The search for effective Subject Lines for an email marketing campaign is the bane of anyone whose job it is to write it. It’s bad enough sitting in front of a blank Word document waiting for inspiration to hit, but it’s much worse trying to pick the few words on which the success of the campaign depends to a great extent. It’s enough to freeze anyone’s creativity.
When researching an article on creating Subject Lines I went along the obvious route of studying those from the dozens of email marketing lists that I subscribe to. It was a dead end. There was a lot of similarity between disparate companies, despite them selling entirely unrelated products. If I was paid 10p for every word ending in -est I’d be rich.
For this post I was after one poor example to two or three rather good ones, but the lack of the latter stymied me. Where to look for them?
I’m lazy, and have a strong and evidenced belief that the easiest way to come up with ideas is to copy other people’s, although slightly modified of course. I went online and studied the covers of magazines. Now shops are opening post lockdown, you can do the same thing by perusing the shelves in newsagents. The publishers’ intent is identical to yours. They need to grab the attention of a potential customer who might casually glance at the cover and they, like us, have just a fraction of a second to get the person interested.
The first thing that will strike you in all probability is how similar the publishers’ headings are to our Subject Lines, although there was, thankfully, an absence of the suffix -est. They were obviously targeted. One history magazine had, under the title, just the one word, ‘Shaka’. It would mean little to most people, but there was a subheading of ‘Rise of the Zulu Empire’.
Now there’s an example of a perfect Subject Line. Someone teaching email marketing could create a whole lesson on just that one cover. So go out, study the covers of magazines, and your writer’s block should be no more.