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BizReport : Email Marketing : May 11, 2009

Subject lines important component of email marketing campaign

Many marketers spend more time honing the main body copy of an email than they do the subject line. However, first impressions count and if an email subject line doesn't catch the eye what's the use in great body copy?

by Helen Leggatt

To cut through the sea of spam currently flooding into consumer inboxes email marketers need to get creative with their subject lines. Each email message needs to shout "If you don't open me you'll miss out on something of real value".

With that in mind, here are six pointers to keep front of mind when penning subject lines.

1. Convey something important, timely or valuable to the recipient. Answer the question every recipient is asking, "What's in it for me?".

2. Don't overpromise or mislead in the subject line. The disappointment felt when the email content doesn't deliver on expectations can damage brand image.

3. By all means tease recipients with a clever subject line, as newspapers do with headlines, but don't make it so cryptic as to be perceived as spam.

4. While your email campaign may be distributed to millions, make each individual recipient feel like the email has been sent with them in mind.

5. Keep subject lines short, under 50 characters, so that they aren't easily truncated.

6. Avoid the use of words that might trigger spam filters such as "free" or "discount", and where possible avoid unnecessary punctuation and use of caps.

The best way to see what works for your particular audience is to split test and compare open and click through rates. In fact, subject lines are perhaps the easiest component of an email campaign to test and yet one of the most important.

Tags: email, email campaign, email marketing, inbox, length, spam, split test, subject line

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