Here’s a doozy: according to Statista, 293 billion emails were sent every day in the year 2020. That same year, the total world population was estimated at 7.79 billion, with roughly half of that number representing people with internet access. That means that every person on Earth with internet access is averaging about 76 emails a day. How many of your 76 daily emails do you read? More importantly, how many of the emails you send ever get opened?
We’re swamped with more information than ever before. So, if you want to get through to your email targets, you need to be intentional and strategic. Forget about the body and content of your email; without a strong subject line, you might as well leave your message blank. Without it, it’s going to live out its days in a dusty promotions folder, eventually getting mass-deleted along with all the other unread junk. In order to avoid this fate and make the most of email marketing, you need a strong subject line that will punch right through to your target.
It’s 2021. We’ve had email for over two decades now. Don’t you think it’s time we take things a little less seriously? When it comes to eMarketing, we habitually stick to established form and structure. Not necessarily because it’s successful but because it’s easy and without risk. We’re playing with money, after all - it costs money to run a business -- so we don’t want to take too many risks. But if you understand your target audience, you’ll know which risks are worth taking. And, you'll know how to make the right jokes at the right time.
Modern consumers, especially millennials and younger, pick up on and respect self-awareness. They also notice when it’s missing. Self-deprecation can be a powerful comedic tool. It can also help your email audience relate to you. After all, if you can’t figure out an appropriate subject to make fun of, why not make fun of yourself? Let your audience know your company is made of real people with real thoughts and a real sense of humor. Don’t come off like a robot. If you’re selling vacuum cleaners, does your email subject line read buy our fantastic new vacuum cleaner, or does it read trust us: our vacuum cleaners truly suck?
Alright, so you’re not very funny. Fair enough. That brings us to our next tactic: shock. Shock is the less tasteful cousin of humor. Just like with humor, you’ll need a good understanding of your target audience. However, there’s less need for cleverness here. Your only duty is to say something that cannot be ignored. Truthfully, whether or not your audience responds well to a shocking subject line will depend on their sense of humor
If you’re trying to make a point, sometimes less is more. If you feel like your wordiness is falling on deaf ears, maybe it’s time to make like a Spartan. In the 4th century B.C., Philip II of Macedon sent a message to the rulers of Sparta, saying, “if I invade [Sparta] I shall turn you out.” Their response to this very real military threat was a single word: “if.”
Of course, this was followed by Philip II successfully invading Sparta, running the Spartans off their own property. This was classified only as a dire defeat. But that’s not the point. The point is that maybe, if the Spartans hadn’t responded so tersely, Philip II might not have put forth such an effort to smite them. As far as I’m concerned, that constitutes a successful subject line. Everyone’s so used to being given a spiel. Which one of these stands out as an email subject line to you?
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One of the major symptoms of our shiny new interconnected world is FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. Now that we all know what everyone else is doing at all times, we all suffer a little from that fear. Maybe it’s because of a party we’re missing or possibly a new product we can’t afford. Thankfully for us eMarketers, FOMO is good for business.
If you’re running a promotional email campaign, don’t be afraid to insert a little bit of urgency to get that fear response pumping. Gareth Parkin, CEO of successful UK-based promotional product vendor GoPromotional loves this tactic. “We’ve all come to embrace the strategy of offering exclusive deals via email, or even orchestrating giveaways to boost brand awareness, but even these tried and true techniques will benefit from some manufactured scarcity.” Next time you’re drafting up a mass promotional email, considering introducing scarcity by mentioning time limits. Things like “act fast,” “this week only,” “4 hours left,” or “ends on [insert obnoxiously close date]” will go a long way toward increasing your open rate.