Last week Adam Holden-Bache from Mass Transmit and I were interviewed by Refreshing News, a Coca-Cola publication for the food and beverage industry. The topic was email marketing subject lines. They were gathering tips on how to increase the likelihood of an email message being opened.
They were especially in the market for unique and unconventional tips, and examples of earth-shattering campaigns. I’m sure that what we discussed wasn’t exactly what they were looking for because the truth is: getting a single message opened should NOT be the end goal. Here’s the bullet-points from the interview:
What you should focus on
- Recognition, Interest, Action. — Not just on Opens.
- Consumer Experience and long term revenue — Less on single-instance Open Rate
Research and experience tells us…
- Short subject lines works best, but don’t sacrifice on message just for the sake of it.
- Subject lines with company names in them do better, at least in the short run but does that work for you?
- Don’t use First Name personalization, instead use product or content preferences, interests, past purchases, web site activity to make message more relevant to the unique end-user.
- The best performing subject lines tell what’s inside.
- Lead but don’t mislead.
- Preview-text is a powerful tool, and great place to use first name personalization.
Try these tactics
- Instill a sense of urgency, it drives action. “Order by Midnight: Save 40%”
- Use data, such as known demographics and customers history. “Men’s Cardigans – BOGO Sale”
- Use emotion. “Your wife will LOVE this cardigan”
- Use controversial Headlines. “Cardigans Linked to World Peace”
- Use teasers (from time to time). “What’s our most popular cardigans?
Real world examples
- “3 Hours Only! 40% off + FREE Shipping” – Banana Republic
- “HootSuite Pivot – CONFIDENTIAL & INTERNAL” – HootSuite
- “Mystery Coupon…what will YOUR savings be?” – Brookstone
- “The Truth About Email List Rental” – Indiemark
- “Take your pick: Our 9 Favorite Dresses” – Retailer
- “How to Impress Your Cranky CEO” – Software Company
- “Countdown to the Awards Gala: Reason #3 to Attend” – Event Producer
- “5 Miserable Ways You Could Die (Infographic)” – Advanced Riskology
- Find your voice, but mix it up (remember too that clutter is an issue, especially during the inbox busy season)
- Getting a single email is one thing, a sustainable email program is something else.
- Always test! Use the available tools or do it manually, but test. Put your best foot forward but don’t assume.
I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts and see more examples, please comment and contribute!
– Scott | Indiemark