6 Surefire Ways to Craft Better Automotive Subject Lines

May 29, 2015 | Email Marketing

Moz found that 64% of people admit that a great subject line is the driving force behind opening an email, and 80% of readers never make it past the subject line.

6 SureFire Ways to Craft Better Automotive Subject Lines

Think of automotive subject lines as the first impression your customers will have of your dealership’s email campaign (we all know how important first impressions are in our industry!).

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula on how to create the perfect subject line, there are 6 simple techniques that will help you guarantee your email makes a great first impression.

1. Clarity and Credibility Over Cleverness

Keep your subject line simple and to the point. Overly creative subject lines can sometimes be considered vague or deceptive. To add credibility to your email, your subject lines and your “From” address should include something related to your dealership name, manufacturer, or any term related to automotive.

Get more tips to optimize your next email campaign: 8 Ways To Guarantee Your Dealership’s Email Campaign Actually Works

If you avoid an automotive reference, you risk being overlooked by In-Market Car Shoppers because you didn’t identify your email as offering them vehicle specials.

2. Add Value

Demonstrate how opening your email will add value for your customer. All your readers are ultimately concerned with is how they will benefit by opening your email. A subject line such as “5 ways to save on your next service appointment” is clear, to the point, and demonstrates value to the customer.

3. Keep it Short and Sweet

Multiple studies have found that short subject lines work better. According to Benchmark, the recommended character use is 50 to 55, and anything above that risks being cut off in the inbox view, causing your subject line to look unprofessional.

Setting a limit of 50 characters for your automotive subject lines is a good practice because it encourages you to create concise phrases that get your whole message across.

Automotive Email Subject Lines Mobile Tips

4. Avoid Being Spam-y

  • Spam Words: Using words such as “free” or “click here” have been associated with spam and can prevent your email from getting to your recipient’s inbox.
  • Symbols Using symbols (     ) can be a double-edged sword. Symbols are associated with higher click-to-open rates because they will make your subject line stand out, but using them also increases the likelihood of your email landing in the spam folder.
  • CAPS: Using all-CAPS in your email subject line changes the tone of your message and comes across as though you are yelling at the customer. Plus, messages in all-CAPS also tend to be more difficult to read and follow.

5. Appeal to Emotion

Better automotive subject lines get higher open rates because they almost always ignite an emotional response from the reader. The use of power words (“monumental”) in place of plain words (“big”) can really impact the success of your subject line. You can also ask a question, like “Can you beat the cost of our oil change?” to get your customer engaged with your subject line.

6. Use Superlatives Wisely

Implementing superlatives, or any adverb or adjective that expresses an extreme degree of quality (i.e. best, worst, highest, lowest) in the subject line can help improve your email open rates.

Moz conducted a study to test readers’ superlative tolerance in subject lines. Check out the results:

Automotive Dealer Superlative Preferences In Email Subject Lines

Their findings indicated that over half of the sample (51%) preferred understated subject lines using 0 to 1 superlatives, and the second-most preferred subject line was packed with 4 or more superlatives. This indicates that people want all or nothing when it comes to the use of superlatives in subject lines.

  • Positive Superlatives: High emotional response is linked to the use of positive superlatives such as “best,” “always,” “greatest,” and “strongest.”
  • Negative Superlatives: Subject lines with negative superlatives (“worst,” “nothing,” “none,” “stop”) scored 63% higher click-through rates than their positive counterparts. This may be due to the fact that positive words are overused and cliched, and negative superlatives are unexpected and exciting.

Automotive Positive Or Negative Subject Lines

Now more than ever, email marketing is an extremely effective way to reach customers. In fact, over 53% of Americans use their emails daily. So what subject lines are you using to reach your target audience? Comment below!

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.


Who is Dealers United?

Dealers United is a game-changing automotive company dedicated to helping auto dealers improve their dealerships. We have helped over 6,500 dealers nationwide cut costs, save time, and sell more cars.

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