I said I’d be back for you copywriters, and here I am—for the first Copywriting Codex here at Fiction and Copy Decoded.
If you fiction-writing folks want to sit in on this, that’s fine, but it’s mostly for the email copywriters out there.
Today we’re going to talk about the most important part of every email—the subject line. Write a good one, and people will clamor to read your messages (although there are other factors that lead to clamoring). Write a bad subject line, and, well, it could get swallowed by a spam filter, or worse yet, get deleted because it’s not interesting.
Subject lines are supposed to do one thing, and one thing only:
Get the email opened, and get the reader’s eyeballs to start on your message. That’s it.
If I Had to Throw Everything Out and Start Over…
Make back the cost of our program in six months, or we’ll refund your money!
Does number one make you curious? And number two…uh…it blares a lot, right? Now, if both of these subjects showed up in your inbox as part of info you requested, wouldn’t number one have an edge? Sure. It encourages you to ask “Well, what would you do?” (we’re assuming your readers will know what it is you’re choosing to start over). Subject line one leaves readers wondering, like a curtain draped over something. And subject line two, up above? Not even close.
Don’t get me wrong—number two here would make a great guarantee, IF you followed up on it (which you always should anyway). But subject lines aren’t the place for guarantees, and may not be the place for a feature or benefit for a product or service. There’s a high probability of being marked for spam or Delete Central Station doing things that way (and turning subscribers or clients off is not a good place to be).
The subject line’s job is simple, but big. Get the eyeballs to start reading a message. That’s it. People are curious—give them what they want, and they won’t be disappointed.
Until next time,