Things we love: Great subject lines

Before joining the Emma team, I spent ten years working in the music business in Nashville, and you'd be surprised of the many similarities between country songs and email. Strangely enough, a few writing rules hold true for either one. For instance:

  1. Be concise.
  2. Make sure you feature the most important information.
  3. Don't make it too long.
  4. Always leave room for a fiddle solo.

OK, maybe that last one only applies to country songs, but at least one more rule works for both: Always have a catchy title.

This is especially important with your email campaigns because your subject line is the only part of your email that your recipients are guaranteed to see when the email reaches their inboxes. A boring subject line is a sure path to a low open rate, while a great subject line can be the difference between a successful effort and a mediocre one. We love to see great subject lines, and, in my opinion, no one does it better than Tyler Tervooren at Advanced Riskology.

Advanced Riskology

Tyler's site is all about the benefit of taking risks, and he's chronicling all of the risks he takes in his own life, while inspiring others to do the same. You can read his mission statement here. I enjoy most all of his posts, but I really love his catchy subject lines. Check out these recent ones:

All of these subject lines are vastly different, but they have a couple of things in common. First, they immediately identify the sender by using the "{AR}" designation. That's a creative way for Tyler to ensure that his readers can easily identify his emails by the subject without having to type "Advanced Riskology" in there, which takes up valuable real estate in a subject line. Second, regardless of how different all of these subject lines are, they all make it virtually impossible to NOT open these emails. Personally, I would never claim to be a person that's interested in five miserable ways to die, but when that subject line appeared in my inbox, I had to read the email.

And that is really the point here. Just like anything else, I find Tyler's articles to be of varying interest to me, but I always open his emails to see what's there. That's the important lesson of subject lines. Not every email you send to your readers will appeal to all of them, but by crafting a great subject line, you give your content a chance to be seen. Whether you're writing country songs or email campaigns, that's always the first step toward reaching your audience.

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