How To Write Perfect Subject Lines – Every Time!
A client of mine just asked if i had any tips on writing good subject lines.
Firstly – get a sheet of A4 paper and write out as many ideas for subject lines as you can. Aim for at least 20 or so ideas – the more wild the better.
Next, read back through them – out loud, and get rid of the rubbish ones, or the ones that are not interesting.
Make sure you are left with perhaps five or so potential subject lines. Now cross out the three weakest. You should be left with a couple that are miles better than what you were originally going to use. You can then use ‘split testing’ to decide between the two – if you wish to get fancy.
You can set up your email software to send emails to two small sections of your email list with your two choices of subject lines. It will pick the subject line that got the most opens, and send that one to the rest of your list.
If you really want to get technical, choose your best subject lines and use google adwords to split test. Use your subject line as the title, and perhaps a few choices of opening paragraphs for your ad body. Run a low cost campaign and see which performs best in terms of click through rate. I have never had a campaign so important and well prepared as to usre this technique – but it is something i’ll use for important stuff like picking a product name etc.
Stuck For Ideas?
This one is a killer. Find a list of some of the best ad headlines ever, then adapt them for your content.
A LITTLE MISTAKE THAT COST A FARMER $3,000 A YEAR
A BUSINESS MISTAKE THAT’S COSTING YOU $3,000 A YEAR
Here is a list of some of the top headlines ever:
1. THE SECRET OF MAKING PEOPLE LIKE YOU
2. A LITTLE MISTAKE THAT COST A FARMER $3,000 A YEAR
3. ADVICE TO WIVES WHOSE HUSBANDS DON’T SAVE MONEY — BY A WIFE
4. THE CHILD WHO WON THE HEARTS OF ALL
5. ARE YOU EVER TONGUE-TIED AT A PARTY?
6. HOW A NEW DISCOVERY MADE A PLAIN GIRL BEAUTIFUL
7. HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
8. THE LAST 2 HOURS ARE THE LONGEST — AND THOSE ARE THE 2 HOURS YOU SAVE
9. WHO ELSE WANTS A SCREEN STAR FIGURE?
10. DO YOU MAKE THESE MISTAKES IN ENGLISH?
11. WHY SOME FOODS “EXPLODE” IN YOUR STOMACH
12. HANDS THAT LOOK LOVELIER IN 24 HOURS — OR YOUR MONEY BACK
13. YOU CAN LAUGH AT MONEY WORRIES — IF YOU FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE PLAN
14. WHY SOME PEOPLE ALMOST ALWAYS MAKE MONEY IN THE STOCK MARKET
15. WHEN DOCTORS “FEEL ROTTEN” THIS IS WHAT THEY DO
16. IT SEEMS INCREDIBLE THAT YOU CAN OFFER THESE SIGNED ORIGINAL ETCHINGS — FOR ONLY $5 EACH
17. FIVE FAMILIAR SKIN TROUBLES — WHICH DO YOU WANT TO OVERCOME?
18. WHICH OF THESE $2.50 TO $5 BEST SELLERS DO YOU WANT — FOR ONLY $1 EACH?
19. WHO EVER HEARD OF A WOMAN LOSING WEIGHT — AND ENJOYING 3 DELICIOUS MEALS AT THE SAME TIME?
20. HOW I IMPROVED MY MEMORY IN ONE EVENING
21. DISCOVER THE FORTUNE THAT LIES HIDDEN IN YOUR SALARY
22. DOCTORS PROVE 2 OUT OF 3 WOMEN CAN HAVE MORE BEAUTIFUL SKIN IN 14 DAYS
23. HOW I MADE A FORTUNE WITH A “FOOL IDEA”
24. HOW OFTEN DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF SAYING: “NO, I HAVEN’T READ IT: I’VE BEEN MEANING TO!”
