Stop Typing That Sales Email Now, Do 1 Easy Check To Astound

Stop Typing That Sales Email Now, Do 1 Easy Check… (Image courtesy of Canva).
Stop Typing That Sales Email Now, Do 1 Easy Check… (Image courtesy of Canva).

There is one part of an email that is the most important. It’s also one of the shortest and quickest to tweak. Follow some simple tips, and your marketing email open rates will jump!

“We sometimes forget: Every email [mystery item] is a pitch.”

— Daniel Pink, author, To Sell is Human

What is this one powerful email item I’m keeping a mystery? How do you tweak it successfully?

Let’s first learn the crazy origin story of this mighty email element.

“Hey, would you like to create an electronic mail system?” asks a mad scientist. He’s got the white lab coat. His forehead stands out thanks to a receding hairline. Thick sideburns run down both sides of his face. They’re the kind popular in the 1970s.

You reply to the mad man, “Yeah.” Because, why not!

It’s 1978. You’re a 14-year-old boy. You’re growing up in what some term the worst city in America. Its name: Newark, New Jersey. The smell of cigarette smoke is everywhere.

You think this particle physicist possibly wants to send electricity through paper. The man crazily trusting you is Les Michelson. He’s starting a computer lab at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

How did you end up here? A mere 8 years ago, you were living in the slums of Bombay (Mumbai), India. Thankfully, your parents moved the family to Paterson, New Jersey, USA, in 1970.

You excelled at school and graduated high school at 14. Then an NYU computer professor selected you and 39 other high school students for an intense 8-week course in computer languages. You do amazingly well. You now know 7 different computer languages.

Your mom, Meenakshi, is a mathematician working at UMDNJ. She introduces you to her mad scientist colleague. Dr. Michelson is working on computers. Mom thinks this will help you continue your adventures in computing.

Les brings you into the university computer lab. It’s just a tiny room with a small computer and a big HP mainframe.

“Look, I want you to go observe how people send out mail,” Les explained. This was back when each doctor had secretaries type out physical interoffice memorandums on paper. Then they’d stuff them into those famous yellow-tan Manila envelopes.

Michelson continued, “Your job is to convert that into an electronic format. Nobody’s done that before.”

So you go and study everything about these memorandums. They have “memorandum” at the top followed by “to:”, “from:”, the subject line sometimes as “re:”, the body, and then any carbon copies, blind carbon copies, or attachments.

For the next 3 years, you take what works in the physical world. You turn this into a computer program/system called “EMAIL.”

The older scientists in the computer department welcome you unconditionally. They make you a full member of the computer team at UMDNJ. They let you lead the EMAIL project and do all the computer coding.

You flourish in this environment. You finally got a patent in your name for EMAIL in August 1982. You are Shiva Ayyadurai, and you’ve invented EMAIL!

One significant element Shiva included in his invention is the Subject Line. It arose from decades of trial-and-error. The 20th Century saw billions of interoffice memos. The subject line emerged as a critical element of the memorandum.

Your memo needed to get the attention of the recipient. It needed to describe the contents accurately. Senders made sure not to annoy a recipient by falsely advertising what was inside.

The memo was competing with stacks of other papers in their inbox.

The Subject Line has also become essential to email. Now we have digital stacks of email competing for attention.

Many overlook the Subject Line. Lucky for you, it’s short and easily tweaked for the better. It’s the reason your emails get opened, ignored, or deleted.

I’ve been sending emails since the early nineties. I still have my first email account from then. Thank you, yahoo!mail. I’ve been hit over the head with tens of thousands of marketing emails over the years.

As a freelance copywriter, I’ve been studying email copywriting for some time. Most of the courses and discussions of email marketing only briefly cover the humble “subject line.” I wanted to dig deeper. Subject lines are a specialized version of a headline. Headlines are critical to copywriting.

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” — David Ogilvy, legendary copywriter.

Ogilvy and other expert copywriters know that the headline is four times as important as the rest of the copy.

So it’s time to respect the subject line. It’s the first thing a prospect sees when diving into their inbox. The first job of your sales email is to get them to open it. The Subject Line does most of that work.

Let’s assume subject lines are essential. Great! How do you quickly polish your subject line? Here are 3 actions to take:

  1. Smother As Much SAUCE Onto Your Subject Line As Possible
    1. Use the SAUCE Headline Scoring system for a winning headline. A Subject Line will be short, but try to include as many of these 5 things as possible:
      1. Specific: Be precise and target your audience.
      2. Actionable: Promise a benefit from a simple action.
      3. Urgent: They must act quickly.
      4. Clear: Make it readable. Use something like the free Hemingway App.
      5. Emotional: Stir feelings that drive action.
  2. Use a Subject Line/Headline Analyzer
    1. There are several free and paid options. Search for “email subject line analyzer.”
    2. These various tools will offer a range of advice on many things. Your email will be better for using them. Here are some things they’ll cover:
      1. Look to use certain words.
      2. Avoid many other words.
      3. Character Count is important. Don’t go too long. The subject line will get cut off when viewed in the inbox.
      4. Word Count is also important. Some say aim for 3 to 7 words.
      5. Emoji Count is one many don’t consider. Some experts say to use one and only one emoji. Make it related to a word in your subject line. An emoji will help your email stand out and get opened. Too many emojis can be confusing or look spammy. Be careful, though. Emojis can look wildly different across different email programs.
      6. The type of case affects open rate. Title Case works best. ALL CAPS is the worst.
      7. A numeric number like a 2 improves things.
  3. Ensure Your Subject Line Delivers on Its Promise
    1. You can promise the world in your subject line and get a great open rate. But if you don’t deliver that promise, your email list will make you pay in various ways. They may unsubscribe. They may send angry email replies. They might roast you on social media.

With all that said, remember that rules are made to be broken. There are many clever ways to craft a subject line that can work. But the three actions above will serve you well in boosting email open rates.

Heed the wisdom of copywriting legends like David Ogilvy. They know the importance of a strong headline. An email subject line is a particular type of headline, and you must put some thought into them.

Keep in mind the time-tested importance of a subject line. Billions of physical memorandums during the 20th Century attest to this. Recall the brilliance of a mad scientist named Les. He knew to take what works in the physical world of memorandums and ask a 14-year old convert that into digital form. Recollect that teenage computer genius named Shiva, who ran with that vision. Shiva carefully studied physical mail. He knew the importance of a Subject Line and included it in his invention, EMAIL.

__________________

About Charles Polanski: I help people prosper through online marketing. Click this link to unlock a world of possibilities with online marketing.