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Email Marketing: The Almighty Subject Line

Email marketing can be an awesome tool, if you can figure out how to do it right. There’s tons of different elements that come into play when crafting a successful email marketing campaign. Let’s start with the basics – your email marketing subject lines.

Low Open Rate?

Did you know that 69% of people mark email as spam based solely on subject lines? That means that nearly 7/10 people will group you with the undesirables if your subject line tanks. That is not the kind of company you want to keep!

So let’s say you have made it past someone’s spam filter – HORRAY! A well deserved pat on the back for you my friend. You made it past the junk folder, so why aren’t your emails being opened? Well, the recipient needs to notice your email, and decide it’s worth looking at. If this isn’t happening, there is a good chance it is because your subject lines still suck!

Tips for creating a subject line that doesn’t suck:

Personal Touches

Using the person’s name, or information relevant to them on a personal level is sure to grab attention. Referencing their location, interests, or other personal information whenever possible is a good way to draw the eye to your email.

Keep It Short

Try to shoot for under 50 characters. Think about it like this; You check your email and you have 50 new messages. You are already feeling pretty liberal with the “delete” button. If you see some email with a subject line that is really long, are you going to feel more compelled to open it, or delete it? If the subject line is long, you can assume the email will be too, and you are already feeling overwhelmed with messages. So keep it short and sweet!

Keep It Relevant

Your subject line should be an embodiment of the email. You should write the email first, check it, double check it, THEN write the subject line. Be clear and representative of what your email contains. No one likes to feel like they have been tricked. It certainly wont win you any favor.

Don’t Be Pitchy

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT write your subject lines like you are writing a sales pitch. The subject line is not a place for you to try to sell your products or services. An out of place call to action makes you look bad. You want to show them you can provide value, not just shove sales crap in their face. It isn’t very becoming of you! Plus, it’s really aggressive.

There are a handful of words that are likely to make people (and spam filters) perceive your email as junk. Anyone who advises you to use the word “free” to get attention, still has some learning to do!

Avoid these “pitchy” words:

  • Earn $
  • Make $
  • Earn
  • From home
  • Biz
  • Cash
  • Claim
  • Collect
  • Income
  • Get out of
  • Increase your
  • Prescriptions
  • Free
  • Millions
  • Urgent
  • Dear

Put Some Thought Into It

Just make sure to craft those subject lines carefully. Think about what kind of subject lines would get your attention. What would make you want to open and email, and even more importantly, what would make you click delete? Your customers are just people like you! Use your noodle and put yourself in their shoes.

Note: There are lots of programs out there that can automate your email marketing and take the stress out of trying to remember when to send what, or who has already received which email. We use a service called Infusionsoft here at Black Dog for our marketing automation (and lots of other fun stuff). If you have a high volume of emails or contacts, a tool like this is definitely worth looking into.

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