Email Marketing 101: Subject Line Repair

I get an email once a week that, as an email marketing manager, makes me sad. The online retailer (who shall remain nameless) sells goods that people really want and can easily afford. They have a loyal following of repeat customers and fans, which probably enables what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, illegal, or immoral. It’s just that they could make one simple change that would dramatically increase their email opens.

Email Marketing 101. Their sin is that the subject line tells me nothing about the actual content. The subject line is the same every week – and looks like something their sending software automatically populated in their email subject line. It says something akin to “news”.

This is a far cry from the subject line rule of thumb: make me open the email.

Out of email marketing curiosity I open the emails and see a header that makes me interested. So why isn’t that in the subject line? To see that header, I first have to click “display images”.  If I were an average reader, why on earth would I click that? I’m busy and I don’t know what they are sending me. It’s over before it begins.

Subject line bottom line. The subject line is your glimmering window of opportunity. These subscribers have given you the green light to entice them via their inbox. It is the one place where your readers can’t really ignore you. Don’t throw it away.

Subject line ideas:
“Save 10% off Product Line”    (IE: Save 10% off Brand Coffee)
“Lower Pricing on all Product Type”  (IE: Lower Pricing on all Specialty Blends)
“Special News or Product Information” (IE: All Coffee Now Fair Trade Certified) 
“Sale Announcement”  (IE: Year End Specialty Blend Blowout Sale)

Feel free to adapt these for your own use. As always, avoid punctuation, skip the words “sale” and “money”, and don’t be gimmicky. But please: do something to tell your reader what just landed in their inbox.