Remember that saying, “You only get one chance at a first impression”?

That is the truest statement when it comes to email marketing!  In a nanosecond, your prospect is going to decide whether or not they are going to open your email.

You may have spent 15 minutes or several hours composing the “perfect” email, and quicker than you can blink, they have deleted it.

That is lost time you’ll never get back.

The number one mistake I see over and over is the subject line is wrong on so many levels.  There are a number of strategies you can apply that will greatly increase the likelihood your email will get opened.

Here are three of them:

Strategy 1: Make it about them

I know you’ve heard this before and you are going to hear it a few more times.  When you think about your subject line, you need to ask yourself these questions:

What pain do they have?  Notice I didn’t say how you can help them. Get out of your head and get into theirs.

What’s going in your industry? Is there an event, regulation, competitor or something else that allows you to be seen as a thought leader?

How can you impact your prospect personally? You need to connect on a personal level. People are afraid of making decisions because they don’t want to make the wrong decision. How can you help them reach their personal goals at work?

Strategy 2: Stop using capital letters

Your subject line is not an advertisement. You are looking for an engagement.  Look at the difference visually between these two subject lines:

  • Sales Prospecting Strategy
  • Sales prospecting strategy

You can see there is a huge shift in how that looks.   The first one looks like it is a flashing neon sign of “let me sell you something.” The second one is less aggressive.

One other strategy I use sometimes is I don’t capitalize any letters.  So in the above example, it would look like this: sales prospecting strategy.  When you eliminate all capitalization, it suddenly becomes more intriguing, almost as if it’s an internal email.

Strategy 3: Ask a question

Now you can’t just any question. You need to ask a question that will get their attention.  Let me show you what I mean.  Here is a real subject line I received:  “Lead Gen To Support Your 2012 Goals.”  There are so many things wrong with that subject line, but this company’s goal was to engage the cold prospect in a lead generation service.

With a quick web search, we found that this prospect has a pending event coming up.  I reworked this subject line to read: Question regarding ABC event.  While the prospect may not know me, I’m asking them a question about something they are responsible for and they have no idea of the context of my question.  It is almost certain that this email will get opened.

Email marketing is highly successful when you find ways to stand out from the pack and think like your prospect!

Guest post written by Beth Mastre, Vice President Strategic Development for The Sales Hunter.  For the past 20+ years, Beth has honed her email marketing skills, not only out of sheer necessity, but also because she is passionate about connecting with people and helping them succeed.  Beth’s experience and knowledge on this topic is truly second to none.  Her experience is invaluable to The Sales Hunter and to other clients who look to her for guidance and advice. 

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