25. THOUSANDS HAVE THIS PRICELESS GIFT — BUT NEVER DISCOVER IT!
26. WHOSE FAULT WHEN CHILDREN DISOBEY?
27. HOW A “FOOL STUNT” MADE ME A STAR SALESMAN
28. HAVE YOU THESE SYMPTOMS OF NERVE EXHAUSTION?
29. GUARANTEED TO GO THROUGH ICE, MUD OR SNOW — OR WE PAY THE TOW!
30. HAVE YOU A “WORRY” STOCK?
31. HOW A NEW KIND OF CLAY IMPROVED MY COMPLEXION IN 30 MINUTES
32. 161 NEW WAYS TO A MAN’S HEART — IN THIS FASCINATING BOOK FOR COOKS
33. PROFITS THAT LIE HIDDEN IN YOUR FARM
34. IS THE LIFE OF A CHILD WORTH $1 TO YOU?
35. EVERYWHERE WOMEN ARE RAVING ABOUT THIS AMAZING NEW SHAMPOO!
36. DO YOU DO ANY OF THESE TEN EMBARRASSING THINGS?
37. SIX TYPES OF INVESTOR — WHICH GROUP ARE YOU IN?
38. HOW TO TAKE OUT STAINS…USE (PRODUCT NAME) AND FOLLOW THESE EASY DIRECTIONS
39. TODAY…ADD $10,000 TO YOUR ESTATE — FOR THE PRICE OF A NEW HAT
40. DOES YOUR CHILD EVER EMBARRASS YOU?
41. IS YOUR HOME PICTURE-POOR
42. HOW TO GIVE YOUR CHILDREN EXTRA IRON — THESE 3 DELICIOUS WAYS
43. TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WRITE — BUT CAN’T GET STARTED
44. THIS ALMOST-MAGICAL LAMP LIGHTS HIGHWAY TURNS BEFORE YOU MAKE THEM
45. THE CRIMES WE COMMIT AGAINST OUR STOMACHS
46. THE MAN WITH THE “GRASSHOPPER MIND”
47. THEY LAUGHED WHEN I SAT DOWN AT THE PIANO — BUT WHEN I STARTED TO PLAY!
48. THROW AWAY YOUR OARS!
49. HOW TO DO WONDERS WITH A LITTLE LAND
50. WHO ELSE WANTS LIGHTER CAKE — IN HALF THE MIXING TIME?
51. LITTLE LEAKS THAT KEEP MEN POOR
52. PIERCED BY 301 NAILS….RETAINS FULL AIR PRESSURE
53. NO MORE BACKBREAKING GARDEN CHORES FOR ME — YET OURS IS NOW THE SHOW-PLACE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD!
54. OFTEN A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE
55. HOW MUCH IS “WORKER TENSION” COSTING YOUR COMPANY?
56. TO MEN WHO WANT TO QUIT WORK SOMEDAY
57. HOW TO PLAN YOUR HOUSE TO SUIT YOURSELF
58. BUY NO DESK — UNTIL YOU’VE SEEN THIS SENSATION OF THE BUSINESS SHOW
59. CALL BACK THESE GREAT MOMENTS AT THE OPERA
60. “I LOST MY BULGES…AND SAVED MONEY, TOO”
61. WHY (BRAND NAME) BULBS GIVE MORE LIGHT THIS YEAR
62. RIGHT AND WRONG FARMING METHODS — AND LITTLE POINTERS THAT WILL INCREASE YOUR PROFITS
63. NEW CAKE-IMPROVER GETS YOU COMPLIMENTS GALORE!
64. IMAGINE ME…HOLDING AN AUDIENCE SPELLBOUND FOR 30 MINUTES
65. THIS IS MARIE ANTOINETTE — RIDING TO HER DEATH
66. DID YOU EVER SEE A “TELEGRAM” FROM YOUR HEART?
67. NOW ANY AUTO REPAIR JOB CAN BE “DUCK SOUP” FOR YOU
68. NEW SHAMPOO LEAVES YOUR HAIR SMOOTHER — EASIER TO MANAGE
69. IT’S A SHAME FOR YOU NOT TO MAKE GOOD MONEY — WHEN THESE MEN DO IT SO EASILY
70. YOU NEVER SAW SUCH LETTERS AS HARRY AND I GOT ABOUT OUR PEARS
71. THOUSANDS NOW PLAY WHO NEVER THOUGHT THEY COULD
72. GREAT NEW DISCOVERY KILLS KITCHEN ODORS QUICK! — MAKES INDOOR AIR “COUNTRY-FRESH”
73. MAKE THIS 1-MINUTE TEST — OF AN AMAZING NEW KIND OF SHAVING CREAM
74. ANNOUNCING…THE NEW EDITION OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA THAT MAKES IT FUN TO LEARN THINGS
75. AGAIN SHE ORDERS… “A CHICKEN SALAD, PLEASE”
76. FOR THE WOMAN WHO IS OLDER THAN SHE LOOKS
77. WHERE YOU CAN GO IN A GOOD USED CAR
78. CHECK THE KIND OF BODY YOU WANT
79. “YOU KILL THAT STORY — OR I’LL RUN YOU OUT OF THE STATE!”
