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Writing good subject lines for email broadcasts

Writing a good subject line is a tough thing. After all, it's the subject line (and the FROM line) that determine almost entirely whether your email gets opened.

Our good friends at TargetX had these tips in their most recent Email Minute newsletter:

- Give the reader a reason to open the email by answering that age-old question, "What's in it for me?"

- Segment and personalize. That doesn't mean merging first names into the subject line; it means tailoring your content to the specific needs and interests of your audience. For example, including intended major in the subject.

- Beware of spam triggers. Valuable words like "free" and "special" have been stolen from us by spammers. Be sure to use a spam content checker like the one at spamcheck.sitesell.com/

- Use action words and active tense. Experts say these are more likely to motivate readers to open the message.

- Don't ever use all caps and be frugal with punctuation.

- Test, test, test. Consider a split test of two or more subject lines to samples of your intended audience. Then wait 48 hours to see which subject performs best before sending your message to the rest of the list.

Good stuff. Dead on.

Previously on P&T:
Now that's a compelling action alert email
Don't creep people out
Test your email for spamminess
Email "campaigns" versus single-asks
Duck, Duck, Goose: Testing your broadcast emails

Posted on September 13, 2005 in
email strategy.