The Subject Line has more than one function. It needs to catch the attention of our subscribers to our email marketing lists without putting them off with sensationalism. It has to intrigue, excite and encourage. The marketing email that is not opened is a waste of effort, so much depends on the Subject Line.
Some years ago, when I first started in email marketing, I read an authoritative book on the subject which gave lists of words to be used in the Subject Line, together with likely percentage improvements in open rates. The authors had remarkable CVs. Like anyone new to the craft, especially as I had paid nearly £24 for the book, I took everything as verbatim and it seemed to be logical and reasonable in its suggestions. I’ve since come to realise that logical and reasonable are empty words.
A specific word on its own will not increase open rates. We have to go further and consider why these words have an effect on our subscribers as it is the reason behind the open rates that will allow us to increase them and let us know what to write. It is all down to the emotive response.
One of the highest scoring words in the list was the subscriber’s name. It’s probably what you would expect if you’ve been in email marketing for any length of time as it is classic personalisation. In other words, it’s not the name but rather the feeling that the email is especially for them.
Another word on the list was introducing. It obviously implies that the product is new, probably to the subscriber or maybe you are expanding into a thrilling new line. It should generate excitement and anticipation. But then, what’s the problem with new? It’s the same with invitation. The hope is that it will bring out the emotion that the subscribers experience when invited to a party, wedding. It’s a winner for a marketing email.
You might think that some such words would be more or less essential because lots of other companies use them on their marketing emails but, if anything, frequent use should be a reason to avoid them. They won’t produce an emotive response if the words clutter their inboxes. Where’s the punch?
You see the same sort of response with words such as Sale, even if it is followed by an exclamation mark. In other words, there are no magic words that produce excitement, anticipation, envy or any other one you want. You have to be subtle.
We should tailor our Subject Lines to a particular product, subscriber, and way in which it is marketed. If your email marketing campaign is based on the excitement of a particular holiday, don’t look for a magic bullet, instead try a simple phrase that will show to subscribers you are thrilled just by the opportunity of being able to market it.
Once you transfer your enthusiasm for your product to your subscribers, your work is done, at least for that campaign. Emotion, not words, is everything.