You might be thinking I’m off my rocker using that subject line, since I regularly dish out email marketing advice. The thing to remember is that almost all the advice you’ll read is situational.
One expert will say that subject lines like “Wow” or “Hey” work best, while another will tell us to avoid them at all costs.
Because I have experience with informational marketing for small businesses in particular, I evaluate all of the advice I read in that context. Sometimes I get great ideas that I can use with one or more clients, but rarely do I read anything new that would apply to all of them. That’s because a really successful email campaign needs to be specific in its strategy.
Here are some of the things that will affect your strategy:
- if you sell to consumers or to businesses, or both
- your very specific target market
- if you have a small or large list
- if you know your subscribers or don’t
- how new subscribers get on your list
- how much and what information you collect at sign-up
- if your subscribers cover several times zones
- your geographic area or community
- if your subscribers use personal or work email addresses
- if you are advertising vs. sending informational newsletters, or both
- if your subscribers are mobile or not
- your skill at creating content (articles, videos, audio, graphics)
- if open rates are more important than click rates, or vice versa
Understanding these important distinctions and then creating a strategy that takes them into account is not as simple as reading some general advice online. There is no universal set of golden rules for email marketing and that’s good because following rules gets boring.
It takes experience to know what works when, or to predict the results of certain tactics. Like all things in life, listen to advice but realize that its application is limited and how those limitations might affect you.
photo by QnD2011 / Flickr