From The Blog

The Email Marketing Subject Line That Cried Wolf

Wasted email marketing subject lines can damage branding

By Dana

Today I received an email from a company I respect.  I read their blog semi-regularly.  I open their EDMs.  I occasionally claim offers and downloads from them.  I am a fairly engaged reader with respect for their brand.

Today I received correspondence with the email marketing subject line:

“Important: this is going to affect us all in 2016”

I opened it because I respect their opinions on digital trends and was expecting some information on algorithm roll outs or digital law.  Instead, it was a wishy washy opinion piece about some irrelevant issue, loosely tied into a digital marketing theme.  Let me be clear here, you can make ANYTHING about digital marketing if you try, and this company didn’t try very hard.  This is the subject line that cries wolf, and it’s the mark of a desperate marketer.

What that subject line did to my perception of the brand

It’s the subject line that cries wolf – like so many aggressive marketers that push superlatives and hyperbole as a means of cut through.  It shifted my perception of that brand just a little towards “drama queen”.  Years of respect undermined by one little subject line.

“It takes years to build trust and only seconds to destroy it – even in business”

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What they did wrong

This click bait was designed to simply grab open rates.  There was nothing “quality” in the email for someone like me.  It targeted a start up audience, after inspiration and “digital 101” tips.  They’re better than that!  What they actually did wrong, was fail to segment their list.  I have provided them with plenty of information about myself.  I have provided my legit work email.  I have downloaded advanced content from them.  I have clicked through on serious case studies… Although I’ve never purchased from them, I’m a definite “hot lead”.  I am not the market for “glow stick inspiration”.  They don’t need to bait my clicks.

I should be on a different list.  Segmenting email marketing lists, and then using the right email marketing subject line and content for each audience is key to actual conversions. Do it wrong, and you might lose actual prospects.

Small business mistakes with email marketing lists

From day one, you should be segmenting your list.  You should be constantly sorting it, sanitizing it, making sure the right people receive the right emails from you.  This means:

  • Studying user behaviour (or using software that studies it for you)
  • Capturing use information at sign up (don’t go overboard or they won’t sign up)
  • Focusing on ‘replies’ not open rates for your initial autoresponder campaign
  • Noting what gets individual users “clicking” and then targeting them better with your marketing materials.
  • Never waste their time.  Make sure you’re providing excellent value in every email blast

Sounds time consuming right?  It is, get help here. Even with a great email marketing package, you’re still going to need to manually snoop on your subscribers and target the best email marketing subject lines to their individual needs.  At least at first.  When your list is small, you can micro-manage it.  Look for patterns. Run experiments.  Take note of what gets the segments excited and what gets them unsubscribing.  Once you’ve got a pretty clear picture, you can further segment and then set yourself up with a “well oiled growth machine”.

This was a wasted email marketing subject line.  The subject line that cried wolf.  The subject line that makes me resist opening important emails down the track.  Don’t sacrifice your brand for the sake of a few clicks, segment well and reap the rewards.

Copywriter brisbane talk about creative read more Learn more about email marketing subject lines that get opened without click baiting


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