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Email Marketing and Making a Good First Impression

Subject lines are key in email marketing.  They determine whether a contact reads your message or not.

In October 2011, I posted a blog about understanding Email Marketing & Designing the Right Message for your Members.  This blog post focused on understanding which browser or device (desktop computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.) the recipient uses to view your message.

Along the same lines, your subject title deserves planning.  Consider the following:

LENGTH: Some research suggests keeping subject line to no more than 50 characters for desktop users, and less than 30 characters for people using mobile devices.

Because it can be difficult to determine how your messages are read (unless you survey those receiving your content), we would recommend aiming for the middle (between 35-45 characters maximum).  Within that short space, you need to deliver a subject line with impact, so that people see potential value in the content and want to open your email to view the rest of the information/offer.

PROMINENCE:  Because your subject line could get cut off, put your most important information first.  Instead of “XYZ Association’s National Conference Registration Now Open” try “Register Now - XYZ Association National Conference”.         

PRECISION:  Vague messages are less likely to be opened than those with a specific topic (e.g. Your Information Request).   Be careful about static email subject lines, as they may get overlooked over time.  For instance, our newsletter is titled “Greenfield Insights”, and it appears on our website as such, however when sending it out via email our subject line focuses on the topic of the email first. Examples are:
BUILD TRUST: Maintaining trust with your members/subscribers will ensure that they continue to be engaged with your messages, and act on what you have to say.  One way to ensure that you build and maintain trust is to ensure that your subject line coincides with the message your email contains.

TEST-TEST-TEST:  Test your message with different subject lines to see which subject line is more effective.  Always test at least two different approaches.
  • Example 1:  Subject Line A:  XYZ Tradeshow – Registration Now Open
  • Example 2:  Subject Line B:  Five Reasons to Attend XYZ Tradeshow
 If you can, deploy the test first, and then use the most popular subject to deploy the rest of your messages.
Give it a try, your audience may surprise you with more engaged activity!