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When Great Subject Lines Fail to Deliver

Today I received an email with the subject, “I would like to take you to lunch.” Quick and to the point, it got my attention and made me open it. The problem was once I got inside there was a form letter from a man I do not know trying to sell me something that I could not immediately identify. So I deleted it.

Writing great subject lines, like headlines, is a skill. Remember, these are the attention getters that make people want to read more. Like book jackets and magazine covers, these are the advertisements for what is inside. They shouldn’t be an after thought but instead a strategic part of your marketing effort.

If you’re going to compose a great headline, make sure you can deliver on the inside else it is just more spam. Connect your subject, either directly or with a little humor, to the message inside so the conversation continues. Then be direct and get to the point quickly so you can connect with the recipient and deliver on your offer.

On closer inspection, I believe the sender of my message was marketing something to do with events. A face to face made sense for him to market his services but without a clearer articulation of those in the lead paragraph, with a graphic or in a bulleted list or table, he lost me. Think about that next time you’re trying to differentiate your email from spam.

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