Lyris 10 rules that get result


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Lyris 10 rules that get result

  1. 1. Guide Stellar Subject Lines: 10 Rules that Get Results Fifty characters could be all that stands between you and Subject lines, where possible, should clearly state what your the success of your next email campaign. Why? Because 50 reader can expect from your email, what’s in it for them or characters is all the space you have in a typical subject line. You what you want them to do as a result of the email. And with have 50 characters – or less – to catch the attention of your so much competition for a reader’s attention, your subject line reader, entice them to open your email and take action. must stand out from the rest in a relevant way. Emulating the headlines from newspapers can be a good starting point in the How could something so small make or break the success of development of subject lines. your whole campaign? Because potential recipients use the subject line to decide whether to open or delete an email or, worse yet, report the email as spam. Rule 2: Focus on the Objective The dearth of characters in subject lines makes them a What is the objective, or end goal, of your email marketing challenge to write. But it’s worth doing well because a good program? In most cases your end goal is not necessarily high subject line can get your email opened in a flash. With so much open rates, but to have subscribers take a specific and measur- at stake, marketers need a quick reference tool for developing able action. Determine what that one action is, and make sure subject lines that get the desired result: opened emails. Let our all components of your email – especially the subject line – will 10 Simple Rules for Stellar Results be your guide. achieve your objective. For instance: Rule 1: Read the newspaper • If your goal is for recipients to purchase from your online If you want to develop subject lines that result in higher open store directly from the email, don’t use a subject line that is rates, pick up your local paper. Headlines usually highlight informational in nature. Instead, use a clear call-to-action a story’s most important point with brevity, while taking the that emphasizes their opportunity to make a “must have” audience into consideration. For instance, a headline about purchase. a recent political development might be written as “Obama • Look at the subject lines associated with the highest makes history in 10 seconds.” The story itself could be about number of conversions. If you drill down into your Web any number of events, including Barack Obama taking the analytics, you might find some clues, such as an email with oath of office. But the headline is short and intriguing enough a relatively low open rate but a high sales-per-order rate. to compel one to read the entire article to find out exactly That could mean something in the subject line strongly what happened. appealed to a narrow segment of your list. You could then test variations of the same type of subject line with other audience segments. Lyris, Inc. | 5858 Horton Street, Suite 270 | Emeryville CA 94608 USA | Toll free 888.GO.LYRIS (465.9747) | International calls 510.844.1600 | Fax 510.844.1598 | Customer support 888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or 571.730.5259
  2. 2. 2 Guide Stellar Subject Lines: 10 Rules that Get Results Ideally, you should test subject lines on one small segment • Unless your email legitimately addresses customer of your list to determine a winner for use with the larger service or product notification issues, refrain from using audience. But if that is not possible, run them past an informal a “From” line like Acme Customer Service. This practice focus group including your marketing team, others in your can be misleading and will ultimately work against your department or colleagues from outside the department to get objective. Moreover, it will create ill will with your a wider view. prospects and customer base. Writing the subject line is often the last and most hurried step in email campaign development. It should be the other way Rule 4: Mention Key Information First around. As you plan the email campaign, start thinking first about what will go into the subject line. That will help you It sounds obvious, but it’s important to mention the most retain your campaign’s focus on the objective. important information first when it comes to both your subject line and the email body copy itself. Why? Because, as the saying goes, you only have one opportunity to make a first Rule 3: Leverage the “From” Line impression. And with subject lines that adage is amplified. You have 50 characters or less to create a compelling message that The “From” line tells the recipient who sent the email, and the prompts the recipient to both notice and open your email. subject line sells the recipient on opening it. So take the time Then, you have less than two seconds to compel them to read to consider the best use of the “From” line, based on the goal the email. So it really is harder to do than it sounds. of the email and the audience to whom it’s being sent. Some tips: Some basic guidelines: • Keep your end goal, and the interest of the recipients, in • If it’s the first time you have emailed a specific audience, mind: What is it that you want them to do after reading use a “From” line that creates a sense of familiarity and/ the email, and what would make them care enough to do or credibility with your potential readers. They may not that? If you can answer that question in 50 characters or be familiar with your company or brand, so you will want less, you may have your subject line. to use a brief “From” line that includes your company name as well as the general purpose of the email, such as: • Don’t take this advice too literally: In many cases it doesn’t Acme Health Experts. Coupled with a compelling subject make sense to try to cram the offer and call-to-action into line, this approach can generate higher open rates than a 50 characters. In those cases, don’t take the “mention key “From” line of “Acme, Inc”. information first” advice too literally. Instead, focus on the intent of the advice: mention something that makes • If the “From” line lists your company name, you don’t your recipient care. have to repeat it in the subject line, which frees up space there. But do consider branding your subject line with • Most email preview panes allow for 50 characters’ worth the name of your newsletter, for example, so that it will of space in the subject line area, and anything beyond that stand out in the Inbox of the recipients. For instance, if gets cut-off. So make sure the cut-off doesn’t occur in a the “From” line says Acme Health Experts, your subject crucial word, such as a price or date. One way to see how line might say Health Wise Newsletter. your subject line might look in your recipients’ Inboxes Lyris, Inc. | 5858 Horton Street, Suite 270 | Emeryville CA 94608 USA | Toll free 888.GO.LYRIS (465.9747) | International calls 510.844.1600 | Fax 510.844.1598 | Customer support 888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or 571.730.5259
