To still be effective in the list business, those marketing vendors need to write catchy, pithy titles. So it was intriguing to see a recent post on subject line writing from Robert Dunhill of Dunhill International List Co., Inc.
His “6 Tips for Creating Effective Email Subject Lines” is exactly what it promises to be — filled with hooks, while getting straight to the point.
Here’s the evergreen post Dunhill published on Oct. 13, suggesting how marketers can create great subject lines:
1. Start With Action Words. Wouldn’t recipients like to … ?
2. Use Numerals. “Research shows that people love numbers and lists,” Dunhill writes. “So offer the reader '3, 4 or 7' (or more) ideas or tips. Numbers assure your reader[s] that if they take a moment to read your message, they’ll receive a quantifiable benefit from reading what’s inside.”
3. Personalize. Using the recipient’s name or location and can help improve open rates, he says. [Editorial note: Be careful with this. Data hygiene may sound boring, but I’ve watched my father recycle direct mail because the marketer misspelled his six-letter last name. Spam buttons may work the same way for recipients like him.]
4. Present a Problem or Ask a Question. “Be sure the answer or solution can be found in your email message,” Dunhill writes.
5. Avoid Beginning Subject Lines With ‘RE:’ or ‘FW:’ He says: “This will annoy people when they realize you are trying to ‘trick’ them into reading your message. Be honest, you don’t want to be labeled a spammer.” [Editorial note: One study found marketers who have one-on-one relationships with recipients actually see higher open rates with these types of subject lines.]
6. Consider Adding a Pre-header to Your HTML Code. “On a mobile email reader (as well as some desktop email clients), the subject line can appear above a pre-header line of text,” Dunhill writes. “If these two lines of copy can work together (rather than just repeating each other) it’s win-win. If you don’t add preheader code to your HTML code, then these readers will see the first line of your email copy. Again, if the first line of your copy connects to your subject line, you will get the same effect as if you added a pre-header.”
What are marketers’ thoughts on Dunhill’s advice?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: And the Best Subject Line Is …