Nothing quite gets us our attention like a well-written headline; E-mail marketers have known this secret for years. In fact, E-mail has been defined as the killer tool of the Internet age, a way to reach everybody with little cost, little effort and a potential for a major return on investment – if the E-mail sells.
But your online marketing campaign isn’t going to work if it doesn’t get read. In fact, that E-mail you spent all that time and effort into making absolutely pitch-perfect won’t make any difference whatsoever unless you can convince someone to scroll through their inbox and click on your subject line.
The primary objective of sending an online marketing E-mail is served only when it is opened and read – that’s how important your subject line will be to your entire campaign. Your E-mail subject line is essentially the equivalent of a news headline. Without a strong subject, you’re not going to have an impact. So here are five ways to write a subject line so your E-mail gets read:
1. Ask a question that hints at a benefit. For example, “Are you sick of buying the same old widget?” suggests that you may have a better solution for buying widgets. Amp it up to really indicate that you’ve got something to share, as in the case of “Why Can’t All Widgets Be Like THIS Widget?” You’re not stating anything, but the obvious inference is that your widget is superior to others.
2. Don’t use the word “free” in the subject line. Yes, “free” used to be a good attention-grabbing word – before spam filters caught on. Now, people are jaded to the idea of a free lunch online and it’s far less likely to have the dramatic impact you think it will. Your small business marketing can’t compete with the big boys unless you can stay out of the junk folder.
3. Begin the subject line with the first name of the E-mail recipient. There’s nothing that quite grabs attention like hearing our own names. “Bill, here’s what you’ve been missing …” is a better subject line than “Here’s what you’ve been missing …” because it adds a personal touch. Many E-mail programs allow you to insert names automatically.
4. Try to pare it down to five words or less. The longer the subject line, the more likely it is that an experienced E-mail reader will scan right through it and ignore what you took the time to create. Five words is not a hard and fast rule, but if you can cut your subject line down, make sure you do. E-mail marketing is best when concise and enticing.
5. Include a specific reward for reading the email – and add urgency to it. “Your No-Cost eBook Awaits … Four Hours Left” is a far more effective subject line than “Why you should consider checking out this eBook today” because it has the element of urgency.