How Not To Write a Subject Line

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by   Janine Popick I was recently on an “email marketing resources” site and found some horrifying information that was being given on...

by Janine Popick


I was recently on an “email marketing resources” site and found some horrifying information that was being given on how to write a great subject line. We all know that one of THE most important parts of an email campaign is the subject line and everyone is trying to come up with the perfect one, but this resource for email marketing is wrong, wrong, wrong!
Here are four subject lines that this website uses, but that you should never use in your campaigns. Not only do they break best practices, but in some cases they break the law. The CAN SPAM ruling states that for any commercial email, you must have your subject line relate to the content of the email.
Subject Line #1 – Hi, My name is Paul
This is a game to trick the recipient into opening an email. It may raise curiosity, however, when the recipient opens the email they’re going to feel tricked and unsubscribe.
Subject Line #2 – I need your help, please?
There’s something about wanting to help another human being, however there is also something about lying to your recipient to get your email opened. Don’t do it.
Subject Line #3 – Bob, I haven’t received your shipping address yet.
What! My shipping address? What do you need my shipping address for? This particular subject line is really scary because it seems like the sender is trying to get more information from the recipient. Also, it’s scary because it’s personalized to the recipient so they may actually give it. This could also be seen as a form of phishing.
Subject Line #4 – Bob, Please accept my sincerest apology.
Unless you’re actually apologizing for something sincere, don’t use this subject line.
All of these examples of subject lines are unscrupulous especially because they don’t relate at all to the copy. Avoid being seen as a spammer, and avoid being non compliant with the FTC CAN SPAM rulings.

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