When the Van Is a Rockin’ – How to Craft the Perfect Email Subject Line

When the van is a rockin

Do you want people to read your emails? If so, you need stand out!

Yesterday, Shelly created one of the best email subject lines I’ve seen so far this year. The only problem is, it just crosses the line of professionalism for our client. But I’m not against using it personally.

The subject line, as you might be able to guess is:

“When the Van is a Rockin’…”

When you open the email, the first words you see are:

The equipment is being delivered!

So why is this a good email subject line? Because it’s different, it uses double entendre, it’s potentially funny, it crosses the line and it stirs emotion.

See, what great subject lines and headlines do that plain, non-effective ones don’t is: they stand out.

There are many ways to stand out. You can be risque, you can drop names, you can be emotional, and you can use a keyword the audience is interested in.

Before I give you examples of great subject lines, let me explain why, if you want to get people to read your emails, you desperately need to stand out.

My life is busy. I’m always going, always on, using multiple devices, and multi-tasking. I’m frazzled most of the time.

What’s your life like?

I’m sure it’s similar to mine. And depending upon how many children you have, it can probably get downright hectic!

So let me ask you, do you have time to read emails?

I doubt it. But I’m pretty sure that you are like everyone else, and you skim your incoming email to make sure you aren’t missing out on anything.

In essence, you are sifting through the “clutter” of your email inbox looking for items that “stand out.”

Am I right?

What stands out to you? It depends. It depends upon a lot of things, including your emotional state, but for you to “see” it as you are scanning, it either has to be risque, contain a familiar name, elude to something and pique your interest or curiosity, be surprising, be an emotional appeal or inflame you emotionally, or use some keyword you are interested in.

Here’s 4 examples of great subject lines that I got from the Golf Channel today:

  • Big Changes by Task Force
  • Woods Releases Statement
  • Dufner Almost Unrecognizable
  • Two Drills for a Solid Swing

What’s interesting, is that if you go to the Golf Channel website you won’t find these articles with these headlines. They create special subject lines and article headlines just for their emails to get people to read them. That’s how important email subject lines are.

Real quick, let’s look at these subject lines one by one.

Big Changes by Task Force – instantly, you think, “Ohh crap! What’s going on? Is someone in trouble?” If you click through to the site and read the article, the headline is this: “Task force increases captain’s picks back to four” and you think – SO WHAT!

Woods Releases Statement – Why? Is he a pervert again? Does he have some sexually transmitted disease? Apparently not. When you go to the site you see, “Woods offers support for Love, Ryder Cup task force.”

Again, so what! I knew it would be some crap like this. I don’t even play golf anymore, but they made me click so I could see what faux pas Tiger has made now, just to find out it’s a false alarm!

Dufner almost Unrecognizable – Why? Did he get in a car wreck? Is he on drugs? I don’t even know who Dufner is, but it makes me want to find out. On the site you find, “Disappearing Duf not letting go of that dip bottle.” So, he’s lost weight, but still like to chew tobacco. Big deal.

Two Drills for a Solid Swing – Like I said, I dont play golf anymore, but I still hold out hope that there is a secret that if I knew, would have me playing on the PGA tour. On the site, this headline is actually better: “Learning from Love: Two drills for a solid swing“ I have respect for Davis Love. Mainly because he’s rich. So when you add Love, and solid swing together, it’s keywords that attract my reticular activation system.

Great email subject lines make you want to click, and know more. Just don’t follow the Golf Channel’s example. They don’t deliver on content once you click through. Actually, all they do is train you not to pay attention to them.

Otherwise, do you see what’s going on here?

Marketing Land says, “High arousal emotions trigger content sharing.” They also trigger content reading.

If you want people to read your email messages, you have to break through the clutter of their everyday lives and GRAB THEM!

Again, here are the major ways to do that with examples:

Be risque – “Women like big hogs” (Harley Davidson)
Contain a familiar name (name drop) – “The Big Lie – Kim Kardashian’s Butt”
Pique interest or curiosity – “Would you do this for $1,000,000?”
Be surprising – “I quit!”
Make an emotional appeal – “How One Simple Idea Changed Thousands of Lives”
Inflame emotions – “Why Obama won’t say Radical Islamic Terrorists”
Use keywords your audience will recognize – “The Easiest Way to Double Your Sales”
Use cliff-hangers – “The Secret to a Life of Love”

You will notice there are no formulas for subject lines in this article. That’s because you don’t need them! You just need to stand out!

To do that, you have to be willing to cross the line and even piss some people off. Otherwise, no one will see it.

What’s your take? Do you have any questions or ideas about subject lines? Are there some excellent examples you would like to share? If so, let us know in the comments below.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller is the owner of Mindwhirl.com, a sales and marketing coaching and training company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael’s mission is helping small business owners understand, and organize their marketing so they can make money and grow.

Mindwhirl helps business owners plan and implement effective, profitable marketing campaigns and sales programs.

If you need more sales, we know how to get leads and grow businesses. Call us today at (404) 858-3105, or email me at mmiller@mindwhirl.com.

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