Lay it on the Line
For e-mail marketers, the biggest challenge today is getting your pitch past a prospect's hair-trigger delete impulse--not to mention his or her spam filter. It's akin to the challenge direct marketers had when mailings only came in envelopes: Will it arouse enough curiosity to get opened, or will it be trashed? Even today, the outer-envelope teaser causes as much hand-wringing as the guts of the mailing itself. So, too, does the subject line of a marketing e-mail.
What can you say in a subject line that is compelling enough to motivate that all-important click? In Web Copy That Sells, author Maria Veloso suggests you use the word this in subject lines: "This is so powerful because it arouses the recipient's curiosity, and they must open the e-mail to find out what this is." Examples include "Who said this?" and "This finally came . . . ." She also suggests the word here, as in "Here's what I promised . . . ." Veloso wisely recommends using incomplete thoughts and adding ellipsis points because they create a "brain itch" to know the completed thought inside.
Are these the advertising curiosity-arousers of a new century? Not at all. The logic behind them is as old as the hills, and the suggested teasers are just as valid and applicable in ink on papyrus.