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1 Writing Effective Subject Lines By now you are probably getting pretty anxious to get out there and send your first promotion. You might even have a great idea all ready for a campaign that you re sure will send subscribers flocking to your site. However, no matter how great your idea is, how compelling the message is, or how enticing your offer is, your whole campaign will fail if people delete your before they even read it. Because of the huge amounts of mail people need to sift through, it s not surprising that people are quick to delete any message that doesn t immediately catch their eye and show that it affects them personally. It s also of special importance to you that your s don t get dismissed by their recipients as spam. Think about how often you check your own and find tons of messages with subject lines like this: MAKE $50,000 PER WEEK GUARANTEED!ǁ DYNAMITE STOCK PICK AT $0.35!!!ǁ newsletterǁ THIS ISN T SPAMǁ Do you ever open s like these? Of course you don t! The subject lines alone are dead giveaways that these are spam s. They yell at you, they don t address you personally, and perhaps most importantly, they don t offer a clear benefit that makes you want to open them. Now consider this for a moment: Do any of your legitimate opt-in s get mistakenly deleted by customers because they assume from the subject line that the message is spam?

2 Do even more of your messages get deleted because the recipient doesn t see any obvious benefit in opening them, doesn t recognize the sender, or has no idea as to what the message is about? There are certain phrases (it doesn t matter if they are in the subject line or the body of the ) that can be picked up by spam filters, which will keep the from being delivered to its intended recipient. Be careful of including these phrases: Money back Credit Cards accepted Extra income SPECIAL PROMOTION Order today Order Money-back guarantee 100% satisfied Check or money order The most important thing you can ask yourself to determine if your subject line will be effective or not is: Does this subject line make the reader want to open and read your message? You re goal is to send out s with subject lines that are impossible to ignore. Through experience and careful testing, we have discovered some techniques and secrets that will help to guarantee that your s won t fall through the cracks. Through this lesson, we will include detailed, specific information based on real

3 marketing and testing that we ve done over the years that will help ensure that your recipients take that crucial first step and actually open your s. Snagging your readers attention by using their names. The main secret to writing a good subject line is to personalize it. As you learned in the previous lesson, there isn t another single technique that can boost your response rate as much as personalization. Perhaps you ve noticed how a good salesperson will find out your name and then use it every now and then when then talk to you? That s because this is a great way to establish trust and build a rapport. If you use someone s name, they start to feel as if you have a relationship with them. In addition, nothing can get someone s attention faster than using their name. Of course, typing every recipient s name into the subject line of every that you send out is unrealistic. It s way too much work to do once your list grows to more than 50 or 100 people. Luckily your service provider can automate your personalization process. Look at Get Response at Get Response offers mail merge personalization that can save you a lot of time and energy. Personalization is a lot easier than most people think. Here s how it works Say, for example, that you are running a promotion to sell flowers for Mother s Day. You have already written your promotion, with Can I send your Mom flowers?ǁ as the subject line for your s. You know that you can increase your response rate by personalizing your subject line so that it reads like this, John, can I send your Mom flowers?ǁ Now, you can simply tell AWeber that the subject line should read [firstname], can I send your Mom flowers?ǁ AWeber will then automatically fill in the [firstname] field with the first name of every person on your list. Easy! You can personalize an going out to 100,000 people in no more time than it takes to just write the message.

4 Keep your character count under control. Of course, you want to convey as much valuable information in your subject lines as possible, but keep in mind that most programs limit the number of characters that will be displayed. The best subject line in the world will be wasted if it gets cut off! Your subject line should be short but sweet. You don t need to give up all of your information in the subject line after all, just enough to entice the recipient to open the . A good general rule to follow is to limit your subject lines to characters (which is about four to five words). You can run a quick test by looking at the subject lines of the s in your inbox. The ones that catch your eye will probably be the shorter ones, because they stand out more. Besides keeping your subject line short, you should also try to put your offer or other important element of the subject line at the beginning just in case the whole subject line doesn t get displayed. You also need to remember to leave some room for your customers names (or other elements you are merging into the subject line) because they can vary in length. In general, try to allow eight characters for names. To see how your subject lines will fit into the space allowed by different programs like AOL and Outlook Express, check out the tool available at This useful little tool will also show you how your fromǁ name will appear to your recipients. The art of understated formatting. One sure sign of a spam s is a subject line that IS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!!!! The very worst spammers usually use all capital letters in their messages. If you follow suit, we can almost guarantee that most of your recipients will assume your message is spam and delete it without even opening it.

