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A Few Bad Email Subject Lines

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I received an email today, not in itself unusual as most of the internet world can attest. It wasn’t the email itself that bothered me, but the subject line that I disliked. The subject line was:

“Discover one of ——‘s best kept secrets…” I left out the name of the area to protect the guilty.

Whether you are saying best kept secret in an email, on your website, in a brochure or verbally to visitors, I encourage you not to do so. After all why would you want to keep your business a secret? And not only is it a secret, it’s the “best kept” secret so you’ve obviously been working very hard to keep it a secret. Not a good idea if you want to stay in business. It is at best lazy marketing.

Companies that do want to keep their businesses a secret don’t send all and sundry emails or ads. You have to be on their mailing list or waiting list to hear from them.

There are other email subject lines that don’t help you much including:

  • We are proud to announce

Your pride is not of major importance to the readers, let them know something to their benefit.

  • Anything in ALL CAPS

I still receive information from businesses where the heading or subject line is in all caps as is the body of the message. All caps are hard to read.

  • Using your business name as the subject line

Your business name appears on the left when your email hits the recipient’s mailbox. Don’t waste valuable real estate repeating your name.

  • Too much punctuation

Exclamation points are becoming very popular these days, too popular and for no good purpose much of the time.

Here is an idea for a subject line for wineries that should get people to at least open the email:

  • “Do you love wine and have an inside closet?”
  • “You don’t have to have a cellar to collect wine”

The body of the email may start by saying, “Many people think you have to have a cellar to have a wine collection, you don’t. As long as you have a closet that stays cool, it’s a great place for storing wine.” And go from there (giving readers ideas of storage, aging, etc.).

If any of you try this subject line I’d love to know how it worked. Did more people open your email and did more people click through? If you hate it let me know that too. Drop me a line.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

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