  3. 3. 3 Guide Stellar Subject Lines: 10 Rules that Get Results is to send yourself an email with your proposed subject You may also want to use urgency and deadlines as part of a line. Of course, each Inbox view is configured differently, planned series of emails. For example on Monday incorporate but this is an easy way to see if your subject line is off the “5 Days Left…” and then on Thursday follow it with “Only mark. 24 Hours Remain...”. However, don’t overuse or misrepresent deadlines, as it will Rule 5: Personalize train your recipients to wait until the last minute to act or, worse yet, it will sour them to your offers entirely. But do Personalized subject lines are a simple way to secure the interest consider driving urgency where it’s relevant. and action of your recipients. Subject lines can be personalized based on the product or content preferences of the recipient, or based on their interests, past purchases, Web visits or links Rule 7: Lead, but don’t mislead clicked. Where appropriate, use of the recipients’ first name While it’s important to drive a sense of urgency and develop can be a very effective form of personalization as well. offers that compel action, it’s even more important to maintain When personalizing, be sure to consider the following: your company’s integrity in every outbound communication. That means not misleading your prospects and customers with • Be careful when using past purchases to personalize the subject line in order to get them to read or act on the because the purchase could have been a gift for someone call-to-action in the email. else and might not relate to your reader’s real interests. Always make it easy for readers to find and update their Here are some things you don’t want to do: data and preferences. • Stretch the truth in the subject line or promise more than • If you elect to include the first name of your recipients, the email can deliver take the time to go through the database and make sure • Make grand claims that readers will find hard to comply that you actually have the first name for every record. with in order to get a special offer or benefit Also assure that the names in your database use proper capitalization such as Alice instead of alice. If the database • Offer one thing and deliver something different than what is not 100% accurate, it’s better to not use first name is described (or deliver nothing at all) personalization. Rule 8: “Free” is not Evil Rule 6: Urgency Drives Action Yes, you can use “free” in a subject line, contrary to the urban The recipients of your email are more likely to act on your legends out there. People still respond to the word “free”; offer if they have an urgent reason to do so. so, the increase in orders or other actions will almost always outweigh the messages lost to filtering. Where appropriate, drive urgency with messaging such as: But be sure to follow the best practices listed below to keep • Order by midnight tonight your email message from getting caught in spam filters: • Last day to ensure delivery by December 24th • …to the first 25 people who take advantage of this offer Lyris, Inc. | 5858 Horton Street, Suite 270 | Emeryville CA 94608 USA | Toll free 888.GO.LYRIS (465.9747) | International calls 510.844.1600 | Fax 510.844.1598 | Customer support 888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or 571.730.5259
  4. 4. 4 Guide Stellar Subject Lines: 10 Rules that Get Results • Don’t make “free” the first word Rule 10: Measure, Test, Analyze – Repeat • Don’t use the word “free” in conjunction with an There are numerous ways to optimize your subject lines, and exclamation point every component of your email marketing campaigns. In all cases, the easiest and most effective way to optimize is to • Refrain from spelling “free” in all caps measure, test, analyze and then repeat that process. Here are just a few of the ways you can do this: Rule 9: Plan for Deliverability Measure everything that moves There are a number of factors that affect whether your email will be delivered to the Inbox or not, and most of them are in In order to use data to support better decisions, you must your control. The key is to plan for deliverability instead of have meaningful data to analyze. But where do you get the “spraying and praying.” data? The answer: From anywhere you want – as long as you establish data capture points beforehand. Contrary to what you may have heard, the greatest factor influencing the deliverability of your email is your reputation For instance, if you want to understand which of two test score with ISPs. If enough of your email recipients mark your subject lines result in the best conversion rate, then you need email as spam, or if you routinely use a combination of words a way to track responses from Email A differently than Email that trigger spam filters, your emails could end up in more B. That may mean assigning a unique source code to the junk folders than Inboxes, and your ISP reputation is then landing page associated with each of the emails, or it may mean severely damaged. assigning some other unique identifier such as a promo- tional code. Regardless, you need to capture the data that will Several detailed guides on deliverability and optimizing your indicate which of the two subject lines better meets your email for deliverability are available at But