Subject Matters

In my previous posts I've talked a little bit about how the content of your messages can make a significant difference when it comes to revenue generation, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t even get people to OPEN your emails.

Unpopular Opinion: You should likely be spending just as much time, if not more, on your subject line as you spend on the body of the email itself.

I know it can take longer to writer 500 words than it takes to write 20, but I'm saying the above to encourage you to spend more time, effort and energy on your subject lines.

Call me crazy, but your email doesn’t matter if people aren’t intrigued enough to open the message in the first place.

And this is where most brands go wrong.

For example, last week Nissan did some work on my car.

Today, I got an email from them with the following subject line:

“Reminder: Please share your experience with us - 2 minutes”

Why in the world would I EVER open that email?

I don’t care at all about their email or helping them. I really don’t care that they claim their survey will only take 2 minutes. That’s almost never true and there is absolutely no incentive for me to participate. 

Why not make the email subject line something more interesting? 

“Help us help you.”

That’s simple and it’s interesting enough to get me to at least open the email at which point the subject line has served it’s purpose.

As it is right now, the subject line is terrible and I’d imagine their open rates reflect that.

Beyond that, if that survey data is truly valuable to Nissan, they should be willing to show us, as customers, just how valuable they perceive my feedback to be. 

Even Taco Bell, one of the cheapest brands around, offers you the opportunity to win cash in exchange for filling out a customer survey. Yet, Nissan which has a much higher average order value than Taco Bell, can’t offer up $1,000? Give us feedback, get entered to win. Pretty simple.

I’m getting off subject, but the sentiment remains.

This is about the brand looking out for itself and NOT for customers.

And customers take note of these interactions. It may not be conscious or spoken, but the feeling is there.

When you look out for your customers, it reflects in other areas and customers notice.

Subject lines can be a positive or negative influence for your brand. Are you considering that every time you email your list?

Even from a personal context, think about which email you’d be more likely to open from a friend/family member:

“I have a thing.”

“Dinner with me?"

Assuming the email is from someone I like, then the 2nd subject line is much more appealing than the first. 

The first subject line is kind of weird, possibly a little gross, and kind of ominous.

The second is straight forward and grabs me right away because, DUH, I definitely want to get dinner with you.

The biggest problem most brands have is that they’re too inhuman.

Subject lines from brands often reflect an inability to connect on a human level with potential customers.

The words seem unnatural and forced, rather than natural like a friend wrote it.

Nothing I’m saying is gospel. Trends come and go and we just have to try and stay afloat with what’s currently working and what’s not.

So for today, all I want is for you to consider humanizing your brand a bit more when it comes to subject lines.

Instead of whatever subject line you were going to use, why not consider how you’d describe the email to a friend and use that as the subject line instead.

Give it a shot and let me know what you find.