Email Analysis

Ask An Engaging Question In The Subject Line

I did other stuff before ending up in email marketing. I used to enjoy lessons about roles new to me, but some instructors were less than engaging. One wandered into our classroom and said, “Today we’re covering plates, markings, testing and inspection as defined in Part III of the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regs, 1986.” It was a long couple of hours. 

For the lesson on springs, a different instructor, much different, surprised us with an engaging opening question; “Can something totally inanimate have a memory?” Most answers involved writing on it. He said, “I’m going to tell you about how a lump of metal can have memory.” We were intrigued.

The intro the first instructor used was clear and factual. Just what the Subject Line should be for a marketing email, or so most commentators will tell you. The second instructor nailed the students’ attention, just like every commentator says you should, and did so truthfully, accurately and with a certain humour.

Ask An Engaging Question In The Subject LineYour subscribers will receive a number of marketing emails most days, and they probably are not thrilled to see a row of wilted Subject Lines in their inbox. They might be factual. They might be precise. That doesn’t mean they will encourage the recipient to open the email, and that’s the first hurdle to overcome. If they don’t open it, you don’t complete.

Asking a question generates an answer, or perhaps the search for one, in the reader’s mind and, properly phrased, they will feel obliged to open the email if only to discover what the answer is. It’s not quite that simple of course. The title must conform to certain expected norms which, if you ignore them, upsets the reader.

The question must relate to whatever your product is. If the title asks, ‘Do you want to try a completely new destination for a tranquil holiday?’ You will obviously need to pick a location that your subscriber has not been to while on your email marketing list, otherwise you’re telling them you’re not interested in them as a person.

If you’ve picked your subscriber carefully, they should feel that they need to know all about this holiday destination they’ve never heard of. Wouldn’t you? You will have picked a type of holiday that will suit them perfectly, and if you emphasise the fact that their friends are unlikely to have been there, you’ve found another trigger.

You take a risk of course. If they’ve been to the place, even once, they might just delete the email out of frustration. 

Consider the difference between a Subject Line that suggests people are thrilled with holidays to Albufeira against one that asks, ‘Ever wondered what it’s like to swim with dolphins?’ When subscribers open the marketing email, they will be told that Albufeira is the only place in Europe where you can. You’ve got them. If they want to swim with dolphins, you provide a holiday where they can do so.

Intriguing questions work with all the products you are selling. You just have to ask the right one.



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