Email marketing is a fiercely competitive field, and one whose trends shift continually. Yesterday’s hottest trends and most clever ideas in email subject lines are today’s sure-fire tickets to your recipients’ trash folders. For example, writing too-long subject lines, like the title of this post, which most email clients would display as “Are Your Email Subject Lines…” Writing email subject lines that people will actually open requires creativity, but it also requires authenticity and continually fresh copy on your part. The following types of failing email subject lines were pulled from actual emails sent by business-to-business marketers.
- Fluffy Promises – Writing a subject line that allows the recipient to assume she knows what you’re going to say without actually reading your content is one of the most common ways to go wrong. “These 3 Things Will Help You Lose Weight Now,” for example. Most readers are going to look at that and think, “So, I should eat less, exercise more, and buy whatever expensive diet supplement you’re selling? Got it. Next email.” It doesn’t matter what your email actually says, because you’ve invited the recipient to assume that they already know it.
- Emojis & Emoticons – As email-marketing tactics evolve, so do those of spammers, and those of email client developers and network security specialists. Most business email servers and clients will automatically filter out messages that include emoticons and emojis in their subject lines, even if the sender is on their approved list. In some cases, the recipient will never see those messages because they’ll go straight to Trash, and in other cases, they’ll be captured in a Spam folder to rot in shame.
- Fake Apologies – Sending out emails that offer an apology in their subject line really need to contain a genuine apology for a genuine problem. The first time your email list recipients open an email from you under the subject line, “We’re So Sorry,” and the contents go on to say that you’re sorry this hot deal can’t last forever; they’re going to stop opening your email messages. It’s a lame trick that will leave people with the impression that you think they’re stupid.
- Asking For Favors – “Do Me A Small Favor” sounds like the email subject line for a charity appeal at best, and a XXX-rated website a worst. If someone has signed up for your B2B mailing list, they’ve done so because you’ve offered them information they can use, not to do you favors.
- Mystery Marketing – Strictly speaking, mystery marketing involves building hype for a product that is yet to be revealed. In email marketing, there are several variants and tangents, which are painfully ineffective, such as the Red Herring and Much Ado About Nothing. One recent example of the Red Herring is an email from a telecomm company, under the subject line, “Do you like puppies.” The email’s content had nothing whatsoever to do with puppies; dogs have surprisingly little use for telecomm services. Nearly every email box in existence is filled with examples of Much Ado About Nothing. “Push your income over the 6-figure mark,” exclaims an email advertising printer ink.
Email Subject Lines That People Will Actually Open
If your email-marketing program needs a boost, well-crafted email subject lines will increase your success rate significantly. Contact Design & Promote for a consultation and evaluation, and we’ll help you create marketing emails that people actually read!