If you are familiar with the legend of Dracula, you will know the he cannot just enter your home as he pleases, he must be invited. Over the years, hundreds of them I suppose, the smooth talking vampire has developed the presentation and the patter that will get him in the door.
We are trying to command, convince and motivate with a well written e-mail, but it is all for naught if it is not opened and read. The subject line of e-mail is the door to be opened.
You know that your customers receive a lot of e-mail. Why should they open yours? What’s in it for them?
Subject: Invoice #78238
Subject: Past due Invoice #78238
Subject: Potential hold on your shipment to Cleveland
Notice the difference in the subject information above? If you are the customer, would you not agree the odds are you will open the third one above others?
Your content has to be good of course, but your subject line is critical. A few tips to keep in mind:
- Sometimes you can be ‘cute’ but don’t go overboard. A bit of humor may work with a commercial account, if the balance is not too high or past due. Avoid with consumer collections.
- Don’t cry wolf and don’t lie. You might think they would open your e-mail if you said they had won the lottery, but odds are it would be stopped by a mail filter and once you lose the trust of your customer it is very difficult, if not impossible to recover.
If you are interested in more tips for effective e-mail and letters, you may want to check our Program 101. They say out of fast, cheap and good – you only get two. We disagree and you will find more details here.
You can bet that Count Dracula would have a pithy and clever e-mail subject line. After all, he has a lot at stake. (With apologies to Bram Stoker.)