80. HERE’S A QUICK WAY TO BREAK UP A COLD
81. THERE’S ANOTHER WOMAN WAITING FOR EVERY MAN — AND SHE’S TOO SMART TO HAVE “MORNING MOUTH
82. THIS PEN “BURPS” BEFORE IT DRINKS — BUT NEVER AFTERWARDS!
83. IF YOU WERE GIVEN $200,000 TO SPEND — ISN’T THIS THE KIND OF (TYPE OF PRODUCT, BUT NOT BRAND NAME) YOU WOULD BUILD?
84. “LAST FRIDAY…WAS I SCARED!—MY BOSS ALMOST FIRED ME!”
85. 76 REASONS WHY IT WOULD HAVE PAID YOU TO ANSWER OUR AD A FEW MONTHS AGO
86. SUPPOSE THIS HAPPENED ON YOUR WEDDING DAY!
87. DON’T LET ATHLETE’S FOOT “LAY YOU UP”
88. ARE THEY BEING PROMOTED RIGHT OVER YOUR HEAD?
89. ARE WE A NATION OF LOWBROWS?
90. A WONDERFUL TWO YEARS’ TRIP AT FULL PAY — BUT ONLY MEN WITH IMAGINATION CAN TAKE IT
91. WHAT EVERYBODY OUGHT TO KNOW…ABOUT THIS STOCK AND BOND BUSINESS
92. MONEY-SAVING BARGAINS FROM AMERICA’S DIAMOND DISCOUNT HOUSE
93. FORMER BARBER EARNS $8,000 IN 4 MONTHS AS A REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
94. FREE BOOK — TELLS YOU 12 SECRETS OF BETTER LAWN CARE
95. GREATEST GOLD-MINE OF EASY “THINGS-TO-MAKE” EVER CRAMMED INTO ONE BIG BOOK
96. $80,000 IN PRIZES! HELP US FIND THE NAME FOR THESE NEW KITCHENS
97. NOW! OWN FLORIDA LAND THIS EASY WAY…$10 DOWN AND $10 A MONTH
98. TAKE ANY 3 OF THESE KITCHEN APPLIANCES — FOR ONLY $8.95 (VALUES UP TO $15.45)
99. SAVE 20 CENTS ON TWO CANS OF CRANBERRY SAUCE — LIMITED OFFER
100. ONE PLACE SETTING FREE FOR EVERY THREE YOU BUY!
So there you have it. Quick, and great subject lines. If you are still struggling, invest in a good advertising/copywriting book. I recommend David Ogilvy’s ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ or Drayton Bird’s ‘Commonsense Direct Marketing’
Ok, so analytics can be a scary old thing to set up – but the rewards are fantastic.
Here is a easy, visual guide to setting up tracking of your email campaigns with Google Analytics.
- Don’t have a google analytics account?
Head here and set one up in a couple of minutes.
- So now you have an account and are tracking your site. Next, you want to track how many visitors are coming to your site via your email blasts. Simply use this tool to create a custom tracking link you can use in your campaigns. When someone clicks a link that you have added tracking code to, Google can understand this and report it back to you later:
You should come away with a tracking link that looks a little bit like this:
All you need to do is use this link in your email in place of your normal links. You will need to do this for each individual link you wish to track:
http://www.MYDOMAIN.com/services becomes http://www.MYDOMAIN.com/services?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=ServicesLink&utm_campaign=MarchNewsletter
NOTE: These long links are ugly. If you are creating HTML email you can use an anchor link to hide the long URL. Please beware of using URL shortening services such as bitly, as some can increase the likelihood of email being marked as spam!
