The good and bad of being too specific with email subject lines

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Email open rates are the most essential metric in email marketing. Clicks depend on opens, conversions depend on clicks. The entire conversion chain starts with that open.

Subject lines are the primary drivers of email opens. There are a few proven characteristics of a good subject line: conversational, short, targeted, personalized, clear, simple, unassuming.

Let’s talk about an email I received today from Lettuce Entertain You, with the subject line “iPhone app available for frequent diners.” This is a great discussion case, because it’s fairly short, clear, simple, and conversational.

But is it targeted and unassuming? Would non-iPhone users open this email?

In Aug. 2009 Apple was falling short of 15% mobile market share. What if the stats perfectly aligned and only 15% of LEY customers who receive the email open it?

I have an #android device and I almost deleted the email unopened before I was inspired to blog about it. And then I thought, what would have taken for LEY to get me to open the email?

I may have opened it if the subject line said, “mobile app available for frequent diners.” That’s a non-targeted yet unassuming approach. But putting iphone in the subject line sealed a 0% chance that I would open it (if we don’t take into account my professional curiosity). And if non-iphone users did open the message out of curiosity, they were welcomed by a “good news” message… for iPhone users only.

What would the subject line have to be for you to open the email?

Posted via email from All Digital

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Since founding Lightspan, Mana has quickly established herself as one of Chicago's leading voices in social media and digital marketing. A decisive problem-solver fluent in five languages, Mana believes in clear objectives, simple solutions and the power of purpose in marketing. Credos: "No excuses" and "Find a way!"
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