Ryan Allis



Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

Last time I talked about using a consistent ‘From’ name and address for your messages. I explained the importance of maintaining a recognizable identity with your customers. In my experience, doing this has often made the difference between whether I open the message or not.

Once you’ve established a consistent and respectable identity with your customers, you need to start thinking about using your subject lines to grab them. I’ve found that the best way is to continue establishing an identity with your customers by using your subject lines. You can do this by keeping part of your subject lines consistent and varying the other.

So, for example, a subject line could be ‘Garden Tips Monthly- Are Year Round Orchids Possible?’This subject line helps keep your identity consistent by using the name of your organization. But it also piques the curiosity of your customer by giving them a little taste of what’s inside. I’ve found that this maximizes the chances that your customers will want to read your content.

It’s also important to avoid using any symbols or content that might make your message look like spam. We’ve all seen subject lines like ‘ENTREPRENEURS CHRONICLE FOR SEPTEMBER,’ and ‘Oxy-Powder Special- Save $10 Today Only Buy Now!!!’ Either of these would trigger spam filters for most email services. The first example could be improved by switching off your Caps Lock key, while the second would improve if you took out the dollar signs and exclamation points. The subject lines would be better if they were ‘Entrepreneurs’ Chronicle for September’ and ‘Oxy-Powder Special: 15% Off.’

Over the years, I’ve found these tips to be integral to successfully using email as a marketing tool. Next time, I’ll talk about the difference between using HTML and plain-text messages.

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