important, urgent, or other alerting terms should always be reserved for when it’s absolutely necessary. And as any email marketer knows, an “oops” email will always get a prospect’s attention.”
Personalization might not be as important to these buyers
We don’t mean to tell you that personalization is a waste of time. But we can say anecdotally that anytime we’ve spoken with an technology purchaser via our monthly market research reports or via our sister site, TechDecisions, we’ve heard the same concept from them over and over again: don’t get cute, just give me what I need.
This straightforward attitude suggests that email personalization may not be as important to this channel as it might be in other B2B channels. Make of that what you will.
Embrace the power of the A/B test
You’re doing A/B testing, right? If not, or even if not very often, you should be, says Jordan Figueredo, Senior Content Strategist at Online Optimism.
“You should always be A/B testing around three subject lines that vary in style, tone, and information to understand better what captivates your readers. Most email marketing platforms allow you to A/B test for a certain amount of time (we recommend 4 hours), and to a percentage of your audience (we recommend 20%). Then it automatically sends the subject line with the highest open rate to the remaining audience.”
Connect the dots for your customers
If you are hoping to spotlight a certain product, connect the dots as to why your audience might want to know about that product using references to its strengths, phrased in ways your audience responds well to.
For instance, let’s say there’s a this new vulnerability that IT folks are concerned with — and your product has very particular cybersecurity measures built-in which might prevent it from being hacked or making a network vulnerable. Phrase this product spotlight email subject line with something like “Patches to VulnerabilityX.”
Then, make sure you’re not just populating the email with your product. Have some content front-and-center which explains what’s going on with the vulnerability and why it is important for IT to choose products that have the same kind of built-in feature yours does. THEN include an image of — and link to — the product.
Some quick tips for writing better B2B subject lines to target tech buyers:
- Don’t be afraid to use numbers
- Avoid false promises
- Test often
- Avoid any subject line that encourages a sale (instead, invite readers to a slow-sell)
- Make seasonal or channel news-specific references where appropriate