5 Using all capital letters is the equivalent of screaming at someone online, and it also makes the words harder to read. Think about when you friends you probably wouldn t use a subject line like WANT TO GET SOME DINNER?ǁ In fact, you probably wouldn t even use title case, as in, Want To Get Some Dinner?ǁ The more your subject line looks like a personal from a friend, the higher of a chance there is that the will be opened. Keep all of the letters lowercase except for the name of the customer or subscriber. This will prevent your s from looking like spam and keep them from being deleted before people even get a chance to see what you have to say. In addition, you should also avoid using exclamation marks and dollar signs in your subject lines. These can also get your message flagged as spam and deter people from opening them if they do make it through to their inbox. The four best subject line angles. While you re trying to write your subject lines, think about your reader in front of their computer as their eye catches your subject line in their inbox. When they notice your message, in that instant you need to answer the first question that comes to their mind: So what?ǁ What s in it for me?ǁ Why should I open your message rather than one of the dozens of others I ve gotten?ǁ

6 There are an infinite number of subject lines, but only a few that will answer those questions and peak your recipients interest. Here are four tested approaches to subject lines that can be very effective 1. Share news or make an announcement. One option for your subject line is to make an announcement or share news. People like to be the first to find out something new (especially if your site relates to a specific industry). You could include news about your site or a topic of interest to your audience. 2. Peak the reader s curiosity. One way to make your readers curious about what s in your is to suggest that they are missing out on an important piece of information or offer. For example, your subject line could say, Dave, are you making this common mistake?ǁ If you use this technique, it s important to leave something to the imagination by asking a question that the reader can t ignore Build a sense of urgency. Everyone has had the experience of putting off buying something till the next day only to go back and find that the item has been sold out. In addition, when stores have sales they are for a limited time only. The reason is that this is a great way to motivate people to take action! Two good ways to create a sense of urgency in your subject lines are to limit either time ( Jan, just three days leftǁ) or quantity ( Michael, last 30 copies available nowǁ). This is an especially effective approach to use when you are sending out a follow-up mailing. For example, you could send out your first promotion, let s say for a members onlyǁ baseball lesson. You could then send out a follow-up message a few days later with a subject line that says, Alex, only three spots left.ǁ This can be a very effective way to nudge people into taking action.

7 4. Emphasize how the recipient will benefit from reading your message. Another good way to encourage people to read your s in your subject line is to state exactly how the reader will benefit from opening the ( Sarah, save money every time you flyǁ). Out of the four angles we ve talked about, this one will be the most successful. Tell your readers exactly how they will benefit from reading your , whether it be by saving money, time, making their lives easier, etc. Even better would be if you could state a benefit and peak your reader s curiosity at the same time ( Steve, take 8 strokes off your gameǁ). The key to being successful with subject lines that emphasize benefits is to think of your product or service from your customer s point of view: How will your customer benefit from taking the time to read your message? What will your customer learn? Will your product or service save your customer time? Will your product or service save your customer money? Will your product or service improve your customer s life somehow? Relating your subject line to the content of your message. No matter which of the four angles discussed above you decide to pick for the subject line of your next promotion, you need to make sure it relates to the body of your message (and this connection should be obvious very early on in the body of the message). Actually, under the CAN-SPAM Act, you are legally required to include a subject line that is authentic and not misleading.

8 People don t like to be fooled or tricked into doing something. Trying to trick your readers into opening your s will damage your reputation and the trust and respect they have in you. You can avoid all this by simply ensuring that your subject line relates to your s message. Your readers should be able to tell what the subject line was all about after reading the first few paragraphs of your . For example, if your subject line was, Dan, are you making this common mistake?ǁ and your doesn t tell what that mistake is, then the recipient will feel deceived and your credibility will definitely suffer. When to mix things up, and when to stay consistent. In general, you should make it a rule not to use the same subject line for each mailing. The second time you send out an with the same subject line, you will see a huge drop in your response rate as compared to the first time you sent it out. The reason for this is that when people start to see the same information again and again, they just naturally start to ignore it. You wouldn t send the same to your customers repeatedly, so why would you do so with your subject line? There is, however, one exception to this rule, and that is if you send out a regular mailing like a newsletter. The reader is already expecting it, so in this situation you could use the same subject line (for example, the name of the newsletter). In this case, your rule should be that if someone is expecting an from you (such as a newsletter, daily quote, or tip of the week) and this follows the same format every time, then you should keep your subject line consistent. People signed up for this specifically, so they will be looking for it. If, though, you are sending a promotional to a customer because you ve built a relationship with them (one they don t expect to get on a specific day though), then you should test two or three different subject lines to see what will convince them to open the .

9 Summing up. We talked about one of the most important aspects of marketing in this lesson: how to write strong subject lines that will compel people to open and read your s. You will gain a huge competitive edge over your competition if you can consistently produce subject lines that will get your s opened and read. One of the best ways to catch your readers attention is to personalize your subject lines using their names. You can use an management service like Get Response to do this automatically. This will make sure that your promotions get the attention they deserve. Personalizing is just one element of writing a successful subject line though. Another key is to remember the art of understated formatting. Remember to avoid annoying capitalization, exclamation marks, and dollar signs. Including these things will risk getting your flagged as spam and deleted before it is even read. Besides all of this, there are also four key angles you can approach your subject lines from that have proven to be effective in marketing: 1. Share news or make an announcement. 2. Peak the reader s curiosity. 3. Create a sense of urgency. 4. Emphasize how the reader can benefit from reading your . Try one of these approaches the next time you are planning an promotional campaign. In addition, remember to keep your subject lines short and sweet preferably no more than characters.

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