objective. Then, compare the two sets of data to determine there are a few simple things you can do with subject lines and the results. email content to impact the deliverability of your campaigns: Two key pointers: • There’s a fine line between “catchy” and “spammy.” Run your email subject line and body copy through a • Be sure to use a large enough sample size with each test content checker to identify any spam-like words, group so that your results are statistically accurate – 300 phrases or construction. The content checker will tell you or more responses per test group is generally considered which types of phrases to avoid. viable from an analysis perspective. • Two tricks that could trip a spam filter: Subject lines in • Be careful to change just one variable across test cells, so all capital letters and using more exclamation points than you can definitively determine the cause of any change in necessary (both look unprofessional, too.). In fact, we results. recommend not using exclamation points at all if you can avoid it. Lyris, Inc. | 5858 Horton Street, Suite 270 | Emeryville CA 94608 USA | Toll free 888.GO.LYRIS (465.9747) | International calls 510.844.1600 | Fax 510.844.1598 | Customer support 888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or 571.730.5259
  5. 5. 5 Guide Stellar Subject Lines: 10 Rules that Get Results Test, test, test Use Web analytics to get a deeper understanding of what’s working (or not) Testing is an often overlooked but critically important step in email marketing. While it takes more time at the onset of each Review your Web analytics reports to see which newsletter new campaign, testing ultimately pays for itself in better data, article topics draw the most clicks or forwards, which improved decision-making and, ultimately, better campaign offers get downloaded most often, and which brands or results. departments get the most traffic. This analysis should drive content selection strategies, but it can also show you what You need to stand out each time, yet be familiar to the reader. information is most relevant or useful to your target audience. How do you find out what subject lines work best? Test. You want to make sure you’re extending the offer that will yield the The bottom line: Using data to support better decisions makes best results against the right audience segment, but how do you more efficient and more effective. you know what that offer is? Test. Some testing ideas include: Bonus Rule 11: Make Email an Ongoing Conversation • Negative subject lines vs. positive ones (“We hate to see It’s easy to deploy one email and then move on to the next - you go” v. “Newsletter subscription offer”) but there are many reasons why this is not an optimal strategy. • Challenger vs. champion offers (test your best-performing Sending one email is like starting a conversation and walking campaign against a new challenger) away. Instead, continue the conversation by planning a series of email “touches”. This begins a conversation that builds • Personalization vs. no personalization interest over time. • Mention of price or savings vs. no mention of price or There are many ways to create an ongoing conversation, savings including: Review subject-line performance over your last several • Send emails in a distinct sequence or series. This campaigns or newsletters creates interest within your reader audience, making them • Split your list randomly into “A” and “B” cells and try a curious about the next installment. different subject line in each. Then, use the metrics from • Deploy emails more frequently than you did in the past each segment to determine which subject line(s) delivered – without overdoing it. By sending relevant emails twice the action you wanted – the most conversions, the highest a month when you previously sent them once a month, average sale per order, the highest click-through rate, etc. you can better gauge which topics resonate with your • Once you have a “champion” subject line, introduce a audience most. Then you can incorporate those topics “challenger” and test again. more prominently in future emails. Or, better yet, ask email recipients to comment on the topic or act on an offer that’s related to it. Lyris, Inc. | 5858 Horton Street, Suite 270 | Emeryville CA 94608 USA | Toll free 888.GO.LYRIS (465.9747) | International calls 510.844.1600 | Fax 510.844.1598 | Customer support 888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or 571.730.5259
  6. 6. 6 Guide Stellar Subject Lines: 10 Rules that Get Results By structuring your email as an ongoing conversation, you About Lyris not only have the opportunity to become a trusted source of information, but you can also conduct progressive profiling or Lyris, Inc. is the online marketing expert delivering the right testing of your target audience. mix of software technology and industry knowledge to help its customers simplify their marketing efforts and optimize campaign ROI. Through the delivery of the industry’s The Bottom Line first on-demand integrated marketing suite, Lyris HQ, and knowledge-sharing community,, Yes, this seems like a lot of fuss over 50 little characters. But to secure and reliable on-premise solutions, includ- those 50 characters will have a significant impact on the ing Lyris ListManager, Lyris provides customers the right success or failure of your email. It pays to get them right. tools to optimize the management, collaboration and execution of their online and mobile marketing initiatives. These sophisticated, yet easy-to-use tools provide marketers a suite of best-of-breed applications for managing email marketing campaigns, publishing and managing Web site content, creating landing pages, optimizing Web sites and search engine marketing. Lyris’ solutions are available as software or as hosted applications and are used by agencies and more than 5,000 customers worldwide, from Fortune 500 corporations to fast growing startups. To find out more about Lyris’ products and services, please contact us at Lyris, Inc. | 5858 Horton Street, Suite 270 | Emeryville CA 94608 USA | Toll free 888.GO.LYRIS (465.9747) | International calls 510.844.1600 | Fax 510.844.1598 | Customer support 888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or 571.730.5259