Almost every day I get an email in my inbox with a subject line something like this, “Oops, I sent you the wrong link earlier today. Click here for the right one.”
Granted, I’m on a lot of lists. I study marketing and writing, and I like to look at what other people do in their marketing campaigns.
When I first saw an “Oops” subject line I thought, “Oh wow, I’ve made mistakes like that!” and felt badly for the person’s goof up.
When I read a similar subject line the second time, I thought, “Hmmm, people can be so sloppy in their work.”
After that I thought, “I’m not falling for it. This is a cheap and tricky way to email an offer twice in one day.” I’ve seen this subject line too many times and now it feels like a ploy. I think it’s an overused ploy.
Some marketing channels will tolerate, or even welcome multiple shares in a day. Email isn’t one of these channels.
Email marketing is a great way to reach your audience. You can segment your lists and personalize your messages. Email marketing is easy to track, test and tweak. Email feels, oddly, like old-school technology, but it can still have a very important place in your marketing plan. If you use tricks, however, your email recipients won’t be forgiving and you’ll end up in the trash, or worse, flagged as spam.
Let’s talk about three email marketing approaches that are on purpose, and don’t employ tricks to get people to open your email.
Tell the Truth
We use this method with our SiteSell newsletter mailings, and it works well. (Working well means achieving a consistently good open rate in this case). People like, appreciate and open emails with clear and honest subject lines.
For example, a recent email subject line for the SiteSell newsletter was, “A Solopreneur May Not Be What You Think [Video Inside].” The newsletter featured an article explaining the solopreneur mindset, and helping readers to discover their inner solopreneur.
We had a lot of excited feedback.
Our formula is this: the email subject line includes the title of the article and the type of bonus material that is included with the newsletter. We usually include multiple bonuses with the newsletter, but we have found that people like videos, so our subject lines mostly feature the bonus like this: “[Video Inside].”
Tell ‘Em What They Get
SBI! owners get a regular newsletter that shares important industry information and teaches them about updates to their accounts. Because SiteSell continually updates and improves SBI!, and owners get these frequent updates at no charge, we use a newsletter as just one way to inform SBI! owners what their latest upgrades are.
Subject lines for these emails are simple: we want our customers to know what they’re getting, so the names of the newest features go in the subject lines. For example, a recent subject line was, “[Name], Custom Responsive Designs and New Contest.”
As you can see in this case the subject line used three important elements to get the reader’s attention:
- name (a person’s name will always stand out to him)
- what the latest new SBI! feature is (what’s the newest cool feature?)
- bonus: a contest (piques curiosity)
Just Give It a Headline
Headlines have worked in newspapers and in direct marketing for something like forever. If they weren’t effective, we’d be using something else. Why not use this simple method in your email campaign subject lines?
One useful tool for gauging effectiveness of a headline is the Advanced Marketing Institute (AMI) Headline Analyzer.
To use the Headline Analyzer, simply type in your proposed headline, choose an industry close to yours in the drop down menu, and submit for analysis. The tool will score your headline and give it an Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Score which AMI explains like this…
This score indicates that your headline has a total of [your score here]% Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Words. To put that in perspective, the English language contains approximately 20% EMV words.
And for comparison, most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words in headlines.
A perfect score would be 100%, but that is rare unless your headline is less than five words.
Like your score? Great! Go to press.
Don’t like your score? Rewrite and test again until you get a strong headline that you like, that conveys your topic accurately.
Bonus Round: Emoji
In the past few months we’ve seen more and more email marketers take advantage of new technology that enables emoji in email subject lines. The jury is still out on this practice. Use them or don’t use them, but we encourage you to test for effectiveness. Using emoji in your email subject lines might just be a passing fad. Or who knows? Maybe emoji will lead to the next technology and we’ll be watching videos in our subject lines in the near future, thinking, “Wow, remember when all we could do with a subject line was read the words. How on earth did we stay in business?”
The Closing Bell
If what you’re doing is interesting and for real, there’s no reason to try to trick your readers into opening your emails. Above all, give value first. Your readers already raised their hands and asked for you to keep them updated, so they already like you. Don’t lose their trust by playing games.
Ready to Learn More?
Join SBI! today and get incredible education about building your own online business. SBI! includes email marketing tools so you can stay in touch with readers with their permission, in a variety of ways. Join us today!