Without a good subject line you may as well not bother writing the email at all!

That headline above was in fact used in an email I received a few years ago. But it wasn’t used as a headline; rather it was used as the subject line.  I really liked it, but thought it was in the wrong place.

In fact I thought it should be a headline – which is how I’ve used it above.  Let me explain why.

Since most of the emails we are going to send out will be invitations to buy or at least look at a product or service, subject lines have come to look more and more familiar.  And as a result more and more emails simply get deleted without being opened.

My own research has suggested that when it comes to subject lines short always works better than long, and quirky works better than explicit.

But to be clear, “quirky” doesn’t have to mean “bonkers”; I’d put my “Is this statement true or false?” in the “quirky” corner.  At the other extreme, “School desks: 50% discount!” and similar offers can ultimately become boring because, unless the reader happens to be thinking about desks at the moment the email arrives, there is nothing to grab the teacher’s interest.

Thus with subject lines one can be quirky or playful as a way of reaching potential customers who delete a lot of emails before they read anything other than the subject line.  What one does in fact is make the recipient interrupt all of his/her skimming through the day’s emails, and look at this one (even if no other email is opened) because it is so different.

One then has to retain the reader’s attention, which is where the powerful headline comes in.

However, despite their effectiveness, the vast majority of emails still do not carry headlines, even though certain headlines do have a major impact on retaining readership.

Having got the reader to read go beyond the first second or two, via the subject line, the headline now engages the reader’s curiosity and sends the reader skimming through the bulk of the text – which one way or another should normally focus on the benefits of what is on offer.

In this case the benefit is the revelation of a way of maintaining or improving the response rate to your sales emails.

Thus, for the most part the focus of successful emails to teachers tends to be stimulating curiosity through the offer of the benefits.  This can mean headlines such as “What is the most effective way of taking all borderline students up one GCSE grade?”

You can, of course, apply this approach yourself to your promotional emails ready for the LA schools’ increase in funding this April, or you might care to start experimenting with a variety of different subject lines and headlines.

Either way the four email programme can be an ideal way of working. The cost is just £215 for all four messages sent whenever you wish and going to secondary schools.

For primary schools the cost is £289 in total, with all emails sent to personal email addresses.  There are more details here.

Or you can call 01604 880 927 or email Stephen@schools.co.uk

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