Don’t forget the object in your subject lines

I’ve written recently about the importance of the subject line in getting people to open your emails. But I’ve recently been reminded of a fundamental error which it’s easy to make.

If your audience is really tightly targeted, and you know that every recipient will be interested in the offer you’re making, this may not apply. But for all other lists, it’s not about the open rate overall, it’s about the open rate from the segment of the mailing list who might be interested in the offer. If you’re sending to 1000 people, but are quite aware that only 100 might be interested, it’s better to have just 1 recipient from that latter segment open the email than it is to have 500 people open the email but none who are from the prospect group.

So how do we target the recipients who matter? It is of course by remembering the keyword. Hard as it is to resist opening an email with the subject line “This 1 amazing tip will change your life forever”, it doesn’t specifically alert true prospects. Instead, try “Don’t buy blue widgets before reading this”. A simple A/B test of open rates might come out in favour of the former. But follow it through to enquiries, and you might get a very different result.