People still prefer email for both personal and marketing communications – it’s familiar and convenient. So how do you make them open your emails and hopefully take action? The "From" and "Subject" lines of the email are the first things recipients see. In a matter of seconds, they will either be intrigued or unimpressed. Make them count, and you’ll enjoy higher open rates – and click-throughs, assuming you did a good job with the content.
- The "From" line is your way of making sure that the recipients recognize you and are comfortable with opening your email. It should clearly contain your exact company, brand, or newsletter name. However, if the recipients have already had some form of interaction with your sales team, make sure that this pool of prospects receives emails “From” the salesperson that they have come to know – not the company. In fact, studies show that email campaigns from someone a recipient knows at the dealership register much higher open and click-through rates.
- The "Subject" line is a critical element of your email campaign's success. It should be succinct and specific to summarize the email's content and give readers a good reason to open it. In other words, you’re pitching what’s inside. The subject line should be kept between 35-50 characters, as this is typically the maximum number of characters that most email clients (including Outlook) display of the subject field. You want the reader to be able to see the entire subject line without having to scroll or arrow over. Effective subject lines include “Free Shipping on Orders of $50 or more,” or “Free Second-Day Shipping on Orders of $150 or more.”
Subject lines are very subjective and everyone you ask will have a different opinion on whether or not a given subject line is effective. This is a good opportunity for A/B testing. Simply take two versions of the subject line that you think are the most effective. Send half of your campaign with subject line A and the other half with subject line B, then see which one performs best when reviewing open and click-through rates.
Ongoing testing of all key elements of your email marketing campaign, including content, format and frequency, is vital to the long-term success of your efforts. Have a plan; know who you’re talking to; deliver value, and keep testing and measuring.
Bob McCann is director of education at ARI, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the powersports, marine, outdoor power equipment and RV industries. Products and services include e-commerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and e-catalogs (parts, garments and accessories).