The Key to Irresistible Email Subject Lines

Copyblogger.com is a great resource for writing copy and blog content. Contributor Brian Clark recently published an article on email marketing – specifically the importance of a good subject line to get your message opened and read by recipients.

Here’s part of his article:

“Email is back. Despite repeated proclamations of its extinction… You might not reach the average college freshman, but for slightly older types (you know, the ones with the money), email is still the way to go in many lucrative mainstream niches.

“When you’re writing your next email subject line, run it through this checklist, based on the Four “U” Approach:

  • Useful: Is the promised message valuable to the reader?
  • Ultra-specific: Does the reader know what’s being promised?
  • Unique: Is the promised message compelling and remarkable?
  • Urgent: Does the reader feel the need to read now?

“These are the things to specifically focus on with email subject lines:

  • Identify yourself: Over time, the most compelling thing about an email message should be that it’s from you. Even before then, your recipient needs to know at a glance that you’re a trusted source.
  • Useful and specific first: Of the four “U” fundamentals, focus on useful and ultra-specific. There are plenty of others who work at unique and urgent with every subject line — we call them spammers. Don’t cross the line into subject lines that are perceived as garbage. But do throw in a bit of a tease.
  • Urgent when it’s useful: When every email from you is urgent, none is. Use urgency when it’s actually useful, such as when there’s a real deadline or compelling reason to act now.
  • Rely on spam checking software: We all know that certain words trigger spam filters, but there’s a lot of confusion out there about which words are the problem. Is it okay to use the word “free” in a subject line? Actually, yes. All reputable email services provide spam checking software as part of the service or as an add-on.
  • Shorter is better: Subject line real estate is valuable, so the more compact your subject line, the better. Don’t forget useful and ultra-specific, but try to compress the fundamentals into the most powerful promise possible.

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