The Emarketing Blog

Do-it-yourself Online Event Management and Digital Marketing Tips to Help Your Organization Succeed

If the Subject Line Doesn’t Poke ‘Em in the Eye, Maybe You Need a Better Stick

Posted on | October 20, 2009 | No Comments

Words, by themselves, are meaningless. It’s how you rack them that counts. 

Poke 'em in the eye with your Subject Line!

Poke 'em in the eye with your Subject Line!

So, it shouldn’t be NEWS that the words you line up in your email Subject Line have to capture your addressees’ attention.  The subject line is to electronic mail what envelope graphics or multi-dimensional packaging are to postal mail.  Anything that creeps through a mail slot today or is waiting like a patient puppy on someone’s doorstep (because it didn’t fit into the mailbox) HAS to be oozing oddness or serendipitously personalized to get opened.  With ‘real’ mail there are a thousand possible ways to make something stand out.

It’s not that way with email.  The permutations of the Subject Line are what? Upper/lower case, length, character combinations, language, hmmmm?  There’s no color option. No graphics.  Just text. Hurray, you like a challenge. That’s why you’re in marketing.

Listen, the way to make your Subject Line work is to make your words so powerful they literally poke your reader in the eye.  Flex your keyboard fingers so that they tap out words that resonate, intrigue, bemuse, titillate or, otherwise, persuade your readers to PAY ATTENTION.  Line them up. Lay them down. Roll them around. Make them stand up and salute. But, yes, use those words to poke ‘em in the eye!

And be succinct, because study after study confirms the relationship between longer subject lines and lower open rates.  Technical limitations limit the number of characters some email engines display in the Subject Line. If your email list includes a combination of Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail users, you want to default to the lowest common denominator.  That leaves you with – Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! – around 40 characters to play with.  With increasing use of mobile devices for reading email, it’s more important than ever to be S&S: Short and Savvy. 

So, what’s a good marketer to do?  T-E-S-T.  And test some more.  More on that in a later post…

In the meantime, write SNAPPY and carry a heavy stick!

Related Posts:


Leave a Reply