Why I won’t open your emails. Ever.  

My inbox is still overflowing with post-holiday savings, offers and other errata. You’re probably dealing with the same email overload.

No surprise when you consider that the average office worker receives 120 emails every day (source: TechJury).  Who has time to look at all of this?

woman looking at her laptopIf you’re like most people, you scan your inbox looking for important emails – from clients, colleagues, key business journals and resources you’ve subscribed to. The rest of the email gets ignored or trashed.

I write email subject lines as part of the content development work I do.  So I’m always on the prowl for clever copy. A good way to discover subject lines that work is to take note of the ones you open vs. the ones you ignore or delete. What is it about them that sparks your curiosity?

What Makes A Good Subject Line?

A good subject line speaks to a need, want or desire. Something to make you say “Yep. I need that.” A lousy subject line, on the other hand, speaks to nothing. It’s boring. Blah. Nondescript.

Here are some actual subject lines that went immediately into my trash bin last week:

  • This is for rickey
  • Your request has been granted
  • We Need Your Confirmation ASAP!
  • what I’ll do for you
  • Next Steps
  • How are you doing?
  • You are so Kind and Down to Earth.
  • Happiness
  • Please Please Forgive me
  • Hello from the other side…
  • I’m personally asking…
  • I have one question

As you can see, none of them speak to a need or want. Most are stupid.There’s not a single reason for me to open any of these. So I didn’t.

Subject Lines That Work

On the other hand, here are some subject lines that caught my eye and got my click…..and why:

WIN: A Yoast plugin of your choice
Why? I use Yoast. It’s an SEO tool that I like a lot. A free plugin would be lovely. Actually. I click on ALL emails from Yoast. Their products helps me do a better job of optimizing web content.

Nice, You’ve Earned A Reward
Why: The sender is Kriser’s Natural Pet. The reward is a $10 voucher on products or services. I have a dog. We like and use Kriser’s food, grooming and daycare services. Who doesn’t like rewards!

Here’s your year in music, all wrapped up
Why: It’s from Spotify – my favorite source for streaming music. It was a kick to see the 754 different songs I listened to last year.

Anatomy of a Unicorn Business and How to Become One
Why: I’ve heard the term but don’t know much about it and am eager to learn more. The sender, Small Business Trends, is one I subscribe to because I know I’ll always learn something new.

This exercise can boost your memory by 30%
Why: The sender, mindbodygreen, is a good source of articles on living healthier. Who doesn’t want to live healthier?

PW#709 – How to make more time for writing
Why: As I mentioned before, I’m a writer. I ALWAYS need more time to write. I subscribe to this — Daphne Gray-Grant’s Power Writing newsletter. I learn something new from every issue.

Rickey, these 7 videos will transform your business ??
Why: I’m on the  sender’s email list. Denise Wakeman is a super knowledgeable online marketing pro. I am always eager to learn about new or better tools and tactics to grow my businesses.

Obviously,  emails that come from trusted sources — business associates, clients, colleagues — will generally get opened despite the subject line. These people are already in your database of valued senders.    But for everyone else, your subject line needs a hook.

6 Tips To Help You Write Better Subject Lines

If this is the year you’ve vowed to ramp up your email marketing, keep these 6 tips in mind:

  1. Spend time on your subject line. It’s the difference between your email getting opened or trashed.
  2. Make it clever or creative, ideally both.
  3. Speak to the needs or wants of your recipients.
  4. Create a sense of urgency.
  5. Keep it brief.
  6. Segment your lists for your various target markets.

For more info on ramping up your emails, here’s a blog post we wrote last year on how to create effective marketing campaigns.

And if you still need help, call us.

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