Getting your email line just right is a work of art. You want it to sound interesting enough to tempt people into opening, but it should also accurately reflect its content in order to achieve strong engagement rates.
Sadly, The Independent recently reported, some marketers are turning to ‘dirty’ tactics in order to fool receivers into opening their messages.
FWD:, Re:, Do Not Send These To Me!
It may be tempting to write ‘URGENT’ at the start of an email to try and grab attention, but some email marketers have taken things one step further and tried to trick recipients into thinking they’ve had prior contact with a brand.
How? Well they are prefacing their email subject lines with ‘FWD:’ or ‘Re:’, therefore suggesting a reply to a previous query. Recipients as a result feel obliged to open and read the email. Heck! Some are even leading with ‘sorry I’m out of the office right now’ style subject lines to mimic an automated response.
Of course, for many brands, this may inflate open rates, but it in turn frustrates users once they realise they have been tricked – possibly affecting engagement rates.
However, as the saying goes ‘all publicity is good publicity’, so perhaps these companies are seeing tweets complaining about these emails as increasing brand awareness; who knows?
Hey marketer using “Re:” in the subject line of an email that’s not a reply: your tactic works in that I open the email. It fails miserably when I realize you tricked me and I no longer trust your brand (in this case @NYSC). C’mon. You’re better than that.
— John Zilch (@johnzilch) March 10, 2018
This issue was first highlighted in an article on Racked, where members of the team received the following emails:
The team at Racked were thoroughly exasperated by these frequent emails, so much so that they decided to write an article about it.
Luckily, many people have Internet Service Providers that automatically send emails that feature common spam tactics to a user’s junk folder. Sadly, that’s not the case for everyone.
Our Best Practice Email Marketing Tips
So the key takeaway here is that email subject lines shouldn’t trick users into opening, but what can you do to ethically increase open rates? Here are a few common email marketing tactics to try:
• Educate the reader about the contents of the email
• Entice readers to open to learn more info
• Be consistent with tone and branding
• Add a number – this will suggest an easy to digest list
• Create a sense of urgency
• Keep it short and simple.
• Use all CAPS
• Use multiple exclamation marks
• Use spammy buzzwords such as ‘free’ or ‘earn’
• Use FWD or Re.
Learn More About Email Marketing Best Practices
If you want to make your email marketing strategy the best it can be, why not sign up to one of our digital marketing conferences? Here you can hear from industry leaders on everything from email to CRM, with key takeaways which can influence your day-to-day activity.
Alternatively, check out some of the email marketing blog posts from our contributing writers below.