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Posted October 28, 2015 by Zenreach

How NOT to Write Effective Email Subject Lines

Email offers a highly efficient way to reaching potential customers. According to the Direct Marketing Association, it has an average ROI of 4300 percent!

There’s one big catch though: To take advantage of email’s enormous potential, you need to get people to actually open your email. Having email end up in the trash after you spent time and effort crafting its message is disheartening.

The best way to avoid this problem is to write catchy email subject lines. Why? Because the headline is the split second you have to capture people’s attention and convince them to open the message and see what you have to say.

There is a right way and a wrong way to create an email headline. Here are three examples that were definitely done the wrong way, and some tips on how you can fix them to become the attention grabbers your customers want to read.

Example 1: The Spam Headline

!!!!OPEN ME AND YOU WILL GET YOUR FREE GIFT!!!

There are numerous errors in this email headline:

    1. Too much punctuation– it looks like spam, which many subscribers naturally tune out.
    1. All capitals– again, it looks like spam and will be ignored, not only by humans, but by SPAM filters before it can even get to a real person.
    1. Excessive use of ‘free’–words that are too sales-y, like ‘free’ or ‘percent off’ tend to be discounted by readers.
  1. No personalization. Emails that are relevant have a higher likelihood of being opened.

Instead, try a subject like: “Happy Holidays, [Name]! Next drink’s on us.”

It’s personal, direct, and simple. Exactly what a customer wants.

Example 2: The “No One Has That Much Time To Read That” Headline

The holidays are right around the corner, did you finish your shopping yet? Try a gift card to everyone’s favorite restaurant!

This headline also has several errors, but the one that stands out the most is the sheer length. Subject lines should be short and to the point so that customers can easily scan them and see if the email is worth reading.

Instead, try a subject like: “[Name], don’t panic. We have the perfect gift !”

Again, it’s simple, personal, and to the point. It connects with those last minute shoppers in about half the length!

Example 3: The ‘Didn’t We Already Get That One?’ Headline

Email 1: Open me! I can give you 20% off your next purchase.

Email 2: Open this email! We have an amazing discount!

Email 3: Want 20% off? Open this email!

Notice a pattern? All of these headlines say basically the exact same thing. A new subscriber might be interested in the first one and may eye the second, but by the third they will just ignore you. If you want your email marketing to be successful, you have to avoid being too promotional and you need to change up your subjects to keep it fresh.

Instead, try subjects like:

Email 1: We like to give our friends gifts, like 20% off.

Email 2: Our gift guide for saying ‘I Love You’ on Christmas

Email 3: Fall means fresh tastes– try these new dishes!

These emails, while all promotional in nature, offer the customer something different each time. These subject lines pique attention, without being cheesy or spammy.

Email is an extremely effective way to reach potential customers, but you have to convince them to open your email first! Creating great email subject lines can do incredible things for your open and click-through rates, and have an even stronger effect at bringing customers back to your restaurant or bar.


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