September 18, 2007
Email marketing has exploded in growth over the past few years, as marketers have continued to see the benefits and outstanding ROI this marketing medium can bring. However, despite the great results being attained, many marketers still overlook a very important component of their email marketing campaigns: The Subject.
Just about everyone who uses email knows about the subject line. It’s the little bit of information that is displayed along with the ‘sender name’ when an email lands in someone’s inbox. Some email programs show the sender name, subject and a preview of the message, while other email programs only display the sender name and subject. In these latter scenarios, the subject is an even more vital part of your email marketing campaigns because that may be the single biggest factor in determining whether or not someone will open your email marketing campaign.
Far too many email marketers spend a long time perfecting their message content (which is a good thing!) and then they simply gloss over the subject. An there’s the mistake. You may have the world’s greatest content, but if your subject line isn’t compelling enough to make your readers open the message, all that great content will just go to waste. With that in mind, here are a few tips for crafting your subject line:
1. Short & Simple: A Few Words Can Go A Long Way
A good subject line is short and to the point. Many email programs restrict the amount of characters that are displayed in the subject. What this means is that your subject may get cut short. Worse yet, you don’t really know where it will get cut off, which would lead to some highly unexpected results. Imagine sending out an email campaign to business professionals with the subject line: “Learn to Diversify Your Sales Strategy.” Now imagine if that subject gets cuts short by your readers’ email programs, and all they see is “Learn to Dive”. Chances are, your business-focused readers won’t care to open that message. On the other hand, if your subject is just a few words, and is direct and to the point, then it will be displayed fully and you will know with the utmost confidence what each recipient is getting the context of your email marketing campaign, regardless of their email software.
2. Pique Your Readers Interest Everyday
People receive a lot of email messages, so you want to make sure your email marketing campaign cuts through the clutter. For your email marketing campaign to succeed, you need to pique people’s interest. After all, it is their choice as to whether or not they open your email. And if the subject doesn’t elicit some interest or curiosity, then it can easily be skimmed over. The best way to come up with a captivating and interesting subject line is to put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear; tell them what they actually want to hear! This can be tough because you need to keep it short (as per point 1), but a few words is more than enough to get a reader’s mouth wet and make him or her want to know more. Remember, if your subject is dull, boring, or completely uninteresting, your reader will go looking for the delete button, and no email marketer wants that.
3. Cheesy or Overly Exaggerated Subjects Doesn’t Fool Anyone
If you send out an email and in the subject you promise that “all of your dreams will come true”, today’s consumer will likely delete your email marketing campaign prior to even reading another word. If your subject guarantees your readers will be rich beyond their wildest dreams, then it will almost always get trashed (not to mention classified as spam). Today’s consumer is very savvy and these cheesy, out-dated gimmicks simply don’t work. Before writing your subject, assume that each one of your recipients is very well aware that your product or service is not the miracle of all miracles. The moment you send out an email with an overly gimmicky subject, you are really shooting yourself in the foot. This is not to say the content of your message is not special, but with limited reading time for emails, people quickly dismiss anything that sounds “too good to be true”. Make sure your email marketing campaigns don’t get filed into this notorious group!
4. Be Honest: Describe Your Content
Your email marketing subject should not be conjured up in isolation of your actual email content. They should go hand-in-hand, where the subject nicely describes what the reader can expect in the body of your email marketing campaign. Far too many times in the quest for the perfect subject (and while following the points above) an email marketer will stray so far away from their content that the subject ends up having nothing to do with the message. This is a catastrophic mistake because in addition to the subject acting as a determining factor for opening your email, it also sets up the reader’s mentality for what they can expect to see in your email marketing campaign. If they open your message expecting to see tips for effective email marketing, but instead you give them tips for dieting, they will swiftly close your message. While a goal of the subject is to get the reader to open he message, you also want to set it up so that the reader keeps reading. And you can only do that when your subject is honest. After all, if you’re trying to fool your readers into opening your message, then you can’t expect them to be that attached to what you eventually want to say.
A good email marketing subject can go a long way towards boosting your results and helping you achieve your goals. This important part of every email marketing campaign should be given some serious thought and, when combined with the points above, will help more people open your email and read your content.
Author: Robert Burko is the President of EliteEmail.com, the leading email marketing program, serving thousands of businesses across the globe. The EliteEmail.com email marketing service is part of the EliteAnswers.com family.