Everyone tells you how important writing killer headlines is. Tons of articles and books include headline templates, study cases or tips on how to write great subject lines.
Writing appealing headlines isn’t that easy though. Is the average Joe doomed to fail?
Isn’t there any solution that can offset a lame headline and make the recipient open the email?
Isn’t it somehow possible to get high open rates without writing amazing headlines?
Let’s start with the easiest to understand example…
1. Mom Sent Me an Email
Yep, an email from mom. Don’t ask me how great the subject line was. Mom’s not a copywriter or an email marketer.
Actually I don’t even remember whether that email had a subject line.
Still mom’s emails have an amazingly high open rate … 100%
So, the short answer is yes, you can get high open rates even if your headlines suck.
2. Email Marketing Lesson Learned from Mom’s Emails
The subject line isn’t the most important part of an email. In certain cases, the “From” field is the one who does the trick.
What if my mom sent the same email to you? I guess you’d send it straight to your spam folder, wouldn’t you? Why would you do that? It’s not your mom. Never heard of her.
So what’s the difference between the email sent to you and the one sent to me by the same person?
There’s no relationship between you and her. When it comes to me, the email was sent by someone who not only do I know but also love and trust.
So the “From” field does the trick when the sender is someone the recipient has a strong relationship with.
3. Can You Replicate Mom’s Email Success in Your Biz?
Don’t expect a 100% open rate unless you have very few subscribers. Why shouldn’t you expect it? Two main reasons:
1. Tech issues: Email open rates cannot be measured accurately; and
2. The relationship between you and your subscribers cannot be that close like the one between mom and me. However, the better the chemistry between you and your subscribers, the higher the open rate of your emails.
4. What If You Don’t Have a Strong Relationship with Your Subs?
Can you still succeed while writing lame subject lines? Yes you can. I did it …
I have a jokes site and an ezine attached to it. I use a pen name. A common name. Comments aren’t allowed on that site, I don’t get replies to my emails and I have no relationship with 99% of my subscribers.
On top of all these facts, the subject lines of my emails always follow the same boring formula: [Day of the Week]’s [Ezine’s Name] is online.
Still the ezine has always a 40-50% CTR. Clicktrough rate! The open rate is higher, of course.
How is it possible? It looks like everything is done wrong :) Here’s my method …
- I didn’t bribe the subscribers. They wanted to subscribe to that ezine in order to get notified when new jokes are posted online.
- The From field of my emails is always [Ezine’s Name] and that name includes the keyword “jokes”
- The subject lines include the same keyword – jokes.
That’s it. They wanted jokes, I offer them jokes and I make sure that they recognize my emails. Assuming that some of the subscribers actually don’t remember the name of the ezine, still that name and the subject line scream “Jokes” – that’s what they wanted!
So what is the key of that ezine success? It offers what the subscribers wanted and what the publisher promised to these subscribers.
5. Conclusion – How to Offset the Uninspired Email Headlines
Yep, you can get high open rates while using not very inspired subject lines.
Showcase your name. Or pen name. Or biz name (remember that sometimes a keyword inserted in the biz name works like a charm). Then keep repeating that brand name – without becoming annoying though. On your blog, squeeze page, emails. Otherwise the people won’t remember it unless you’re already popular.
Btw, don’t confuse your readers by changing frequently the From field of your emails or by using lame names, your first name only, or anything hard to remember.
Then you need at least one of the following ingredients, preferably both of them:
A strong relationship with your subscribers
Consistency: keep offering what you’ve promised – sometimes give even more, and don’t send your emails once in a blue moon. Have a consistent schedule that will prevent the readers from forgetting you.
To Your Email Marketing Success!
P.S. Intentionally I avoided another successful ingredient: the quality of the content previously distributed via your emails. Why did I avoid it? While it’s obvious that great content makes readers happy, it’s not that obvious what quality content means to different people. You have to match your and readers’ standards – and that’s not easy at all ;)
P.P.S. Have you got acceptable open rates for emails without great subject lines? What was your method?