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Email Marketing, Pt. 1: The Subject Line

HDM Admin - Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Welcome to the digital age! Never has there been a better time to get your message to the masses, or to place your product in the hands of target markets. Only one problem: greater amounts of information = greatly lowered attention spans. Don't worry, you've come to the right place, and this post is going to teach you how to pack a punch with your messages, and perfect the art of Email Marketing.

First thing's first: how do you get your message read? How do you make it stand apart from the hundreds of others that are inevitably pouring into inboxes? The almighty Subject Line is the one chance you get for a first impression, so choose your words carefully, and say it with style. Here are some tried and true practices for picking the perfect words.


Do
-Go Local!
People are more prone to respond to what's going on in the city they live in, so if you're in the same place, make a note of it.

-Ask Questions
Questions are proven to perform better, so try building intrigue by piquing the interests and hobbies of your target.

-Use As Few Words As Possible
Easy does it. Your subject line will stand out with a few well-placed words, rather than a full-on explanation -- save the meat for the actual message (remember that whole attention span thing from earlier?) For rule of thumb's sake, try to keep it between 20 - 40 characters, with 50 as your max.


Don't
-Use Special Symbols.
Using hearts or emoticons is certainly tempting, but it's kitschy, and strongly associated with spammers. Stick to what you see on your keyboard.

-Insert "Re:" or "Fwd:"
Unfortunately, this can greatly invalidate your message. Make it seem like this email is completely unique, straight from you to them.

-Ask for help or assistance
Ask not what your client can do for you. You're the one who's supposed to be providing a service, right? It's not inherently terrible, but it comes off as scammy, so try to avoid it.

-Use Numbers
Although flexing figures can help to drive your point home, it's not ideal for first impressions, and you can wear your reader out this way. See if you can't use your words to capture attention instead.

-Use the Recipient's Name
Although you definitely want your message to have a personal touch to it, there is such a thing as overdoing it, and including first or last names can come off as disingenuous. Studies show that subject lines without names as opposed to with names get opened more frequently.


So now you know your do's and don'ts when it comes to crafting the perfect subject. But just to help put you over the top, here's a few tips and techniques to make it really pop!

-Relevancy
This cannot be overstated. With such a small window to reach your potential client, make sure your subject is useful and to the point.

-Identification
Does your target truly know who's messaging them? It may be worth a few extra characters to mention some of the most recognizable aspects of your brand persona.

-Set Yourself Apart Visually
Think about how your mind reacts when you first crack open that inbox. Your eyes take in an initial overview. Therefore, by using brackets or unique capitalization, you can really make your message stand out from the rest.

-Make It Topical - Make It Urgent
By referencing a popular topic, you can immediately pique the readers' interest - this also goes back to the need for relevancy discussed in the first bullet point. Also, playing on the time sensitivity of the message can increase chances of opening.

-What Is The Ultimate End Goal?
Ask yourself: what are you really trying to accomplish with this message? Know your goal, and then figure out the proper call-to-action necessary from the reader to get there, and think about incorporating this into your subject line. Don't be afraid to ask or tell your target to do something (just make sure you explain in the message why it's truly worth their while).

-Try... Try Again.
Trial and error is the name of the game. If you don't find the results you're looking for, don't get disheartened. Just keep tweaking until you find what works.

Email Marketing, and especially crafting the almighty Subject Line, is both a science and an art form. It can take a lot of trial and error to know what works and what doesn't. We encourage you to have fun exploring this vast field of study, using this post as a guide. However, here at Hazel Digital Media, we have invested years of time and energy to this delicate study. Call or Contact Us today to learn more about it, or to let us start creating a strategy for your campaign.

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