What makes a great subject line? What will make someone open and read your email?

Not all marketing tips need to be new and flashy. Sometimes we need to remember the basics – because if you don’t get the basics right, nothing that follows will be worth much.

The basic I’m talking about is email SUBJECT LINES.

On average, I get around one hundred emails a day – not counting spam. I read things by clients or friends first (depending on how under the pump I am) and then the other 30 or so left are marketing or subscription emails. Of these, I probably scan 5-6 and actually read 3-4, as I’m just too busy to get to the rest. I suspect that’s pretty standard for many people’s whose job involves computers and communication.

So, what makes the cut.

I tend to lean towards reading my fave blog emails regardless, but on a busy day (most days), the emails that catch my eye are the ones that get looked at. And they catch my eye because of their subject line. Again, I’m just like everyone else. You need to get their attention before you have a chance to say ANYTHING.

So what makes a good subject line?

It needs to SUCK YOU IN. You have to want to read it.

You can do this by:

– being clever or intriguing

– packing in a lot of information so that one of several items is bound to appeal to people

– have a really compelling, time limited, DIFFERENT call to action

You cannot do it by being dull and pedestrian and revealing nothing new or enticing.

Sometimes you’re rushed, sometimes you’re not feeling creative, sometimes the client won’t let you write what you want to write…there’s always an excuse for doing a poor job.

But if you want to know what works, you just have to consider what would catch your eye on a busy day. If you don’t think what you’ve written will suck someone in, go back to the drawing board.

PS. A quick tip is to include the person’s name in the subject line. Everyone is obsessed with themselves (if you don’t believe me, consider this: who do you look for first in a group photo that you’re in?).

PPS. What does a great subject line look like more specifically?

There’s a lady I’ve never met, who I’ve no affiliation with, who I’ve never bought from, that I think is a fantastic subject line writer. April Bowles authors a blog and runs courses on launching/running/marketing creative businesses. She’s primarily marketing to women that run craft businesses, sell on Etsy, that sort of thing. I’m am not this demographic and I don’t know how I found her, but I stay subscribed to her list because her emails are great – and her subject lines are what suck me in every time.

Here’s some recent ones:

Last Call for Blogging for Your Creative Business + Why I almost chugged vodka at 10am
This would be so embarrassing…
Would you have done things differently today if you only had a few years to live?
Why the “But I’m Not a Good Writer” Excuse Sucks + A Lesson in Rap

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