Why Lame Email Subject Lines Damage Your Marketing

September 16, 2014
Bad email subject lines damage your marketing and reputation

We hear a lot about how email open rates are a vanity metric that shouldn’t be trusted, but the truth is if you can’t get prospects to open your emails, your email marketing will fail. Here’s just a few reasons why not doing enough to create awesome email subject lines can spell email marketing doom.

Decrease deliverability

Email clients like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are cracking down even harder on spam; your email has to make it past these guys before it’s allowed into your prospect’s inbox, and systems’ filters are set to “finer than fleas’ whiskers.”

A poorly-written subject line is a signal to these systems that a particular email could be spam. Rather than risk their customers’ ire (who doesn’t hate getting spam?), the systems automatically shunt suspicious emails right into the spam or trash folder.

Your prospect never sees the mail, and as a bonus it gets reported to your email marketing platform as spam — and it takes surprisingly few complaints to result in a banned account.

Decrease open rates

Let’s assume your email makes it past the first round of defense and actually hits some inboxes.

Don’t start celebrating yet. Your email now has to make it past an even more discerning filter: your busy prospect.

Consumers hate getting emails with unclear, boring, irrelevant, and/or overly-long subject lines. If it doesn’t entice them immediately, your email will never get opened — or worse, the reader will mark it as spam.

Increase spam complaints

Spam complaints are bad for business. Not only do they mean that your prospects see your content as worthless, they can also result in your email marketing platform’s banning your account and preventing you from sending emails to anyone (even those who haven’t flagged your emails as spam).

Tips for writing awesome email subject lines

The bad news is that it’s easy to write spammy or otherwise crummy email subject lines; the good news is that’s it’s almost as easy to learn how to write awesome ones.

Writing an irresistible email subject line is an art that requires a great deal of practice, but here are a few evergreen tips to keep in mind:

Warning: don’t stop at subject lines

Awesome subject lines are just the tip of the email marketing iceberg, and should never be considered the entirety of your email marketing strategy.

The best way to keep open rates (and click-throughs and conversions) high over time is to keep your email opt-ins above-board, build a list of qualified leads, and routinely send your prospects and customers content they love and find valuable.

Need help with your email marketing?

Contact us now to discuss how we can help you build, segment, and market to your audience via email. 

[photo credit: e_lisewin via photopin cc]