Ahh, subject lines. A few words, or for some of you A LOT of words, can mean so much. This first introduction between you and your supporters can determine how your email performs, and could impact your overall objectives. And it’s not just what you say, it’s how long it takes you to say it.
I’ve been in the business of advocacy communications a long time. And like all methods of communications, there are some best practices that have been established by experts in the field that you may want to consider adopting.
Spam is not just for breakfast anymore. And spam laws are strict, and the company that provides your CRM is equally as strict about their whitelist status. Most importantly you should be too, since you don’t want your emails to land into a junk folder. “Free”, “Opportunity”, “Act now”, and other ambiguous words can sink your email before you even reach your subscriber. Many CRM providers may have a list of words they recommend you avoid, check with them as a good place to start.
K.I.S.S. (keep it short, silly). The standard for subject lines these days is 50 character max. Remember, this should be something that will make your member want to open your email, not be turned off, overwhelmed or completely bored and delete it before they even read what you have to say. Not to mention in today’s world, people are accessing your emails on their smart phone. And a long subject line will definitely get cut off.
Test, test, test! Part of a successful email marketing program is analyzing your data is a practice you should incorporate into your continual evaluation. If you’re unsure how a subject line will perform, test it. Do an A/B split test (we’ll be blogging on that subject too, stay tuned) on your subject lines, let it run for 24 hours and whatever the winner is, use that subject line for the remainder of your group. It’s always a good idea to see how previous subject lines performed as well. You can test short v. long, straightforward v. ambiguous, etc.
Localize it. If you’re inviting people to an event or you want people to take action on an issue that is close to them, add it to the subject line. Check out Organizing for America, the Humane Society & travel sites like Travelocity to see some good examples of using this information in subject lines.
There are a lot of things to remember when creating a successful email marketing campaign. But do not underestimate the power of a smart and savvy subject line- it can make all the difference. To find out how Amplify Public Affairs can help you create email marketing campaigns that deliver results, visit us online at www.amplifypublicaffairs.net.