I just reviewed dozens of subject lines from gardening company emails, in search of the truly enticing as well as those that never should have hit an inbox. All were evaluated with three criteria in mind:
1. Is the subject of the email clearly identified?
2. Is there a benefit?
3. Is the message conveyed in 40 to 50 characters (the maximum most recipients see in their in box)?
Here are some prime examples of what NOT to do:
July Monthly Update. No topic. No benefit. No offer. No urgency. No open!
Perennials Again. Sounds like that was written by someone who was bored with their job.
The Rose Blows. Huh?
P. Allen Smith Gardening Newsletter – Basil Varieties. I don’t mean to pick on P. Allen Smith, but he makes the common mistake of repeating a long newsletter title at the beginning of every newsletter. It’s especially unnecessary here since the “from” line is firstname.lastname@example.org. Most recipients probably receive the email with the subject line truncated and never see the newsletter topic in their in box.
Garden & Landscape Tips, Summer 2009: Issue 15. Well, “garden & landscape tips” promises a benefit, albeit a rather generic one and not particularly compelling. But “Summer 2009” and “Issue 15” don’t sell at all. In fact, they’re simply two different ways of identifying the issue in question, a waste of valuable selling space.
Remember, the subject line and “from line” are the two elements that people rely on when deciding whether to open or delete your email, so it’s worthwhile crafting the strongest open line possible.
Stay tuned for some good examples of email subject lines in our next post.