There are plenty of marketers who write great emails. And there are plenty of marketers who write great emails that don’t lead to any sales.
The reason is simple: You could have an email penned by Ernest Hemingway himself, but if it’s never opened, it’s never read.
This has been a problem for online marketers since emails were invented, and it’s only gotten worse over time. Consumers are absolutely inundated by emails, and open rates have suffered accordingly.
That means that marketers’ success depends on open rates. Yet, many spend much more time perfecting prose in the body of the email rather than on the most important component of a marketing email: the subject line.
You can have a great offer, present an incredible deal, craft a remarkable pitch and have a campaign fall flat on its face because you wrote a poor subject line. Nobody reads emails with non-compelling subject lines. But there’s an easy fix.
Stop thinking like a marketer when it’s time to write that subject line.
It really is that simple. Everybody gets tons of emails, including online marketers. Yet the marketing part of their brains ask when coming up with a subject line, “What will make them open this email?”
Instead, they might want to be thinking like the rest of the world. They should ask themselves “What would make ME open this email?” You can read all the marketing books in the world and study all the analysis of email subject lines, but if you write one you, yourself, wouldn’t open, how can you expect your audience to do so?
Marketers are consumers, too. What makes them open emails? What are the most compelling subject lines they come across? It’s pretty easy to analyze.
If you’re an email marketer, it’s worth the time to go through your own inbox and make note of what emails you open compared to the ones you don’t. Just go to your email trash and look at the opened and unopened emails. Is there something in common that the opened ones have?
Maybe the ones you open are the subject lines constructed as questions. Maybe it’s the “act now” messages that you open. Perhaps you ignore the “click-bait” types. If you do, why in the world would you write click-bait subject lines yourself?
Now, you might say that you’re a small sample size. This is true. Your own email preferences are truly your own. But this is sort of a trap. You think it is so in your marketing brain, but you are ignoring your consumer’s brain. And every marketer is also a consumer. Marketers tend to ignore that and exclude their own preferences when communicating a message to others. But what makes you so special?
Having answered that question, if you still are unsure about the one-person sample size, have others take a few moments to do a similar exercise. Which emails does your spouse tend to open? What about your co-workers, friends, in-laws, etc.? It makes sense that you’ll be able to find some common trends.
Maybe you shouldn’t spend a lot of time drafting an email that no one will ever read. Instead, your time is better spent coming up with great subject lines, and if you don’t know what those are, you might want to start by looking at your own inbox.