How to fight the good fight with strong subject lines

June 23, 2016

Why devote an entire blog post focused on writing a very small portion of your email marketing campaign? Simply put, it’s the most important part of your campaign. But so many fantasy sports businesses are chronically doing it wrong.


As passionate DFS and season-long players, we get tons of email from businesses like yours. And so much of that email goes unopened just because you didn’t grab our attention with the subject line. We’re not alone. Inbox competition is fierce. Multiple companies send daily emails about projections, analytics, player and team news, injury updates, sleeper picks, technology enhancements…you get the idea. Your subject line is the first, and unfortunately in some cases, your last impression. Here are seven subject line tips to help your email stand apart from your competition.


Size matters


The first question our clients ask us regarding email marketing: How long should a subject line be? This is an ongoing debate in the marketing community. The advice we give is somewhere between 40 and 50 characters. This allows the subject line to be seen in its entirety across multiple channels: desktop, tablet and phone. That being said, your No. 1 goal is to think more about the words in the subject line, not necessarily the size of it. Clear and concise subject lines, packaged in a minimalistic approach, tend to perform better.


Personalization is a must


Personalization in subject lines have been around for a while. However, it’s no longer enough to just include a person’s name in the subject line. In fact, many spam programs are picking up on this tactic, potentially landing your email into a user’s junk folder. But an ultra-personalized subject line can make the difference between an “opened” and a “deleted” message.


The data you collect when someone signs up to receive emails is extremely important. You can leverage that data when personalizing your subject lines. Here’s a scenario for you. Let’s say you’ve captured the location of your subscriber upon sign up. And let’s say they’re from Dallas, Texas. Instead of sending them an email with the subject line “Prepare your lineup for tonight’s MLB slate,” how about “Stack your Texas Rangers tonight against the Reds.” The chance of your email being opened will skyrocket.


Add some shock value


Controversy grabs attention, but it’s a slippery slope to tread. In the fantasy sports world, where trash talk and competition is rampant, shock and controversy in subject lines can push open rates to higher levels. If you’re going for a shock factor, be confident in your approach. Try something like this:


                Your lineup tonight sucks. Try these picks instead

                Why your 6-year-old will beat you at H2H today

                We promise you’re paying way too much for fantasy data


The shock and awe factor can be a gamble, but if done correctly, you’ll see your open rates rise.


Fantasy players love numbers and lists


In a world where numbers are needed to put together a solid lineup or fill weekly positions, digits drawn in fantasy sports players. So incorporating numbers into your subject lines will definitely grab your readers’ attention. When you reference number or lists in your subject lines, you’re providing the promise of a quick and easy read. And that, in itself, will incur higher open rates. Consider something like this:


                7 WR sleeper picks to consider

                3 must-draft pitchers for tonight’s slate

                4 data points you must incorporate now!


Watch your tone


Unless you’re a B2B company in the fantasy sports space, subject lines should read conversationally, not business-like. A conversationalist tone will most definitely attract readers. Relate to your readers. Give them a reason to trust you.


Experiment with emojis


The latest trend in email marketing is influenced by millennials. Those cute emojis that you send in text messages to your friends are making a huge impact in the digital marketing world. That is, IF you use them properly. Pose this question: Do these symbols add value to your email? Adding a random winky face to your subject line will have very little impact on your open rates. But adding a baseball or football emoji can grab the attention of a fantasy sports player. How about a clock emoji if time is running out for a free DFS entry? When using wisely and sparingly, emojis in subject lines can definitely have an impact on your open rates.


Test, test, test


Don’t be lazy here. It’s so important to A/B test subject lines. Yes, it adds an extra step. Yes, it forces you to come up with more than one subject line. But yes, it’ll help you determine the best subject lines going forward. And the best subject lines equal the best open rates. Plain and simple.


Need help with your email marketing initiatives? Contact FantasyMeter today at or (817) 729-8771.


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