Here is a breakdown of what each of the parameters means in real terms:
- Campaign Source adds utm_source to your link and should be the link referrer (e.g. Newsletter, Twitter etc.)
- Campaign Medium adds utm_medium to your link and should be the marketing medium/channel (e.g. Email, Social Media, Banner Ad etc.)
- Campaign Content adds utm_content to your link and should be used to differentiate links or adds (e.g. Header Link, Footer Link, Banner 2 etc.)
- Campaign Name adds utm_campaign to your link and should be used to name the campaign (e.g. 50% autumn deal, Christmas Follow Up etc.)
- So now you can simply place those links and send your campaign as usual. (P.S some sending platforms can add their own Google tracking links so check yours can’t do this automatically for you) Once you have sent your campaign, log into your Google Analytics dashboard. The reports you will be able to see will look something like this:
This is a fantastic way to track sales, leads and pretty much anything else that could result from an email campaign.
Tracking Open Rate in Google Analytics:
Easy! All you need to do is use this tool, which will guide you through the process of creating a ‘Tracking Pixel/Image’ that you can insert into your newsletter. This is a tiny transparent gif image that, once opened, can be tracked and displays a page view in Google Analytics. (again, many of you will be using the tracking built into your ESP – but it can be useful to see tracking right inside Google Analytics also)
Here is how your dashboard will look once you have included a tracking pixel in your email:
And there you have it -an easy way to track your campaign ROI and more, Enjoy!
Google today released some information on how Gmail’s ‘Priority Inbox’ feature actually works.
For those not familiar – ‘Priotity Inbox’ aims to sort through your email, and put all the important stuff in its own special inbox. This means you can just read the good stuff – saving time and sanity.
It is interesting to learn how this tool works. Here is a concise overview:
- Firstly, Google has a large pool of email data which points to what email is good and what email is not so good. After billions of messages through Gmail, Google can get a pretty good idea of what email people want to read – and it can use this knowledge straight away so your email can be sorted immediately after switching the feature on.
- As you use the tool more and more it learns from your actions – what you delete, read, reply to and label. It refines its processes and becomes a beast of sorts.
- Priority Inbox ranks email based on Social Features (how much you interact with a sender – be it click, reply, label or otherwise)
- Priority Inbox ranks email based on Content Features (i.e the content of the message body, header, footer, subject line etc) If you have never opened an email with ‘Free Shipping’ in the subject line, odds are any future messages with a similar subject line will not make it into the Priority Inbox.
- Priority Inbox ranks email based on Threading (If a message is part of a thread/conversation, it is likely to be important)
- Priority Inbox ranks email based on Labeling (If a user labels a message – this means it is uber important!)
Whilst these insights are all pretty obvious, it is nice to get a feel for how the system works. The Priority Inbox is a great feature – something I use loads – and PI gets it right most of the time!
Are you a Gmail user? And what do you think of Priority Inbox?
New research suggests that email marketing brings more customers to retail websites than social media.
In this report (published by market researcher ForeSee) we learn that good old email is still pulling in more customers than social media.
The results show:
- 19% of online shoppers were driven to retail sites via email
- 8% arrive via search engines
- 5% arrive via social media sites
The report also mentioned:
- 14% of shoppers visited a retail site via smartphone
- 11% reported making a purchase via their smartphone over the holidays.
The research points to email as the retailers weapon of choice – and should not be ignored at the expense of social media!
Do you run an online store? Do your traffic stats tally with the above? Please comment below:
To begin, I have collected various stats on html vs plain text emails:
Almost 60 percent of e-mail users have the ability to receive HTML e-mail, which gets twice the response rate as text e-mail. Source: Jupiter Research
In 2001, 68% of all email marketing was in HTML format (from opt-in email publishers and permission-based email marketing ad networks in the US). Source: Opt-in news- January 2002
57% of email received by US Internet users is in HTML format (does not include rich media or animation). Source: IMT Strategies – September 2001
Text messages were unsubscribed at a slightly higher rate than HTML in Q3 and Q2 at 0.22 percent, though nearly even with HTML Email Labs Q4 2003
• Historically, consumers respond better to HTML than text, and the gap in performance is increasing
• HTML performed markedly better on average and generated click- throughs of 11.2% as compared to 5.6% for text.
