Business Advice

Sorting your subject line out will boost sales

Think of your email’s subject line as a chat-up line in your local bar.

You’ve got one chance. Get it right, and it could be wedding bells. Get it wrong and you’ll have a drink thrown in your face.

So if you’re in the habit of mass-mailing your customers or prospects, re-read your subject line before you click send.

Then get someone else to read it. Someone not connected with the campaign.

Your window cleaner, perhaps. Or your mother.

In other words, a normal person. Not some creative or sales manager too close to the action.

Make sure that what you mean is what the customer reads.

If you don’t, I can guarantee that you’ll lose sales.

You might be wondering what has inspired this minor rant.

It would be this:

Oh dear, Thomas Cook.

I know what you meant. But I know what I read.

You meant: This Weekend Only – Save £100 Guaranteed*!

I read: This Weekend – Only Save £100 Guaranteed*!

As your (potential) customer, you need to mean what I read. Not what you read.

Yes, I accept that Save £100 and Only Save £100 come out to the same thing – a £100 difference in holiday price.

But that one little word – Only – limits the £100.

I only ate one chocolate [don’t blame me if they’re all gone].

I only made ten sales [I’d have been happier with 12].

I only said no [it’s not my fault he burst into tears].

Only is a limiting word. It’s a word that makes the successor smaller, subtracting significance.

I know that Thomas Cook didn’t mean “Only Save”. They meant “Save”.

But in failing to punctuate properly or be clear in their copy, they’ve triggered a natural response in the viewer.

“Only Save £100? Well I may as well shop elsewhere then.”

I bet that little slip, that little dip into the consumers’ time stretched, attention poor subconscious, has cost them clicks and sales…

Can you afford to make the same mistake?


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