Writing Effective Email Titles

There is a dirty little secret that you need to be aware of when doing your e-mail marketing: many, many people will simply ignore your pitch because they will never see it to begin with. Writing an effective title for your e-mails can make all the difference in ensuring that people will actually look at what you have to say. But how do you do it? Here’s what you need to know:

This is NOT SEO

The first thing to realize about writing effective e-mail headlines is that these are not SEO headlines. The rules are fundamentally different here than they are when you do something for SEO. When writing a headline for your blog post or squeeze page, you need to pay at least some attention to what Google’s bots are going to see. They don’t understand idiom very well and as such, they won’t necessarily get that your page titled “all the rage” is about your anger management treatment center. They’ll need a bit more than that to go on.

When writing a headline for your e-mails, your goal is to get people to open up the e-mail and see what you have inside. Thus, you can play around with idioms and you can do whatever it takes to get people to look inside.

Don’t Bother With This

There was a time when people would put the word “FREE” into their e-mail headlines and it would grab lots of attention from people. Or they would use other words such “go now” or “We’re Live.” I still see a great deal of these kinds of e-mails and I tend to ignore them. If you want to get my attention, I need more than that in order to care even a little bit.

Be Clever and Informative

In my humble opinion, the headlines that grab attention and get people to open your e-mails are the ones that are both clever and informative. If your headline is catchy but tells me nothing at all about what it is that you have for sale, I’ll assume it’s spam. If it tells me what you have for sale but doesn’t sound catchy at all, I’m less inclined to open the thing because I’m not excited.

Some Examples

Let’s take a look at a few examples. Remember that these are just quickies that I came up with and are not meant to be used in actual e-mails. Instead, they are intended to offer you some guidance in creating the basics of a good title:

This One Is Not a Gimmick – It Really Does Work

This is a pretty good headline – it’s catchy and grabs attention. It promises something that many people don’t offer – a way to make whatever it is work without a gimmick. The big problem is that I have no idea what it works for. Does it work to help me get a date? Well I’m happily married so thanks but no thanks. Does it work to help me get a job? I’m gainfully employed so I’m not interested. In essence, what you want to do here is to add to this a bit. Make your headline something which stands out but is also informative:

This One Is Not a Gimmick – It Really Does Work to cure baldness

Okay – so now I know what this works for and if you picked a list of older men who are likely to be suffering from baldness, you are going to get more clicks here than if you simply leave it vague.

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