How Not to Write a Subject Line

Hello everyone, I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself my name is Jenna Jantsch and I am the Marketing Specialist at VerticalResponse.  I’m going to be contributing some posts to this blog going forward, starting, obviously enough, with today’s post on Subject Lines.

One of the most important parts of an email campaign is the subject line because it is the reason someone opens your email and continues to do so with your future emails.

I think it is very easy to do a simple search online to find inspiration for great subject lines. So I wanted to share a few examples of subject lines that you should never use in your campaigns, because I find it helpful to learn from the good and the bad.

Not only do these subject lines break best practices, but in some cases they break the law. The CAN SPAM ruling states that for any commercial email, you must have your subject line relate to the content of the email.

Subject Line #1 – Hi, My name is Paul
This is a game to trick the recipient into opening an email. It may raise curiosity, however, when the recipient opens the email they’re going to feel tricked and unsubscribe.

Subject Line #2 – I need your help, please?
There’s something about wanting to help another human being, however there is also something about lying to your recipient to get your email opened. Don’t do it.

Subject Line #3 – Bob, I haven’t received your shipping address yet.
This particular subject line is really scary because it seems like the sender is trying to get more information from the recipient. Also, it’s scary because it’s personalized to the recipient so they may actually give it.

Subject Line #4 – Bob, Please accept my sincerest apology.
Unless you’re actually apologizing for something sincere, don’t use this subject line.

All of these examples of subject lines are unscrupulous especially because they don’t relate at all to the copy. Not only will you be breaking the law and lying to your recipients, but you can pretty much guarantee they wont stick around to fall for another trick.

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