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How To Write A Striking, Captivating, Enticing Email Campaign Subject Line

The majority of any preparation time, in terms of an email campaign, is often spent on the content and message of the email itself, yet people forget that the first thing that is read is actually the subject line: the subject line needs to strike a blow, to captivate the recipient, to entice them to read further. The subject line can literally make or break the success of your campaign.

So what is the magic formula? Well unfortunately there isn't one. There are, however, a handful of tips to bear in mind.

First The Tips

There are a variety of approaches your subject line can adopt:

  • The subject line can be treated like a news headline – "'Product X’ is now available with new features and benefits for users"
  • You can be mysterious (not too mysterious mind) enough to arouse a persons curiosity – "Find out the secrets behind a successful email campaign"
  • Alternatively make it clear to the reader what benefits they will receive by reading the rest of the email, not just the subject line – "See how to design a successful email campaign with the perfect subject line"

Once you have decided the approach that is appropriate for you then start to think what would make you open an email. Think about the emails that are received on a daily basis:

  • "Make money during these hard times"
  • "Check this out!"
  • "You’ve just won a prize"

Would you open any of them?

Pay Attention

In this day and age where everyone is running around trying to secure their future, attention spans are severely limited: if you don’t grab someone immediately then the chance that they will read on is doubtful. When designing a subject line you should look to have the most important elements of it within the first 50-75 characters.

You Are Human & So Is Your Recipient

ALWAYS put yourself in the shoes of your intended recipient. Ask yourself how you would receive the email that you are about to send:

  • Would you read on?
  • Do you see any benefit from reading on?
    • Any indication as to what you may learn?
  • Are you selling or educating?
    • Bear in mind that email is very invasive and therefore people will not always appreciate being sold to

Test the subject line on colleagues: ask them what the first thing that is triggered in their minds.

Baton Down The Hatches – Incoming SPAM Email Attack

An email address is like your home address: imagine the amount of SPAM coming through your letterbox. Furthermore, people are personally attached to their email addresses. An invasion of your 'Inbox' provokes the same kind of emotion as an invasion of your home with various direct mail messages. Therefore, proceed with caution. Email by nature is very invasive: it is pretty much immediate and pretty much 'in your face'. As a result you need to provoke a positive, rather than a negative emotion. One way of doing this is seeking to educate the recipient, to be thought provoking, to strike a chord with the recipient rather than being pushy and trying aggressively to sell to the recipient. Email is already pushy and invasive enough. The idea of educating and communicating with the recipient as opposed to selling to the recipient should never be overlooked.

Our Friends The SPAM Filters

Probably the most annoying, as discussed in the blog post of two weeks ago, is the consideration you should extend to SPAM filters. Always be aware of SPAM filters. It could be the difference between your email being read or simply being permanently deleted along with the rest of the contents of a persons 'Junk Mail' folder. Always keep in mind that certain phrases both within the subject line of any email as well as the body of it can trigger a SPAM filter.

The Final Word - TEST

Once again, as I have stress in my previous blog posts, it is imperative to test: fail to plan, plan to fail. If you don't test you can never be sure how they are being received, if they are being received at all: whilst you can get an overview by viewing various statistics immediately after a campaign has been sent, at that point it is too late. The campaign has already been sent and if it doesn't have the desired effect, consider that strike one. You will be granted very few strikes before a user, by default, deletes any email coming from you which they considers to be marketing.

Remember the first, well maybe the second element of your email campaign that any recipient sees and reads is the subject line.

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