3 Ways to Build Urgency In Email Subject Lines

Build UrgencyAs I examined my inbox in the days before Christmas, I couldn’t help but notice a growing trend in the email marketing messages I receive from retailers big and small.

Almost every other message in my inbox touted a percentage off or free shipping of my purchase in the next however many days.

We’ve blogged about it before – most email campaigns employ some urgency tactics to encourage email opens, clicks and ultimately more timely sales. This sparked a discussion on building trust and credibility.

And while trust is crucial, time and strategy are also important elements of successfully urgent subject lines.

The Clock is Ticking

With the holiday season in full swing, it is typical of retail campaigns to increase urgency in their subject lines.

To boost sales before a major holiday, retailers use their subject lines to highlight products, offer discounts and stress the importance of ordering early for shipping purposes.

You can use the same techniques to drive traffic and sales on your website.

  • It doesn’t only apply to Christmas. Building urgency is an effective technique when it is used properly and provides real value.

The 3 Top Ways: The Proof is in the (Figgy) Pudding

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, the top three types of subject lines that compel subscribers to open emails contain one of these:

  1. Discount Offer
  2. Free Product Offer
  3. Familiar Brand Name

That’s pretty big news considering that almost every single ‘urgent’ email in my inbox right now contains a variation of one of these.

Would These Examples Drive You to Buy?

Straight from my inbox, each one of these emails mention a discount, a free offer or the brand name.

Screenshot showing enticing email subjects
Notice: Words like “ALMOST GONE”, “3 Days Left” entice readers to open the emails sooner than later.

Think Twice: Are Your Intentions Naughty, or Nice?

While creating a sense of urgency with your subject line is a great way to light a fire under your subscribers, it’s crucial to step back and evaluate when too much urgency is off-putting.

If you offered 10% last week, and you’re offering 20% off now, who’s to say you won’t increase the discount next week?

If you rely too heavily on urgency techniques, you could end up with disbelieving subscribers. Offering too many discounts could sabotage your chances of inspiring real urgency.

How Do You Build Urgency In Your Subjects?

Do you include these elements in your subjects? Others? What have your results been?

Share your thoughts below!