All About Email: Capturing Attention
Here are some subject lines with more pizzazz:
- Old Navy: "Mystery Offer Ends Tomorrow! Save up to 50%." Intriguing.
- Only Natural Pet Store: "Important News About Your Cat's Food + Save Every Time You Order!" Personalized for type of pet.
- Wine Enthusiast: "Nothing Says I Love 'U' Like Free Shipping!" A Valentine's Day promotion without saying Valentine's Day.
- Sephora: "Sample a new skincare routine - free Gift with purchase."
- Patagonia: "FREE SHIPPING code + Ice Climbing Recommendations." Sale plus a captivating headline.
- Omaha Steaks: "ABSOLUTELY LAST DAY | Below employee pricing | FREE Shipping | 4 FREE Tartlets." All about offer in several ways.
- Office Depot: "Shop Smart and Stretch Your Dollars in 2010." Appeals to budget-conscious consumers.
Conventional wisdom says promotional subject lines should be short. You'll note that several of these are longer or introduce more than one concept. The Patagonia subject line, for example, promotes a special offer, but also includes an element that could be very intriguing to outdoor enthusiasts.
Industry pundits also suggest all-caps should never be used, because it might trip spam filters. Yet several of these examples use caps for emphasis, and they did make it to my inbox.
The only way to know if these techniques work for your business is to test. A/B subject line testing is routine for most email systems.
Subject Line Bloopers
The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but don't use these techniques for your email program:
- A fine chocolates marketer: "Company name." No value added.
- A consumer retailer: "subject line." A common proofing mistake — oops!
- An apparel cataloger: "As seen in the The New York Times." "The" appears twice, another all-too-easy proofing mistake.
- Writing instruments marketer: "'Company' has added new closeout items." Boring.
- Computer marketer: "Thank [Company] it's Thursday. $599 laptop, $439 desktop & more." And why should I thank you?
- Computers and electronics marketer: "'Company' Business Outlet: Warehouse Sale." Used in eight of its last 10 emails.
- Computers and electronics marketer: "Prices slashed again!" Used three consecutive weeks.
Your readers expect professional, branded communications. Use subject lines to provide additional information, always have another pair of eyes — or more — proofread all elements, and don't insult readers with sheer repetition of one sales pitch.