• Text click-through rates have continued to decline during 2002 (from 7.1% in Q2), while HTML click-through rates have slightly increased (from 10.0% in Q2)
• Non-text email made up 81% of the average company’s campaigns in Q4 DoubleClick Q4 2002 Email Trend Report
• 62 percent of consumers prefer text-only email, 35 percent want HTML email (colors and pictures) and 3 percent want rich-media (video and sound). An Opt-In News survey Q2 2002
• U.S. Internet users’ attitudes toward commercial email formats found 60 percent favor HTML over text, and 80 percent said they “enjoy rich media email.” Valentine Radford survey Q1 2001
• 18.5 percent clicked through on text messages, while HTML collected 15.6 percent CTR.
• Text email got a 9 percent conversion rate, with 5.3 percent for HTML. • 7.7 percent of HTML email bounced, compared with 7.4 percent for text. • 3.2 percent of HTML email generated unsubscribes, compared with 1.2 percent. IMT Strategies Q3 2001
Some of this information is outdated – however the insights are still valuable. Results in this area are far from conclusive, with the general consensus being ‘test, and give what your audience likes/responds to’.
Here are the pros and cons you have to take into account:
• Displays well in most email clients and devices
• Looks like a personal message
• Need to type out full URL for a link
• No colours or graphics
• Harder to format for easy reading
• Can only use one column
• Click tracking can be done, but ugly long tracking links have to be used and must be typed in full and cannot be hidden by an anchor. Open rate tracking is pretty much out of the question, but you can get an idea of opens as clickers on your emails must have opened them in the first place! (Thanks to Andy for the nudge on this point)
PRO TIP: If you are using a long ugly tracking link, you can use an URL shortening service to disguise your link. For example, the following link (http://www.jaymail.net/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Textlink&utm_campaign=ProfileLink) was shortened using bitly’s pro service to: http://jyml.me/tw1tr I use this link on my twitter page, and it links back to my home page. As you can see, the short link is much easier to work with, and the end portion can be personalised to your needs.
However, using certain shortened URL’s (such as bitly’s standard service) in your email can result in email getting marked as spam (certain spam filters pick up on short links as a way to cloak harmful links) so always check for this prior to launch! Thanks to Andrew for this tip!
• You can get more detailed stats on your messages (open rate, click rate etc)
• You can use anchors like this to hide ugly tracking links
• Can add graphical elements, color, images, call to action buttons and more
• Almost limitless options for formatting
• Can look less personal that plain text
• Images can be blocked by the email client
• Rendering in email clients is prone to breaking so time consuming testing is required
I find that html email with subtle styling/images can work well, as it’s a good middle ground between plain-text and html. This could look almost like plain text, but we can use anchor links, track our message and have more control over styling and format.
To conclude – there is no real hard and fast rule here. The only way to go is to test what works best on your list!
Earlier today, I decided to answer a question on Quora:
How do you successfully run a “refer-a-friend” email campaign?
The question reminded me of a really successful viral email campaign I had studied earlier this year:
The Calloway Golf Campaign In a Nutshell:
- The campaign was for Calloway, a golfing brand
- The campaign encouraged golfers to forward their campaign to four friends to create a ‘fourball’ golf team
- Readers were engaged by dynamic content illustrating their name on a leaderboard with other greats
- Calloway offered free golf balls as an incentive to the teams
- Sent on Friday – clever as most keen golfers would be thinking of the weekends golf ahead
- Sent a follow up four weeks later asking if the balls had improved their users game – 85% responded!
The results were incredible:
- Database increased virally from 5,000 subscribers to 39,000 subscribers – 34,000 new subscribers!
- Total response rate of 780% (thanks to the viral effect)
- Total cost £47,500 (Calloway estimated the acquisition cost to be £350,000 without this viral element)
Calloway have made good use of their new subscribers, sending regular tips, inside ‘pro tour’ stories and other golf related content.
Please view or download the full PDF version below:
Hope this has inspired you to get viral!
After much speculation, it appears that Facebook will be launching it’s self labeled ‘gmail killer‘ as early as Monday of next week.
