The subject line of an email is the first thing that people will see and in fact in many instances the only thing people will see before they made the decision to open and read, or delete your email marketing.
Depending on the local setting on the mail client recipients of your mass email marketing communication may also see ‘from’ details, and ‘date’ information but other than that, the only element specific to the communication messaging itself is the subject line.
I find it useful to see the subject line of an email communication in the same light as I would see a title in a PPC advert and the <title></title> tag on a webpage.
So how can you make the most of a subject line/field for greater returns and what are the key consideration areas?
Email Recipient & Target Audience Technology
Finding out what devices people are using when they open your emails (or ignore them) and finding out the typical mobile devices in addition to laptops and desktops that people are using is an important consideration to positively affect open rates.
Why is this? Simple.
People using a mobile devise like a Samsung GT-I9100 Galaxy S II, an Apple iPad, a Sony Tablet S (the list is endless nowadays) will have differing screen sizes to view emails and therefore likely to have less visible characters to see than someone using a traditional 14 inch monitor and desktop PC or a laptop user on a 8 inch screen.
Systematically Test your Email Communications
Do this before, during and after bulk email marketing activities.
The single most effective way to improve almost anything online including email marketing is to scientifically test what works and use your results to improve things. A/B split testing, multi variant testing and more.
This doesn’t need to be a complicated activity and most likely taking out the time and setting up a good template testing file in Excel (or something similar) will save hours of work later on.
Get your test template right, get all of the key parameters to test in there and enter in all the information with each marketing activity completed.
Before long this will just form part of your email marketing working practises and you will have lots of management information to optimise your online marketing campaigns.
Understand Why You Are Using Email Marketing In The First Place
Nothing is worse than receiving the same or very similar communication month after month simply because a company wants to put a tick in the box for ‘sent out monthly newsletter’.
If there is nothing interesting, new, relevant, or value adding that you want to communicate to your target audience then don’t send anything out.
Yes, you might miss a handful of responses but by getting those few people to respond you will undoubtedly increase the quantities of people requesting to be removed from your mailing list two fold.
Don’t be an email pest, be an email pleasure.
Your mailing list should be treated the same way as when a customer walks in your office and shakes your hand – don’t misuse your distribution lists, don’t spam people, respect peoples right not to see your communications and give something of value to your recipients.
Direct Messaging Doesn’t Always Mean Being Direct
Repeatedly getting a message of “Buy! Buy! Buy!”, “Now! Now! Now!” just gets boring.
People are hardened to these types of tactics; spam filters know how to filter out these types of messages and people are generally fed up with messaging like this.
Feel free to try it for yourself if you feel that you need to get this out of your system but don’t complain when the responses that you do get are less than fruitful.
If you have something genuinely interesting to tell people, then be interesting and tell them about it, don’t just try to hard sell them it through your email marketing campaign.