It is a truth of email marketing, universally accepted, that readers scan the content. It is also true that they spend just one or two seconds reading the Subject line when confronted by your latest creation in their inbox. You might think your email lists are populated by your friends but even if it is true, you must accept that they will grudgingly allow little time to take it all in.
To bring up legal constraints first of all: the Subject line must not mislead. Mind you, it would be self destructive to do so. Putting false claims anywhere in email marketing is one sure way of getting subscribers to opt out of your emails lists.
However, that does not mean you can otherwise please yourself what you include. The overriding requirement is for brevity. You have less than a dozen words to capture their attention and encourage them to open it. A wasted word can lead to a wasted email.
Avoid the classic subject mistakes, such as all caps, excessive, or some suggest any, punctuation, and being confusing, patronising, boring or repetitious. There is the additional one to steer clear of, and one which many ignore, and that is trying to sell. This is not a subject for the Subject line.
Its only function is to get the reader to open the email. Everything else is secondary and is to be avoided. In ten words or so anything that dilutes the main function of the email detracts from it. There is no need to convince – that is the purpose of the body of the email.
You must intrigue and excite your recipients, making them want to know what is in the email itself. What phrases and words will do this for you depends on your subscribers, and you know them best, but there are some eternal truths out there.
If you want to show the high quality of your product, do it in a way that does not offend.
“Avoid looking like a chav.”
Might well sum up their desire but they will also want to be treated with respect so “High quality at low, low prices” protects everyone’s dignity.
Give them a reason to open the email there and then rather than leave it in their inbox to be forgotten. Words like Now, Instant, Last scan well and encourage action.
Do not try and boost your own ego. You might want to boast of your latest green creation: “Our technology gives big reductions on emissions”, what your readers want to know is: “Carbon emissions cut by 90%”.
Ninety per cent has a lovely ring to it.
You will have worked out that you do not explain. However, precision is essential. Tell them that it is “Two for one”. You can also play to conceit. If offering the latest tablet technology, you can say Android if you believe that Marvin will not spring to their minds.
If it is too vague you will leave them cold, too detailed and they will not bother. Email marketing software will show you when you still have work to do and when you have it spot on.