The domain name fb.me has recently been pointed at facebook servers.
Speculation suggests that the fb.com domain will be used for Facebook employees, leaving facebook.com open for the public!
Facebook’s top dogs have arranged a special event to announce the launch:
With Facebook being the worlds most popular place to share content, photos and videos – this is something to watch very closely, especially for businesses who conduct B2C marketing (more on this later).
The platform has great potential considering the amount of information on user habits and preferences Facebook currently has on file. There is a possibility for a truly social inbox experience that mashes email with social feeds, images and videos. With info on 500,000,000 members at its disposal, the pressure is on to launch something that is ‘not just another webmail client’.
Possible ways Facebook could evolve the inbox:
- ‘Ultra’ Priority Inbox – we have already seen our email sorted into priority order from Gmail – but we could see the idea evolved based on our interactions with pages and friends on Facebook
- No Spam – Imagine the possibility of limiting your incoming email to only “friends’ or ‘friends of friends’ on Facebook. Not foolproof, but for the average user who only wants to see messages from friends and family this would be ideal.
- Social Email – Images, videos and social streams mashed with the inbox to create a rich experience.
There are (as always) some huge concerns regarding privicy and abuse of the system, for example:
- Spam worries? – We have learned that users may be given an @facebook.com email address. The obvious choice would be for this to match your Facebook username, for example: “email@example.com”. It would not take a genius to be able to collect a huge list of Facebook usernames and append @facebook.com to the end (a spam nightmare in the wrong hands!)
- Lack of credibility? – would confessing your email is @facebook.com induce the same stigma as unfavorable webmail clients such as @aol.com?
- A no-no for business? – not only due to lack of credibilty, but as facebook.com is included in plenty of corporate spam filters, would email sent from facebook.com be swallowed up by corporate filters?
The deal for marketers
With 500,000,000+ users, there are no doubt going to be a huge share of the userbase setting up an account with ‘Titan’. We must remember that Facebook is a business, and one that holds a great quantity of valuable data including names, ages, locations, interests, purchasing data and more. It is not inconceivable that they could offer targeted email marketing opportunities in the same vein as their ads platform.
This may mean a Facebook business page could have the opportunity to send email to a targeted list via Facebook, in a similar fashion to creating a Facebook ad.
This is unlikely to happen – but there is always the possibility. In this case, marketers would be able to access some of the most targeted data available.
What are your thoughts on ‘Project Titan’? Are you going to be a user, and would you ever switch from your current email client?
Leave me a comment below,
So i have just received this email from 02, which is all well and good.
Upon opening it, i noticed that something was suspicious:
How on earth had they included shadows and gradients when my images are turned off in gmail?
I decided to crack this open in dreamweaver and delve into the code so you guys can see how they did it.
The Results Both Shocked And Surprised Me
It appears they have converted their gradient images to pure html tables, just a couple of pixels each.
We currently offer this service – but it is most commonly used for tiny logos and icons, not huge great backgrounds!
Anyways – this is the screenshot in Dreamweaver:
And finally, here is the snippet of the code used to generate the effect:
<td bgcolor=”#0a0e2b” height=”20″></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor=”#0b102e” height=”6″></td><td bgcolor=”#0b102e” height=”6″></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor=”#0c112f” height=”3″></td><td bgcolor=”#0c112f” height=”3″></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor=”#0b1131″ height=”4″></td><td bgcolor=”#0b1131″ height=”4″></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor=”#0c1131″ height=”1″></td>
(This is about 1/20th of the code)
The point of using an image to html service is simple:
If your images are visible when all others are blocked, your email WILL stand out.
We have an image to HTML service available – where we take your logo in JPEG, PNG or GIF format, and send it back to you as pure HTML for use in your newsletter. The result is that your logo will be visible – even if the readers email client does not show images by default.
Send yourself a demo below to see how it works in your inbox:
I have put together a short video to explain the process of outsourcing your email marketing to us:
Our aim has been to take something really very complicated, and try to simplify the process so a small business can outsource their month’s email marketing with little more than 10 minutes investment of time.
If anyone has any suggestions as to how we could make the process easier then let me know!
If you are ready to try out the service, you can view the pricing here.