I’ve talked about the importance of strong subject lines before and I will continue to stress this point. The reality is, weak or bad subject lines can put the kibosh on your entire email campaign.
Here are 5 deadly things you want to avoid at all costs when you are creating your subject lines:
Pitching Your Product
Don’t ever pitch your product right in the subject line. That is a move only for the very desperate. Think of your subject line as a first date. You want to take things slow but definitely get them interested to know more about you. You wouldn’t walk up to a blind date and plant a big wet one on them, would you? (You wouldn’t, would you….?)
DON’T USE ALL CAPS
Read this sentence. I SAID READ IT. Do you see the difference? Using all caps is bad etiquette as it is essentially shouting at your reader. If ever there were a sure way to not get someone to click on your email, it’s using all caps.
Do not use a whole bunch of exclamation points at the end of your subject line. It’s unprofessional and most likely, unwarranted. Using 4 or 5 exclamation points is what a 12 year old girl would do when writing her best friend about the unbelievably awesome Justin Bieber concert.
Use carefully chosen words to get the reader excited not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(!) That last was real.
Don’t Pretend They Know You When They Don’t
When you’ve built your own list from scratch and have taken the time to build trust with your readers before sending offers, then yes, you can be friendly and familiar in your subject lines.
But when you have rented or purchased a list of total strangers, it’s not really ethical to trick them into thinking you are someone they know.
“Hey, John, I was just thinking about you.”
This subject line is clearly attempting to get the reader to click with the hopes it’s a message from an old friend or acquaintance. Don’t do it.
Do Not Use Tracking Numbers in the Subject Line
Nothing says “I’m a marketer trying to make a buck and in order to do that I have to keep track of all of my marketing data” like a tracking number right in the subject line. Seriously, would you click on it?
Those are the 5 deadly things you should AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!! (see what I did there?)
In Email Marketing, Being Negative Can Be a Positive Thing
Do you know what drives human nature more than anything else? Pain and Pleasure. That’s it. Most people try to experience pleasure and avoid pain on a daily basis, and if you can tap into this, you can get people to take action.
Now many marketers use a positive approach in their campaigns. They talk up all of the benefits of buying their program or purchasing their product. But what I have found with many clients is there is often a better response when we focused on the negatives. What will it ultimately cost the reader if they don’t buy the program or the product we’re pitching.
As with anything in marketing, you need to always think about your target audience first. Never make a threat that is not real just to get a reaction. If you lead with a threat of a negative consequence that is too painful, the audience will shut you out and may even get angry.
So, what are some good examples of bad consequences?
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Test and see which subject lines of yours get more clicks – those with a positive angle or those with a negative one.
Jason is a Web Marketing consultant and the CEO and founder of Digital Harvest, a Tampa-based marketing firm that helps companies increase their online exposure and generate more business.