SWEATING THE SUBJECT LINE
Back when I was writing direct mail packages, I would usually start with the order card.
Consummate direct mail writer Malcolm Decker described this vital package component in Million Dollar Mailings as follows: “It’s the net that secures the trout, so it can’t have any holes in it … It must be simple, clear, direct, and – if you can possibly image it – foolproof.”
Next, I’d next tackle the envelope – the equivalent of the salesman knocking on the door. After all, if the envelope didn’t get opened, the best sales letter in the world wouldn’t get read and that order device I spent so much time on didn’t get returned.
I was struck by all of this last week while proofreading our upcoming new special report "All About Email Creative", due out early next month.
Our marketing team had just finished working on some email promotions for InterACT! (our upcoming conference) and, at the last minute, the question came up, “What shall we put in the subject line?”
Yikes! Obviously the email subject line is equivalent to the outer envelope of a direct mail package, and we were giving it very short shrift.
Thanks to some great insight gleaned from the Email Campaign Archive by Gary Hennerberg, and expert advice from Ivan Levison – Chapters One and Two in "All About Email Creative" – we looked at character length, power words and did a quick test of two subject lines. We got a winner, and we rolled it out.
Testing subject lines is now part of our best practices. Turns out it’s not hard to do, and as Ivan states in the report, “A strong subject line can double the response.”
Learn more about the research, trends and case studies reported in "All About Email Creative" – and reserve your copy at special pre-publication savings today!