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Write great subject lines

Set the right tone for engagement with your audience, and make sure your marketing messages don’t end up in spam folders!

SpamEvery email that lands in your inbox passes through the black box that is your spam filter. You’ve probably noticed over the years that less and less spam gets into your inbox. That’s because spam filters have gotten more aggressive at stopping the junk from getting through. But occasionally, “real” emails get caught by the filter too.

But even once an email is sitting there, ready to be noticed and read, subscribers might or might not take note, which is why setting the right tone for engagement is so important.

Here are a few of the tricks we employ at Managed for Mimi to be sure our emails make it to the intended inboxes, and convey the right message once they’re there.

Tell the truth

Don’t be sensational. Explain your content in simple, truthful terms. If you are releasing a new product or launching a new service, just say so. “Widget 2.0: Available in September” is straight to the point. Your readers won’t feel like they’ve been tricked into opening the email.

Be concise

The inbox gives only so much real estate to the subject line, and then it truncates. Say what you have to say in as few words as possible. At the very least, your first few words should be the most important. Keeping with our previous example, avoid “After years of research and development, Acme Industries is proud to deliver Widget 2.0.”

Share the value

What makes your email’s content relevant to its recipients? How will it make their lives better? A subject line that conveys the genuine value that you’re offering in the email itself will always be more of an eye-catcher.

Test, test, test!

Before you send an email to your list, send a test to as many different email accounts as you can. Send to a Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail account. If you use Outlook, send to that email address too. Make sure your email gets past the spam filter. If not, rewrite and test again.

Look through your spam folder for the best examples of what to avoid, and see what catches your eye from the email lists you’ve signed up for. All these rules are flexible, but only when necessary. So be sure to test. It could make the difference in whether or not your hard work is wasted.

Be professional, not personal

That Nigerian prince who wants your bank account number takes the personal approach, and we all know where those emails end up.

Avoid symbols and all caps

All spam filters look for these are notorious spammer methods. Exclamation marks are eye-catching but arguably best avoided, so if you must use one, use ONLY one. The same rule applies for dollar signs.

Make your subject timely

We are all busy. A sense of urgency (when honest, and not manufactured) will bump your email up to the top of the to-do list. If a special offer has an expiration date, something like “10% off online purchases, expires Tuesday” will catch their attention.

Photo courtesy of flickr user allspice1 under a Creative Commons license.

About Ben Jacobson

A content marketing services professional since 2001, Ben Jacobson serves as Operations Director of Managed for Mimi and Co-Director of its parent organization Action Packed Media. To see Ben's LinkedIn profile, click here.