How often do you use emails in your marketing campaigns? If you do it often, I bet that you do spend a lot of time in the attempt to come up with the perfect message. You reread it over and over again, only to make sure that it is perfect. You use both long and short sentences, but you also include advantages. You include the call to action both in the first lines and the last lines, not to mention about the most important terms. But let me ask you something. How much time do you spend for the subject line? This is the most important part of your package, yet it is often overlooked. A good line will stimulate the receiver to open it. A bad one will send the message directly to trash, without even being opened.
How subject lines can make the difference
I love Honda vehicles. All my friends know it. I am not advertising for this company, but I find its cars to be the most reliable ones in the world. I think I have spent more time cleaning, waxing and polishing it than driving it. A lot of vehicle owners love to show their affection. Therefore, they represent an exquisite market for any kind of product that promises a superior brightness. Here is the subject line from a company that produces all kinds of car and boat maintenance products.
”Alexandru-Adrian, offer your car a show-like polish within minutes!”
First, they had my name. Second, people have the tendency to scan the mailbox from top to bottom and not from left to right (or right to left in some cultures). Therefore, the keywords must be placed in the beginning, so they can be noticed. Once I read my name, I got hit with the main advantage. Since I loved my car, I obviously paid some attention.
There are actually two advantages. First of all, you get the polish that makes you park your car down town, only for random people to admire it. Second, you can do it pretty fast. It looks like you will gain significant results without too much effort.
If you are experienced in direct marketing correspondence, such things should be natural. The subject line is like an envelope, but pay attention to the space you have to fill up. There are no colours, papers, transparent labels or logos, but just a few characters.
Years ago, Anne Holland from Marketing Sherpa used to recommend using 40 characters in the subject line. Since plenty of people check out their emails from smartphones or tablets, 40 characters might be a little too much. The more loaded your mailbox is, the more you try to run away from this activity, especially since plenty of messages have promotional purposes. Most people are just like you. Therefore, the secret stays in your capability to give them a reason to open your email. Just give them the benefit.
Creating the winning subject line
Writing a subject line is not so hard if you know what people want to see.
- Mention all the positive things upfront, so people can spot them. A lot of receivers do not even bother to read the entire line before making a decision.
- Write the message before the subject line, so you have a base for the winning line.